By: Kim Weeks
Wildlife artist Amber Blazina is inspired by brief moments of stillness; by a pause that happens when an animal is considering its next move or contemplating its environment. She is fascinated by the instincts and behavior of animals. And, in her painting, she strives to help viewers feel that emotion, to see things in a way that they haven’t seen them before.
“When an animal is sitting there, and they don’t notice you. That’s what I really love. Or when the bison are walking through the Lamar Valley, it’s interesting to think, ‘Where are they going?’ They’re on a march, and it’s just so interesting to me that there is some instinct that tells them to go this way, and they all start walking this way,” she said. “I can feel something when I am painting them. I can feel, ‘Oh, they are pausing right now to look at this,’ or ‘They are thinking about this.’ I love the pause.”
Through her work, Amber hopes to bring out the same curiosity and excitement in the viewers of her paintings, using varying techniques and her instincts as an artist.
“The small moments are what I try to capture. That’s where all the magic is. It’s in those small moments. It doesn’t have to be this grand gesture of a huge scene. It can be simple, and still pack a punch,” she said.
A Montana native, animals have always been a part of Amber’s life and soul, so to bring those feelings out in her painting is an extension of that love for animals.
“I grew up with horses. I grew up with cows. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so they were my family. They were my community. They were my friends. They were everything,” she said.
By: Kim Weeks
Rick Kennington did not touch a paintbrush until he was in college, but he found his passion for western art many years before, as a boy growing up in northern Utah. Today, he is one of the brightest additions to the western art scene, with collectors all over the country.
Rick developed his passion for his art and subjects while working on his grandfather’s ranch, doing everything from baling hay, and hauling pipe to moving cattle. And while his grandfather taught him to work the ranch and ride a horse, it was his sisters who first ignited his passion for art when he was in grade school.
“I remember watching my sister drawing, and I was captivated. I just loved it.,” Rick said. “From that point on I started drawing and just never looked back.”
One of the early admirers of Rick’s work was his fourth grade teacher. When he presented her with his first drawing, a self-portrait, Rick said she became very excited about it, making copies and showing it off to other teachers. It was then that he knew he had talent. He also knew that this was what he wanted to do with his life.