Friday, February 8, 2008

Painting the West

Watercolorist William Matthews to present new book

Express Staff Writer

"Tuscorara Dawn" by William Matthews. Watercolor painting at the Broschofsky Galleries.

William Matthews is a well-respected and nationally known Western watercolor artist who will sign his new book "Working in the West" today from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Broschofsky Galleries, in The Courtyard at 360 East Ave. in Ketchum.

"I'm a cowboy, and I work all the time always focusing on painting," Matthews said.

Matthews spends time on ranches depicting the older traditional way of ranching as opposed to modern methods by which ranchers use ATVs, trucks and helicopters.

"I prefer the old and more traditional ranching techniques of cowboys on horseback with teams of horses," Matthews said. "I pick and choose where I paint, and it's about the attitude and ranch methodology and respect for the tradition of ranching."

Matthews said watercolor painting is a difficult medium, and it is unforgiving because he can not cover up his mistakes.

"That's why I love it," Matthews said. "It's the most impressive medium and every day it is a challenge."

"Working in the West" features 180 paintings depicting Western life, from endless skies and high plains to the last of the working cowboys and the Navajo mystique of the Living Desert. Matthews' work identifies a land that is real, timeless and powerful. An introductory essay by award-winning writer Annie Proulx sets the stage for Matthews' work, revealing the beauty and ruggedness of what is left of America's frontier lands.

Matthews has shown his work at the Broschofsky Galleries for almost 20 years and has created an exhibition that gives a sense of what makes northern Rocky Mountain communities such as Sun Valley unique.

"I have been creating a show using my eye and vernacular as well as a constant pursuit of Western iconography," he said. "There are cowboys in the show, but people who are familiar with my work will be surprised at the differences."

For more information, visit or call 726-4950.

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