A Western Storyteller
“How do you paint a painting without a story?” That is the rhetorical question Gary Lynn Roberts, a third-generation artist and Montana’s premiere Western artist, asks. He answers his own question by musing, “An interviewer once described me like this: ‘Gary’s not a historical painter – his paintings are historically accurate – but he’s a storyteller.’”
As the first permanent settlement of non-indigenous people in Montana, Stevensville is the perfect historical backdrop for Gary’s art studio. His studio is accented with an impressive library of Western literature that once included signed copies of Huckleberry Finn and Lonesome Dove. In fact, visiting Gary’s studio is like being in a Louis Lamour storybook village. The aromatic sawdust from the custom framing room fills your nostrils. The stunning, life-like cowboys, mules, horses, and historic buildings in Gary’s paintings invite you to step inside the frame and join the scene. Just like that, you are transported to a time and place – a chapter – in a story where the cowboy tips his hat to you, you smell the lather of horses and the leather of saddles, and before you know it, you’re invited into a saloon for some throat-burning whiskey.
A legacy of art
Originally from Austin, Texas, Gary spent decades following in the footsteps of family artists – his grandfather, grandmother, and father – noted Western artist Joe Rader Roberts. Growing up in this environment segued to training opportunities with several revered American artists, including G. Harvey and A.D. Greer. Gary’s early days as an illustrator taught him how to tell stories in his art, his days training horses and performing in rodeos enhanced his love of the West, and his style of realism and impressionism have all played a part in the powerful artwork that Gary has been creating for years.
An accidental move from Texas to Montana
When asked about his move from Texas to Montana, Gary chuckles. “My journey from Texas to Montana was kind of an accident. I was making a good living as an artist and had an art collector from New York who really liked my work. This collector called and told me he had bought tickets for us to attend the CM Russell Art Show in Great Falls. I had a ski trip planned with my family, but the art show was giving me two paintings in the auction and a quick draw with a room to work on the pieces. I had to go.”
From there, Gary and his family got invited to visit ranches across Montana and Wyoming. These were working trips for Gary – he would bring his painting supplies and create art from his surroundings. One such invitation was on the outskirts of the Stockfarm in Hamilton, where his wife, Nancy, said, “If I could stay here, I’d move up here.” The next day Gary got a studio in Hamilton, and two weeks later, his family moved to the Bitterroot Valley.
Hand crafted product, from start to finish
Each of Gary’s paintings has a limited edition of prints – typically 95. Gary’s original work is printed off on an in-house commercial printer, then treated to make them last 100 years. From there, Gary individually enhances each print, using a process called Giclée. This gives Gary’s art an original feel without the original cost.
When describing the gallery, Gary says, “We’re very proud of what we do here – we create a hand-crafted product from start to finish – from the original painting, to the printing, to the Giclée, to the custom frames – all in-house. We’re also faith-based, which is really important to me.”
Indeed, Gary says that he has a spiritual connection with the Old West. Prior to the CM Russell Art Show, Gary painted mostly Texas landscapes. While his artwork is featured in galleries across the country in places like Scottsdale, San Antonio, Dallas, California, and Jackson, Wyoming, he says that 90% of his paintings are now of the Northwest. Gary explains, “The mountains are addictive,” and we couldn’t agree more. View Gary’s life-like historical Western paintings at his Stevensville gallery or in our Hamilton Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty office.
Kat Hobza has lived in Montana since she was nine, and was raised in the mountains west of Victor, Montana. There she learned to hunt, fish, shoot competitively, chop and stack firewood, and drive on icy or muddy roads. Kat has over two decades of experience in professional writing, content and digital marketing, and is the Marketing Director for Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. When she’s not working, she’s either hanging with her hilarious adult kids or soaking up the sun somewhere – a riverbank, a golf course, or her deck.
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