Elton C Kirtley Biography And Artist's Statement

First of all, please drop in at my home gallery 22 First Avenue in Fromberg, MT. Summer hours are 12-5 Wed. - Sat. (east at stoplight, right, one block on the right). I hope to have painted bison robes (with hair on) soon. There are some really good deals!!

I seek to express good, eternal things of God that I see in nature, family, in the Holy Bible, and in classics like John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.

I express myself in visual art and in music. I play by note at times, especially with Bach's unaccompanied works for violin and cello. But improvising music is what I really like to do. The kids and I improvised music for many years together. The music that we made provides the basis for my impressionistic style now, as shapes, colors, and lines interact.

As a descendant of homesteaders on both sides of my family, I have a strong sense of personal responsibility and problem-solving. I also feel connected to the history of the developing West, from St. Joseph, Missouri, where I was born, to Anaconda, Montana, where I was raised. I also desire to pay my respects to the many Native Americans who unjustly died at the hands of deceived "Christians". In all of my paintings involving Native Americans (and also traditional Americans), I seek to show the common humanity of us all, and the light that God has put in each of us.

As a house painter for more than twenty-five years, I know paint, and how to work paint. I also taped and bedded sheet rock exclusively by hand, so a trowel or palette knife is almost as confortable in my hand as a brush. I also have a degree in art and music education from Western Montana College, which comes in handy for overall perspective.

I built a log cabin in northern Montana when our kids were very young, and Rachel and I coped without electriacity and running water for four years. I still like to see what I can make out of logs, especially picture frames.

I paint in oil on canvas, masonite, or plywood. I paint watercolors on masonite, or paper on masonite. Sometimes I start with watercolor, and after sealing the surface, I finish in oil.

I have three categories of painting: Non-progressive, Responder, and Stability.

My Non-progressive art is about developing real composition from scratch, using photos only for reference,and painting mostly in a representational and classic or illustrative style. These could have an historical theme, or be based entirely on imagination.

Responder Art for me is about responding to a photograph or photographs, or to a scene that I paint on-site. This work is predominantly impressionistic in style.

My use of the word Stability comes from a Hebrew word that is translated truth. Truth, over and above "facts", is what brings stability to a family, or, by extension, the world. My work in the Stability Art category involves Biblical scenes or teachings or constructive abstract concepts.

I do not feel bound to follow rules or fads of composition, color, material, or medium. So expect to find a broad range of expression.