SHERIDAN — For many people, completing anything within a strict time limit can be challenging.

Time ticks by, creating building pressure to complete a project and make it as close to perfect as possible.

That is the purpose of a quickdraw, to complete an art piece within a constricted time frame.

Sonja Caywood, a local artist from Dayton, came to the Bighorn Rendezvous last Saturday Aug. 3 at The Brinton Museum with a clean canvas, contrary to many participating artists who came with half-finished works.

“I like the drama of doing it at the time,” Caywood said.

The Brinton Museum held its fourth Bighorn Rendezvous, a one-day celebration of art and American Indian culture. The event consisted of a quickdraw, American Indian dancing and music and free admission to the museum.

This is the first year the event was not connected to an exhibit by the Northwest Rendezvous group of artists, which was traditionally a month long exhibit at The Brinton, according to museum director and chief curator Ken Schuster.

This year, The Brinton hosted its own quickdraw event. Sixteen artists, both local and from out of state, completed works of art within a 3 hour time limit. The creations were auctioned at the end of the event. There were a variety of mediums, such as oil paint, pastels and sculpture. Some artists brought work that was already started to finish at the event, while drawing inspiration from something they saw at the Brinton or a photo they brought with them and completing the entire piece within the event time frame.

Many of the artists set up under the shade of the large trees in the yard in front of the historic Brinton ranch house, while others found alcoves amongst the buildings and trails on the property.

Joel Ostlind, an artist from Big Horn, appreciates the three hour time limit as opposed to the one hour limit that’s popular at many quickdraw events. For him, the extra time allows for more interaction with people watching and better works of art.

“The hardest part is to come up with something that is a strong piece at the end,” Ostlind said. “Artists work on things and then they sometimes drop it and work on a new piece, but we’re pretty well committed to the piece that we start.”

For many of the artists and attendees, one of the most distinct aspects of the quickdraw event was the presence of an audience. Community members milled about the Quarter Circle A Ranch watching and talking as the artists painted and sculpted. People could talk to the artists about their work and get to know the people behind the art. To some of the artists, the attention added to the art.

“I always ask for input when I’m doing quickdraws, and it also helps people put something into it, they feel like they had a part in it,” Caywood said. “That’s the best part about a quickdraw is that people have seen it so they feel like they had a little bit of a part in helping it become something. Especially when they offer you assistance. So I often ask for help, it just helps make it more of a community thing.”

The celebration of the arts community was a large aspect of this event.

“We have such an active art community, and it’s really nice,” James F. Jackson, local oil painter and leatherworker, said. “All the residency programs, SAGE [Community Arts], theater. This is a good place to be.”

Artists from out of town are also drawn to this area and The Brinton. Oil painter John Potter has a studio in Red Lodge, Montana, but has come to The Brinton four or five times to participate in quickdraw events.

“The Brinton is a special place just because of where it is,” Potter said. “These mountains are considered holy by our people, so coming here and being among the mountains is really wonderful.”


By Claire Schnatterbeck