Western Art Museum: Creation & Inspiration - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Western Art Museum: Creation & Inspiration

Western Art Week has begun and as you go around Great Falls to see all the beautiful works of art in all the various galleries, that's not where they start off.  They start off here in a studio just like this and today, we're giving you a behind the scenes look at how the paintings come to life.

For forty five years, Western Art Week has taken place in Great Falls and for every single one of those years, Steve Seltzer has been a participant.  Even though he wasn't an expert at the start, his skill has grown alongside the event.

"Yes, I was fortunate, very fortunate, to be a young artist when this whole thing got underway.  I was lucky to be selected to be in that first group.  As I recall, I wasn't a particularly a very good artist at the time, but it afforded me a real chance to get in on the ground floor and learn and grow," said Steve Seltzer, Western Artist.

It may not just be practice that has perfected Seltzer's art.  Genetic may play a role has his grandfather was the famous O.C. Seltzer, who worked along the legendary Charlie Russell.

"Early on, yes, my grandfather, I studied his work.  It was wonder to have that legacy of his work to study and to influence me in my early attempts at painting and, of course, that's what I wanted to do," said Seltzer.

Inspiration doesn't come easy for western artists.  The early masters lived in a world filled with Cowboys, Native Americans and life in the west.  Modern artists have to find new ways to fill the canvas.

"That's the advantage I guess Russell had, and O.C. Seltzer.  They actually could see some of the original characters that were still around when they were young back before the turn of the century.  For us, we have to do the research and work from secondary sources," said Seltzer.

This Seltzer has a variety of artistic styles that are displayed in his gallery, but these paintings don't appear overnight.  Some can take weeks…even months.

"I like to work over a panel or a canvas many, many times.  I'm not an ala prima painter.  In other words, I don't do sometime in one go.  I sometimes work on a painting for months really," said Seltzer.

Seltzer also makes his own frames to compliment the art.

"A real nice, high quality frame will not make a bad painting look good or look better, but it will make a good painting look better," said Seltzer.

So when the paintings are completely done, it's time to hang them up for people to enjoy, so tomorrow, we're going to take behind the scenes look at how the paintings get up into the museum and ready for the auction block.

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