The Master of Sunsets and Snow – Stephen Day

By Jill Soens

Learn to capture on canvas the heat and the ice of a shiny, rosy  sunset, and the texture and glow of snow against trees and water. Stephen Day, both an experienced teacher and artist, will lead a 3 day workshop starting on Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 24.


While Stephen’s favorite place to paint small study pieces is in the outdoors, the class members will work from photos from Stephen’s collection or they can bring their own photos. At the start of each day and again, after lunch, the workshop will begin with a demonstration of “how to” techniques after which each student will begin starting their own painting based on these techniques.

"A Northern New Mexico Evening" by Stephen Day

“A Northern New Mexico Evening” by Stephen Day

As is in the beautiful sunset painting above, techniques will include how to achieve the beautiful color palette of the sky meeting the earth and how to create the clouds and the effect of the sun on the clouds. The workshop will also focus on techniques to paint the glimmer, shimmer and curves of snow as the snow meet animate objects.

After the demonstration of techniques, each participant will begin a small painting themselves on the principle that it is harder to begin and easier to finish later.  Each student will be working hard to capture these new techniques.

Stephen says, “Hopefully, after the workshop, the students will be inspired and motivated to do more when they are at home because they will know better how to achieve their artistic goals”

The only equipment needed are whatever painting material the student usually uses and small canvases.

Ben Nighthorse and the American Quarter Horse

By Muriel Tissonnier

800px-PetermccuewithcaudellWith a nick name like “America’s Horse,” it is clear that the American Quarter Horse is America’s most popular and beloved horse breed. They are also the horse of choice for jewelry-maker Ben Nighthorse, who uses Quarter Horses in all his designs.

The first Quarter Horses were bred during the colonial era by cross breeding the English Thoroughbred with “native horses.”  This small, quick and sturdy horse was used to work during the week and to race on the weekend.


As Americans moved west so did our horses.  Out West the Quarter Horse was cross bred with wild horses, Mustangs, adding a natural instinct for working with cattle to the breed.

Today’s Quarter Horse stands betweein 14 and 16 hands high, has a strong, muscled body with a broad chest and powerful rounded hind quarters.  The quarter horse wears many different hats; a show horse, race horse, ranch horse, reining and cutting horse, rodeo competitor and all-around great family horse.

The contemporary jewelry of Ben Nighthorse has been heavily influenced by his own respect for and his wife’s love for the American Quarter horse.  Ben and his wife Linda have raised quarter horses for years, including a Supreme Champion and AQHA Champion, Sailors Night.  Today the horse plays a major role in his designs.

Reversible Running Horse Pendant

Reversible Running Horse Pendant

Walking Horse Earrings by Ben Nighthorse

Walking Horse Earrings by Ben Nighthorse

Heavenly Horses Bracelet by Ben Nighthorse

Heavenly Horses Bracelet by Ben Nighthorse

Just to note a few, the Reversible Running Horse Pendant, the Heavenly Horses Bracelet and the Walking Horse Earrings.  Please come visit the gallery or our website to see more of Ben Nighthorse’s jewelry.

Learning an Ancient Art – Watercolor with Pat Howard

Pat Howard's watercolors have won numerous awards across the country.

Pat Howard’s watercolors have won numerous awards across the country.

By Jill Soens

Watercolor art goes all the way back to the early cave paintings, so it is  an ancient art indeed!!   Take pigment suspended in water, your fingers and paint wherever you find space!

This weekend, our wonderful watercolorist Pat Howard will lead a 3-day workshop, helping students master the art of watercolor. Pat’s workshop will combine paper and brushes, but the basics will remain the same:  pigment suspended in water and learning to guide them together and around to create beauty with brushes.

In the picture above you can see examples of Pat’s different subjects:  people, flowers, fruit and places.  She brings each subject vividly alive with patience, practice and pleasure at bringing each subject a glow and individuality of it’s own.

Pat Howard will lead a 3-day workshop at Sorrel Sky Gallery.

Pat Howard will lead a 3-day workshop at Sorrel Sky Gallery.

Pat gave a demonstration of her technique at the gallery  and visitors and staff were equally fascinated.  Please note her palette with its variety of colors neatly laid out in preparation:  Pat knows how to control them and teach you how to do it too!

All levels of students are welcome to attend and Pat has planned some fun projects to do every day and at the end of each class an hour is spent discussing what was achieved each day.

"Sunflowers at the Market" by Pat Howard

“Sunflowers at the Market” by Pat Howard

Pat has won awards in international, national, state and local venues and Sorrel Sky is so pleased that she will be doing a workshop for us in our beautiful second floor room with perfect watercolor light provided by the large skylight.

