The first day of the art show was slowly winding down as I found myself captivated by a wall of 5″x7″ original, unframed pieces by western master artist Michael Ome Untiedt. Michael embraces the belief shared by many esteemed artists, that providing an opportunity to sell mini original paintings for $100, provides people who simply can’t afford a $5,000 painting, a chance to invest.
Michael is calling his 5″x7″ collection, his “Little Alene Auction.” As I was perusing the wall in contemplative solitude, Michael approached, blessing me with his storytelling, and sharing the ideas he conjures in his head while he paints; stories based largely on a combination of historical accuracy and meaningful conversations that he’s had over the years.
I was glancing at a particular painting call “The Homesteader” when Michael approached: “this one might not be quite as captivating as some of the others, but it’s got one heck of a story behind it.” With that, he went on to share his story:
“My grandmother Nellie told me this story about helping her mother delivery a baby at a poor dugout homestead. Her mother acted as a midwife for many of the settlers in the area, and in this instance had to travel for several hours by buckboard to get to this very primitive homestead site. The baby was stillborn, and my grandmother and her mother bathed the small body and dressed it in a white gown the mother had sewn. They carefully sewed the body into a clean washed flour sack. The father took the baby in his arms, and walked off and buried the child on the side of a prairie hillside. My grandfather never forgot the sight of this poor man burying the child in a vast land without even a tree for a marker.”
Suddenly the painting took on a new life. I stared at it with an almost longingness, falling deeply into it’s pastures, reaching for the sunset, wondering if the soul of that stillborn child was present with Michael and I in this very moment, and appreciating that it had not been forgotten.
Every painter has their own process and their own story to tell. The beauty of attending an art show such as the Heart of the West, is that you get to meet these master painters and ask them questions about their craft, and listen to their story.
For more information on Michael, please visit his website.
You will also have an opportunity to bid on one of Michael’s original pieces called “Striking the Western Plain,” Lot 20, in Saturday’s auction. Be sure to visit him before the auction and ask him what the story is behind it. I have no doubt it will be quite enchanting.
Also note that Kalispell, Montana’s young master artist James Corwin is providing mini originals for $40 each. Just like Michael’s, they are highly detailed, making the perfect gift or investment piece for the beginning collector. To see James paintings, join us at the show, or view our real time photo’s on Facebook.