Sonja Caywood | Wyoming

Much of my imagery comes from growing up a cowgirl in MT and WY. My family ranched in the old ways, with a mess wagon, tents, teepees and a rope corral. That summer lifestyle provided a lot of time to study the landscape and livestock around me.

I constantly back across my studio as I paint, assuring that painterly strokes of amplified oil colors read realistically from across a room. I want viewers to see a representational image which, as they approach more closely, surprises them as it transforms into abstract components-an assemblage of shapes and colors- paint. My work is best seen in person, as a photo presents only a midpoint in the dichotomy between realism and expressionism. I believe that “interesting is better than exact,” and strive to engage the viewer with expressive brushstrokes rather than tight, tell-all realism, fostering an experience of the piece, rather than reporting what I see. Working in intense sessions, I create within the timeframe of paint malleability, as once the paint dries, I’m usually ready to move on to my next idea.

I’ve won a few awards and haven taken part in some national shows, but I paint because I love it and I’m grateful to earn a living following my childhood dream of being an artist. Though I’m no longer a ranch girl, I live in the heart of cattle country at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in beautiful Dayton, Wyoming.  My husband Terry and I have two grown children, a daughter-in-law and a posse of pets.

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