Pat Howard’s workshop will run January 25-27 at Sorrel Sky Gallery. Call 970-247-3555 for more information!

Fabulous New Ben Nighthorse Jewelry

By Jill Soens

As you may have heard, Ben Nighthorse recently delivered the US Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington D.C. Now back at home in Southwest Colorado, Ben is creating beautiful new designs just in time for Santa. See what the former senator has been up to!

“Double Circle” Earrings by Ben Nighthorse

Take a look at these beautiful new Ben Nighthorse gaspeite “Double Circle” dangling earrings.  Gaspeite, which comes from a mine in Australia, is now an extremely rare stone as the mines are tapped out. Ben has used this rare green stone to create a pair of earrings that remind us of Spring and Summer while the snow falls. Light weight, easy to wear, and fun!!!

“Horse Head Pendant” by Ben Nighthorse

Horse lovers will delight in this new  “Horse Head Pendant”.  Inlaid with black jade, white mother of pearl, red sponge coral, lapis and Chinese turquoise, this pendant reverses to a stippled sterling silver mélange of 6 small horses, a star, lightening bolt and a pine tree. Inlaid beauty combined into elegance!

Rectangle Island Ring by Ben Nighthorse

For our Sorrel Sky Gentlemen who like sterling silver with a splash of color in the middle, Ben just created the “Rectangle Island Ring.”   With a background of Ben’s trademark white stifled sterling silver, he highlights lapis, rosarita red, opal and turquoise set with sterling silver channels.  Handsome is as handsome does!!  And this is Handsome!

“Rearing to Go” Earrings by Ben Nighthorse

To fly us into the holiday season, these new and beautiful “Rearing To Go” rosarita and black onyx earrings shout “FUN”!  Tear dropped shaped, 2 inches long and one inch wide of dangly, beautiful earring,  perfectly fit for holiday wear.


Jerry Wedekind – Woodturner Extraordinaire

“Aspen Burl Hollow Turning” by Jerry Wedekind

By Gavin McCalden

When viewing one of Jerry Wedekind’s unique wood-turnings, it’s hard not to wonder just how he does it. In truth, the process of creating a turned wood bowl has been around for centuries. Jerry’s own lathe is an ancient Oliver, more than 75 years old that came from a collector many years ago. He attributes some qualities of his work to the uniqueness of the lathe:

“It weighs over 1500 pounds, it’s massive size helps dampen the vibration created in spinning an unbalanced form.”

The process used in turning a hollowed vessel is first to shape the outside profile, then carefully remove the interior shape through a small opening at the top. As Jerry puts it, “The overall goal is to remove as much material as possible without compromising its structural integrity”.

Both processes require over-sized tools, many of which Jerry has designed and developed himself over the years. Typically he uses long-handled chisel-like instruments to achieve the desired results.

All the tools and techniques aside, there would be nothing without the raw material: large burls. A burl is a growth caused by environmental or human-caused stress in which the grain has grown in an abnormal manner. Often times they can be seen as an outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch, but sometimes they grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots of the tree.

Burls yield a very peculiar and figured wood, and are highly valued for their interesting patterns and rich color. The low occurrence rate of burls adds to their value and collectable nature. The highly desirable, irregular patterns of burl wood make it more difficult to work on a lathe, saw, sand and finish.

Some tree species can grow burls of enormous size. It is these large burls that Jerry seeks out, spending hours deep in the backcountry of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Many of his best finds have been accidental as he biked remote mountain trails. Jerry will never cut a living tree, preferring trees that have been standing dead for 3-4 years.

“Aspen Burl Vessel” by Jerry Wedekind

It is this focused and knowledgeable effort that produces these high-quality, Aspen burl woodturnings seen in Sorrel Sky Gallery.

Thinking Big with Small Paintings

“Waitin’ on the Kids” by Bonnie Conrad

By Linda Perala-Hunt

Is an exciting addition to the Sorrel Sky Gallery’s yearly lineup.  Now in it’s third year, it is one that we all look forward to.  A small format painting is generally under 14 inches either way in size.  Composition, scale, and format become extremely important when working small.

“Elk and Falcon” by Phyllis Stapler

Artists have to be very conscientious of the composition, though the subject matter is limitless and the possibilities to display your small collection are endless.   These small works allow a collector to build a varied collection in subject matter, although some choose to go with a theme.  Displaying the art has it’s endless possibilities as well.

It can add interest to a room. The small pieces fit into any location alone and the collection, when placed all in one area, give the room interest and will draw a viewer in to look closer at each piece. Collectively, they can be captivating and they have an intimacy about them – you want to get closer.

