Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kent Rollins, #WesternArtWednesday

Today's Featured artist is keeping alive the Cowboy tradition of the chuckwagon!
I'll let him tell you more.

Kent Rollins!

I started cooking at a young age in Mama’s kitchen. And for quite a while my brothers and family thought I was a little strange because I spent so much time in the kitchen. But I had it figured that it was warmer in the kitchen than out feeding cows in the sleet and snow. There were many great women that taught me about food back then and especially how to cook with love. We never had a whole lot growing up, but one thing we had plenty of was love and Mama sure showed it in every meal that she set out on the table.  We all figured you better reach quickly because with four kid- you better grab it fast or it was gonna be gone.
I grew up cowboying and managing different cow/camp operations for folks around the county with my dad. In between times I rodeo’d, mainly bull riding. During my teens and into my mid 30’s rodeoing was really my passion. I spent a lot of time preparing and traveling the circuit. I quit bull riding when I was 37; at that point I was the old-timer in the business. I just remember the ground kept getting harder and harder when I hit and I figured it was time to put up the rope. I still miss it.

I got my first taste of outside cooking when I guided elk hunters with my uncle in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. I was in my late 20’s when I headed that way to help my uncle with his outfitting business. We trekked in with mules 21 miles, the farthest point into the wilderness from any direction. We would camp out there three to six weeks at a time. I remember my first trip my uncle threw some Dutch ovens out on the ground and said, “Son I know your Mama taught you how- so you’re the cook!” I had never cooked out of a Dutch oven before and those hunters sure ate a few burnt biscuits until I figured out what was going on!
It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I decided to take my love for cooking a step further. After cooking in the Gila and enjoying the outdoor aspect of it, I decided to buy a chuck wagon. Growing up, we had eaten a lot of bad food off of wagons, but you never did complain because you’d be the next cook! After my experience in the Gila I knew it was the perfect way to combine my love of cowboying with cooking and the outdoors. In 1993 I bought the wagon and began cooking for working ranches. Soon word got out and I cooked for more ranches, and then family parties, birthdays, then corporate events and it took off from there.  Now my wife Shannon and I travel the country cooking for folks, sharing history and holding cooking demonstrations and schools.

The chuck wagon is truly a living piece of history. Although the trail drives of the past are extinct due to modern trucking, cooking for ranches is still a tradition that goes on today. As long as there is a cow there will always be a need for a cowboy, and as long as there is a cowboy, someone has to be there to feed them. It’s not a glamorous job by any means, and there’s a reason there aren’t many full time cookies out there. You are in Mother Nature’s kitchen and you are always at her mercy. I’ve cooked in everything but an earthquake and the way Oklahoma is going I bet it won’t be long until I cook in one of those too! But there’s nothing better than seeing a cowboy smile when you pull the lid off a Dutch oven for dessert or see the sun rise over a remuda.

There is also a great responsibility that comes with camp cooking. My wife and I are not only responsible for feeding those fellers but to make them feel welcome and to make it feel like home. The nights are short and the days are long out on the range and it’s pretty easy to get homesick. That’s why Shannon and I have to create a home away from home and the best way to do that is through good food. I’ve been burnt, bruised, had the wagon fly rip in two, got caught in a hailstorm that flooded the teepee, but every time the clouds clear or someone says, “Hey Kent that’s the best thing I ever ate!” Well, all that other stuff doesn’t matter so much. We are very blessed to get to do what we do in God’s country. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

My advice to anyone thinking they want to get into this line of work is - you better be a little crazy. ‘Cause it’s crazy that ‘s gong to get you up at 2:45 every morning to make biscuits and it’s crazy that will get you through cooking in a blizzard, but if it’s in your heart then you best get after it. I remember when I quit my full time job with benefits and insurance to cook on the wagon. My family all told me I was crazy, but I didn’t want to look back one day and think what if.

Where to find Kent online!

