Wyoming Arts Council

Sonja Caywood Fine Art

Contact: 2Sonja Caywood

Dayton, WY

2D Visual Art | Poets, Spoken Word, Storytelling & Writers

Phone | 307.751.821six

Web | http://www.sonjacaywood.com

Email | sonja@sonjacaywood.com


Growing up ranching, the summers on my family’s roundup wagon- yes, like CM Russell’s paintings- provided time and lack of modern distraction to study the livestock that inspire much of my imagery. I love studying animal’s silent expressions and rendering them 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 what first appeared “realistic” is “just paint,” -an arrangement of abstract components: shapes, colors and values that blend optically from a distance. Photos only represent the middle ground of this “dichotomy,” so my work is best experienced in person.

Rather than reporting all I see in detail, I’m interested in creating a piece that fosters individual experience and leaves space for interpretation. I use big brushes and I work quickly. 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, but I'd paint even if I never earned a dime on it. It's an honor that my work hangs in collections across the US and 12 foreign countries and it's been featured in numerous print publications and a couple documentaries, including, most recently The Story of Art on Amazon Prime, but it's not why I paint.

I live at the base of the Bighorn Mountains in Dayton with my high school sweetheart, Terry. We have two grown kids and a small posse of pets. I share my love of painting with community members by teaching fun, 2-hr acrylic painting classes, mostly in WY and MT, but as far away as Arizona and Zambia, Africa. I write arts feature guest columns for The Sheridan Press and I manage the historical Hans Kleiber Studio Museum in Dayton.