Plein Air Workshop at Russell Museum

The C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT was the site of a plein air painting workshop taught by area artist Tom Gilleon this past Monday and Tuesday.

Tom is known for his incredibly high quality art works, most notably his teepees. And, that was the “model” for this week’s workshop.

Monday’s weather forecast was an iffy one…it would have been a toss-up whether to cancel or set up someplace inside. An inside workshop would really have changed the focus, not exactly plein air.

Someone had lots of confidence that the weather would be OK and there were artists all over the lawn at the C. M. Russell Museum. What a sight to see when driving through this residential area!

I didn’t talk with any of the artists – there was a quiet, calm mood and everybody looked like they were deep in concentration so I didn’t want to interrupt anyone. But, I still wanted to visit with them!

The first two paintings I saw had the same color scheme, then I saw two totally different color schemes and styles.

Museum visitors were walking around the artists, some were just watching.

The location for the second day of the workshop was going to be chosen by the participants after they completed their first day.

If you were inside the Russell Museum, you’d see a variety of artwork – Russell’s paintings (watercolor and oils) and sculptures, artwork of other artists, exhibits with teepees, buffalo and many Native American artifacts.

An exhibition titled “Andy Warhol – Legends from the Cochran Collection” just opened and is on display until January 1, 2012.

The plein air workshop was a perfect fit for the grounds of the Russell Museum. America’s cowboy artist lived and did some of his finest work on this block in Great Falls and the museum has the largest collection of his artwork.

Charlie and Nancy Russell’s home was surrounded by artists. I think he would have been proud!

Leave a Comment