FB: Kent Rollins (chef)

Twitter: @Kent_Rollins

Instagram: @cowboykentrollins

Youtube: /krollins57


 If you liked today's #WesternArtWednesday post be sure to check out the #WesternArtWednesday index page to see past features! Sign up for the Cowgirl Mama newsletter up on the right side of the page so you'll never miss another post

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Adrian Brannan, Buckaroogirl, #WesternArtWednesday

Today I get to introduce a musician I've followed for a while!
Adrian is a real Buckaroogirl, its not just for show! I'll let her introduce herself but then I encourage you to check out her social media pages and learn more, there's more to her than this short interview could tell.
So, without further yap from me....
Adrian Buckaroogirl!

Life story: Oh my! What a tough question! Well I was born in California to a father that cowboy’d and a mother who always told my sister and I we could do whatever we wanted in life. I was raised around strong women, hard workers, and lots of artists. Growing up, I would see Asher Freeman, a western artist I really admire (and who was a kid I grew up around) drawing, and wanted to make pretty things with horses and cows like he did! Of course, I’m nowhere near the artist he is, but being inspired by folks all around at a young age is a really great motivator. After a few years, my family and I moved overseas to Scotland, and traveled a LOT. In the years I lived in Europe, I was exposed to TONS of art, music, history and culture….which really fostered a love for painting and art for me. Career,

Western or mainstream? My career! Wahoo…music music music! And cowboy music at that! I love being able to write, sing and produce western music as a job. Paying the bills with something you love doing everyday is simply an amazing feeling. My music has allowed me to travel many places, meet a ton of different people and really just do something I love more than anything. It has also led into things like my art, which I really didn’t expect to be quite honest!

How did you get introduced to your art? Honestly, I credit my music 100% with finding my art. I’ve loved the west since I was born, and my drawing was just a way that I was able to express my love of the cowboy world through something other than lyrics. It is, if you will, the only way I am able to express the things I can’t put down in my music with words.

What got you started as an artist? SO silly! I woke up one night at midnight, just like I do with my music…and had an idea…I literally used house paint because I had nothing else – and drew this huge multi-colored bronc on some canvas because I HAD to get that image out of my head and onto paper somehow. It has been the same since then. I just think of stories I’ve heard, things I’ve done or horses I’ve seen – and then have to put it down!

Tell me about your subject matter? I think, although I will really do ANYTHING, a lot of what seems to come out onto the paper is of girls. I have girls that I admire, women that inspire me, and the idea of the woman that I WANT to be….and instead of just thinking about that woman, I try to show what I would like to be on paper. Something to aspire to, something that one day I will be.

 What advice would you give someone wanting to be an artist? Be yourself. I’ve had pieces that I’ve done that NO one wanted to buy, no one liked…but I DID! And those pieces mean something to me in a way no one can understand. They don’t need to be about other people liking them, sometimes art is just about creating it – and NEEDING to make that piece and see it done. That can be enough, so just LET it be! Do your art for the joy of it, not money or people saying they just love it…do it because you can’t think of anything else and that it is a piece that is missing out of your heart if you don’t put it down. With each picture/poem, what’s the story behind this piece? A lot of the time the story behind the picture is an event, a bronc, or an image of what I would like to see…it’s what I dream, except on paper!

Find Adrian online!


 If you liked today's #WesternArtWednesday post be sure to check out the #WesternArtWednesday index page to see past features! Sign up for the Cowgirl Mama newsletter up on the right side of the page so you'll never miss another post!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maria D'Angelo, #WesternArtWednesday

Today I get to introduce an artist with the most detailed pictures I have ever seen!
Maria D'Angelo

I have been drawing since I was a child in Staten Island, NY and I often say I feel as though I was born with a pencil in my hand. Pretty much everyone who has known me since that young age agrees with me.

