art and the pastel hills of eastern Montana

Driving from Walla Walla to Miles City, MT is a 13.25 hour trip with minimal stops. Oh lordy are you glad to get out of the car at your destination! But when you are going to see your kids – you just want to “get there” and hang out with them. The drive takes ou through vastly different landscape….the wheat fields of the hills of eastern WA into the Spokane valley and the mountains of northern Idaho to the top of the Continental divide and “welcome to Montana” and down into the beautiful Missoula area, on I-90 through Drummond, Deer Lodge, Butte and Bozeman – some of the most beautiful valleys in the greater Rocky Mountain range. Once you get to Bozeman you head east on 90 through Livingston and basically follow the Yellowstone River valley all the way to MC. There are the wonderful sandstone rims along the river, the dry land wheat and grains and then to the badlands look of parts of eastern MT. I have been taking a bunch of photos – the Strawberry hills east of MC are badland-like, These buttes all together with great colors of strata are a palette to behold. So many colors in the soil and the interestesting shapes of these buttes. There is plenty of erosion as well, making them very interesting landscape.
Our plan on the return to eastern WA hasn’t finalized – we will either go up north to MT-2 and across to Glacier or south to Cody and over to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. Les hasn’t been north, so that’s probably the route of choice…so if that happens we want to stop in SandPoint and see some of the Art Walk which I believe is hanging now. So Sheila, if you see this…you may get a phone call to come and have coffee in SP!! Probably Saturday :-)….
I am going to the Art Center here today. There are not many galleries here…but there are some very good artists in this area. The art center is a regional center and hosts a variety of shows throughout the year. There is a lot of history in MC…it is well established in western history from the site of an early fort to a destination if not stop on a famous cattle drive trail (I don’t remember which). There is a famous saddlery here…the Miles City Saddlery, well known for their hand crafted saddles and leather. There is a new mayor here…an article about him in Montana magazine says that he thinks MC could and will be the “Taos of MT”. I can see tht potential…it’s a historical site and as I said before some of the most unique and varied landscape.

And the real reason to go to Miles City is to see the kids…They moved here a year ago and we are missing seeing them regularly. I am skipping visiting friends along the way to selfishly spend vacation time with these guys and get to know their surrounds. I miss not having Chris,Michelle and Sam just a couple of hours away, but am happy that they have located in a great spot with friendly folks and the big blue skies. This is one of those “great places to raise a family” places.
.I brought with me, “Going to Summer Pasture” and “Scenic Loop”. Thought that Chris should get the painting of his Grandmother moving cattle to the summer pasture and then the Scenic Loop to remind them of the beauty of eastern WA and the surrounds of the Blue Mountains.
I will post some images soon of the trip…I am off to explore the town…


About bonnie griffith

I am a landscape artist who works in pastels, oils and acrylics. My work focuses on representational studies of the western US. I am basically self taught with lots of workshops and studies with several landscape artists such as Bruce Haughey and Clark Elster. I live in southwestern Idaho, am a native Montanan with a strong connection to the land. I spend as much time as I can in MT painting as well other parts of the northwest. I appreciate getting out in the field and working plein air because there is nothing like completing a painting in the true light of day and visually not being compromised by the use of a photo. In my work, my goal is to produce a piece of work that draws the viewer into the painting and challenges them to explore the scene; get a sense of the time of day, the temperature, the light or lack of. If I have gotten that viewer to step out of their reality and into that painting and enjoy it, then my work was accomplished as I wished. View all posts by bonnie griffith

One response to “art and the pastel hills of eastern Montana

  • The Idaho Beauty

    We can have a Walla Walla reunion – The Towerys will be up for one of the concerts and we will probably be wandering around town looking at art part of Saturday. I'll keep my cell phone on so if you do pass through we can hook up. I didn't realize you were making such a grand tour!


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