People love to purchase art when they travel because it is a reminder of that special place they visited and the adventure of the trip.  Small works can travel easily  and don’t need a lot of consideration of placement – you can always find a niche for a small work of art.  The variation is not limited to size or subject matter and can also cross mediums.

“Seeing Double” by Edward Aldrich

Add a photograph in with the oil paintings, and a lithograph with a wall sculpture.  The possibilities are endless and can cross over oceans and time barriers. What a fun way to build on your collection, and a good opportunity to sample a cross section of various artists.

Come see our small works show, “Little Windows with a Big View” on November 1st from 5-8pm. The work will be on display through November.

What Does Your Birthstone Mean?

By Margaret Hedderman

Most of us know our birthstones – the traditional gemstones assigned to our month of birth. Surely at some point we’ve all bought or been given amethysts, sapphires, or (hopefully!) diamonds. But who knew there is a deep, historical and mystical tradition behind our birthstones? Many believe in the healing powers of wearing birthstones during their assigned month. What does your birthstone mean?

January – Garnet

Cluster Pearl Garnet Earrings by Lorraine Yapps Cohen.

A stone for the heart! Garnets benefit the heart, lungs and blood. With a deep, rich red color, garnets are also the stone of love, passion, and sensuality.

February – Amethyst

14k Amethyst Ladybug Necklace by Cherie Dori

A stone for meditation, peace, inner-strength and courage, the alluring purple of amethyst is thought to alleviate insomnia, arthritis, and circulatory issues.

March – Aquamarine

Aqua Deco Ring by Elizabeth Showers

A calming and soothing stone, aquamarine will alleviate stress and nerves, and release fear. It also aids in the health of liver, throat, stomach, eyes, ears and the jaw.

April – Diamonds

Aurea Ring by Toby Pomeroy

Diamonds seem to do it all. A clean, pure and healing stone, diamonds aid enlightenment and fearlessness. Diamonds help manifest abundance and create bonding partnerships.

May – Emerald

24kt Gold Envy Necklace by GURHAN

The stone of the Roman Goddess Venus, the beautiful, deep green of the emerald is associated with health of the skin, liver, and kidneys. It is said that if the heart is true, the emerald will remain its beautiful green color, but if the heart strays, the stone will become dull and lifeless.

June – Pearl

Multicolored Pearl Necklace by Pam Springall

Symbolizing faith, purity and innocence, pearls will help you focus and inhibit boisterous activity. It is said that pearls enhance fertility and ease childbirth.

July – Ruby

24kt gold Aurora Earrings by GURHAN.

This brilliant red stone has always been associated with the sun. Love, energy, passion and power, rubies are said to bring good dreams, courage, and enjoyment of life. It is also believed that rubies will detoxify the body and blood.

August – Peridot

Five Stone Sugilite and Peridot Bracelet by Kaizen

Another detoxifying stone, peridot is believed to relieve psychological conditions: depression and nervousness, among others. It’s vibrant and happy green color is said to boost self-esteem.

September – Blue Sapphire

24kt Gold Blue Sapphire Spring Ring by GURHAN

A symbol of the heavens, blue sapphires are a “wisdom” stone. It restores balance to the body and mind, as well as bringing lightness and joy to your life!

October – Opal

Reversible Ring – Opal to Diamonds by Gloria Sawin

Opal brings self-worth, self-esteem and confidence. It is said to be a seductive stone, yet brings loyalty as well. Opal will also strengthen the immune system and bring good health!

November – Topaz

18kt Gold Topaz Deco Earrings by Elizabeth Showers

Topaz comes in many colors. It recharges and re-motivates its bearer, helping to solve problems and express ideas. Topaz is a stone of good love and good fortune.

December – Lapis

Small Running Horse Pendant by Ben Nighthorse

So often found in Native American jewelry, lapis is a stone of protection. It stimulates self-awareness and expression as well as alleviating insomnia and vertigo.

Is That a Painting or a Photo? The Photorealism of Ray Hare

“Running Water” by Ray Hare, 50″x70″

By Sue Pederson

Ray Hare is a painter of infinite color and detail with a unique vision through enlarged images and illusions.  His subjects seem so real we believe we can reach out and touch them. His style is photo realism but his art goes beyond the realistic likeness.  The emotional impact of each painting confronts and challenges us to view reality with renewed emotions.

“The Big Apple” by Ray Hare, 50″x50″.

A native Californian, Ray Hare has expressed himself through art since an early age.  In high school he won numerous state and national competitions. He received a full scholarship to the California College of Arts and Crafts where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with High Distinction.  Ray then went to San Francisco State University to receive his Masters of Fine Art.