"Pedro"  15 1/4" x 9

Although I'm from the east, it is the American west, particularly the horses and Native American people, which I chose to capture on paper. The west has captured my heart from a very early age. The freedom and independence, the wide open spaces and beauty of the land are all things that I love. The history and courage of the people who shaped the west and our country, especially the Native Americans and their way of life have always been fascinating to me. And horses have long been the foundations of my artwork. I draw horses of all breeds and disciplines, but I especially love the vaquero tradition of horsemanship. The gear of the vaquero and the regalia of the Plains Indians are works of art in and of themselves and I feel they add great interest and texture to a drawing.

"Gathered Up"

I studied fine art in college but feel my talent is natural and has blossomed under the mentorship I receive from acclaimed artist Krystii Melaine. I've also spent a lot of time traveling in the western US visiting museums, galleries, historic sites and attending cultural events and equine shows where I get a lot of inspiration.

Can You Keep A Secret" 16 1/2" x 21 1/4"
I was up in Greenville, NY watching and photographing a barrel race and noticed these two interacting with each other. I snapped a few photos and Can You Keep A Secret was born.

My works usually start with an outline drawing, then evolve into compositions in which light against dark and fine details are the primary focus. It is the fine details that my clients most often remark about when they see my drawings. The detail is usually the first thing that draws a person to my drawings. They are always amazed by it.

I Strike First" 17" x 10"
 I was at a Powwow in Sussex County NJ and was very interested in this man's regalia. It was extremely well made and very traditional so I began snapping photos of him and captured this one. I later introduced myself to him and found out his name is Annawon Weeden of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and he appeared as King Philip in the PBS series We Shall Remain among other films.

While I've worked in different media in the past, it is the pencil I always comes back to. It’s my tool of choice because it gives me great control and versatility. I especially love Nero pencils. They contain a small bit of oil in them making the blending very different. Strathmore 500 Series Bristol is my favorite paper to work on. I love the smoothness of this paper and it enables me to capture the tiny details in each piece.

Here is one of my most recent pieces of artwork showing a woman and the vaquero tradition and how it has spread to Europe. This is Prisca Fuchs-Bachmann of Switzerland. (Photo taken by my friend, Heiko Rodde.)

"Power And Elegance"  15" x 8

During the day, I work as a school bus driver. This type of job allows me the time I need for my artwork, plus not only gives me a steady income, but it also provides me a break away from the tediousness of my time at the art table. I'm up early in the bus and am home by 9 AM and get right to the drawing board for some hours. Then I'm out again to pick the children back up from school and once I'm home, it's back to the drawing board until bed time. Eventually I would love to do the artwork full time, but for right now this schedule works very nicely for me.

"Honey" 11"X11 1/2"

"Smoky"  13" x 14
Here are a few examples of bridle horses I have drawn from photos taken by my friend Patti Grant Martin

As far as advice to someone just getting started as an artist. Practice, patience, practice, persistence, discipline, practice, be flexible and open minded and did I mention practice? Seriously, the more you draw (or whatever your choice of media) the more you learn and the better you get. And never ever quit. No matter what you are told or how many walls you hit, just keep on going. Find a way in your busy life to fit the art in. Whether that means saying no to going out to the movies or watching your favorite program (I haven't turned on a TV in 5 years - seriously!) or finding a  day job that will allow you the time you need for your art even if it means cutting corners a bit. Do whatever has to be done in order to get the art time in. And make sure you are loving what you do. It will never work otherwise.

All of the above artworks have been sold with the exception of Power And Elegance which will be available at the Traveling The West Show in Dallas, TX at the end of October. I also happily accept commission work.

Where can we find you online?

Maria D'Angelo - Fine Art In Pencil
35 Mountainside Drive
Newton, NJ 07860
email: mariadangeloart@aol.com
web site: mariadangelo.com


Pinterest - Maria D'Angelo Fine Art in Pencil

If you like this post be sure to check out the #WesternArtWednesday index page to see artists we've featured in the past and subscribe to the Cowgirl Mama newsletter up on the right side of the page so you'll never miss another post!