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An article about the Hockaday Museum of Art entitled “50 Years of Fine Art” appeared in the October 9, 2019 issue of the Flathead Beacon. Included was a photo featuring a group of valley artists standing on the steps in front of the Hockaday entrance. The photo was taken in 1984. I had the good fortune of being one of the artists pictured. The thought came to me…would the Hockaday Museum consider hosting a retrospective show of my work and career as I had had a 50 year involvement with them? Graciously they have given me this three-month show.
The Museum’s encouragement, help and support to myself as a young unknown artist beginning with its founding in 1969 have been welcome. Even before the opening of the museum, I had the privilege of meeting Hugh Hockaday for whom the museum is named, as well as some of its founders (as Corinne Lundgren mentioned in the article). On occasion through those 50 years the privilege was given to me to participate in the yearly show and sale of artists’ works, to give gallery talks, to associate with the museum staff, and interact with people interested in my work, as well as to associate with other valley artists. Also to view displays and shows of art of the valley artists and of shows of fine art on loan from around the country.
Coming to the Flathead Valley in 1959, and obtaining a job as a lumber mill worker for 10 years, my wife and I starting our family; my thoughts of being a professional artist were only a dream. However, I painted on the side trying to improve my skills and learning how to sell my work. I also thought that the possibility of making a living as an artist was unlikely. Then I met Ace Powell, a professional artist, who along with his artist wife Nancy McLaughlin had just opened the Powell Gallery in Hungry Horse. They invited me to present a little show of my paintings in the Gallery along with their own. Ace by this tme was a recognized and successful artist; Nancy also. My perspective began to change. Nevertheless it took the 10 years of preparing and producing works with sufficient quality and saleability, then with Ace’s advice on how to market the paintings and who to contact I ventured into the dream and became a professional fine artist.
There have been struggling times in this profession but overall it has been a satisfying one. I credit the Hockaday Museum of Art for being part of it and I thank them for this retrospective show.