“I Like it Wet” by Ray Hare, 52″x60″

Ray is based in Orange County, California.  His art has been shown in numerous museums including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, De Young Museum, Oakland Museum, Crocker Kingsley Art Museum and the Los Angeles Art Institute.  He was commissioned by ABC to paint a portrait of Oprah Winfrey for her private collection. He was also commissioned by NBC to paint a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor for her private collection and by Fox network to paint a portrait of Ray Charles for him and his son Ray Charles Jr.’s private collection.

“Why Should we Stay” by Ray Hare, 50″x70″

We are delighted each morning to walk into the gallery and see Ray’s astonishing works.

From Ravens to Wolves

By Gavin McCalden

Jim Eppler is widely known for his Raven bronze sculptures. The iconic bird has been spread far and wide through Eppler’s realistic depiction of its character and spirit. Utilizing many different poses, compositions and sizes, he has truly perfected this series of sculptures, and now he seeks to do it again.

In a new release by Jim Eppler, he has brought five Wolf bronzes to Sorrel Sky Gallery. The Wolves are reminiscent of the Raven bronzes in that they each communicate a different personality through various poses.

One may be stalking prey while another is howling at the sky; another two can be coupled in a “courtship” scene. The Wolves are typical of Eppler’s work in the textures and gestures communicated through each individual piece, each one hand-finished by the artist through a combination of patina and paint.

With five wolves to choose from already, any collector or wolf fanatic is sure to find one they can connect with.

Dave McGary: Bronzes Unlike Any Other

“Enemies Past” Life size Bust, by Dave McGary

By Muriel Tissonnier

Dave McGary’s process of creating a bronze is unlike any other.  He has dedicated his life to the detail in form and historic content within his bronzes to become a legend among contemporary artists of the American West as the Master of Realism.  Creating incredible pieces of art for the rest of us to enjoy.

It all begins with his knowledge and respect of Native American history and culture. McGary has formed life long friendships with several Native Americans he met more than thirty years ago.  They have shared their stories and encouraged McGary to use these stories and histories has the subject matter for his work.  Dave’s most popular nickname amongst his Native American friends is Spirit Messenger because he is sharing their stories and educating people through his work.

Having become fascinated with the art of casting bronze at a very young age and having the opportunity to study the essentials; anatomy and the ins and outs of casting bronze, with bronze masters in Italy gave him a strong foundation for success.  But to be successful in today’s world of art there needs to be innovation.  After returning from Italy Dave spent several years working at a bronze foundry, where he was able to develop his own techniques and style.  Dave McGary has taken realism within bronze sculpture to a level not seen before.

“The Crow and The Bear Study” by Dave McGary

A McGary sculpture begins with wax.  First, he forms a skeleton or armature of wax.  After creating a full-unclothed human the complex details and clothing are added.  Next, a rubber mold of the figure is taken.  That mold is then filled with molten wax.  This now wax model is dipped into ceramic slurry, which creates a new mold.  The ceramic mold is heated allowing the wax to melt away leaving behind an empty cavity.  Molten bronze is poured into the cavity.   Once the bronze has cooled, the ceramic shell is removed, exposing the bronze.

Dave applies sand to the damp ceramic.

The finishing process takes place at McGary’s Studio in Ruidoso, NM.  Due to the incredible amount of detail  put into one of his sculptures,  as many as 160 separate castings are sent from the foundry to the studio in order to create a single bronze.  Each bronze is built from the separate castings by welding and eliminating any imperfections.  Once the piece represents Dave’s original wax sculpture it is sandblasted to smooth the surface of the bronze.

Color is added to each sculpture through the patina process.  A process which uses heat and chemicals to speed the oxidation process, creating shades of color.  The process I repeated over the entire bronze section by section.

The most exciting step in the creation of a McGary process is what takes place in his paint studio.  This is where Dave has made a name for him self and what has separated his work from the many other western bronze artists.  Dave has developed and perfected these painting techniques over the last 27 years.  Every beadwork design is unique to its character and is hand painted bead by bead, giving it that incredible sense of realism.  The painting process continues to create life like clothing, swords, guns and feathers.  Not to forget the Native America Leger drawings on the buffalo robes, telling the story of each warrior’s life and his successes in battle, are all individually painted by hand.

“Star Gazers” Maquette by Dave McGary

Last, the bronze is sealed and protected to withstand the elements and mounted upon it’s handcrafted base.  Now ready to be packed and shipped to collectors around the world.

Dave McGary’s pieces can bee seen at the US Capitol National Statuary Hall, the Smithsonian Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum of the American Indian, the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum and Sorrel Sky Gallery!  Just to name a few…


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