I have to confess that one of my favorite parts of putting out this magazine is coming up with the monthly cover art. As the first impression, I always try to find cover art that is eye-catching and unpredictable.
This issue has several articles about ranches and ranching, so I began to mentally visualize what would might work well on the cover – a winter ranch scene, somewhere in the mountains, preferably at twilight.
My first stop on the quest for cover art was Art Matters Gallery in Salida. It is a co-op gallery owned by Gloria Jean Countryman, an artist herself, and features a wide variety of art and artists. I told her what I had in mind and after a thorough search of the inventory couldn’t really find the “perfect” artwork.
“How about if I paint something?” asked Gloria.
The idea had never occurred to me to actually commission a cover but knowing Gloria’s abilities with a brush I accepted the premise and we had a deal. I then e-mailed to her some historic and contemporary photos of the Hayden Ranch property near Leadville which is featured in this issue, and gave her carte blanche to do her best.
Well, it took less than 48 hours before an e-mail arrived with this month’s cover art attached. To my delight, she had managed to fully render my mental picture of the December cover.
The artwork, entitled, “Last Light, First Snow” is a watercolor employing a primary triad color pallet on Lanaquella 140# cold-press paper. The entire painting was done with only a 1-1/2” flat wash brush. – Mike Rosso