Sonja Caywood


Growing up ranching, the summers on my family’s roundup wagon provided time (and lack of modern distraction) to study the livestock that inspire much of my imagery. I render animals in portrait situations, personifying them in a manner sometimes confrontational, or as a casual conversation or a glimpse into a candid, relatable moment.

I constantly back up as I paint, assuring that painterly strokes of oil colors are assembled so that they read realistically from across a room. I try for a life-like image that transforms as a viewer approaches it, surprising them as they see what first appeared “real” is “just paint,” -an arrangement of abstract components: shapes, colors and values.

I hope that exploring my playful brushstrokes fosters individual experiences — that viewing my work could be as much fun as painting it. It’s magical when viewers interpret a feeling or attitude I didn’t intend; it’s as if my involvement is only a starting place, as art should grow to speak in the vernacular of each person who connects with it.

I paint from my heart in joyful appreciation of God’s creation around me. For someone without a formal art education, I’m grateful to make a living doing something I absolutely enjoy. My work hangs in collections across the US and 12 foreign countries and has been featured in numerous print publications and a couple documentaries, including The Story of Art on Amazon Prime.

My husband Terry and I have two grown children, a daughter-in-law, and a small posse of pets. We live in a small town at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming. Thank you, DCWM, for having me and the other artists back for my very favorite show!