Gateway to Montana's Artistic Legacy

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Brent Cotton (1972 -     )
   Raised on his family's cattle ranch in Idaho, Brent's first lessons in art were taught by his grandmother, a talented watercolorist. He grew up sketching the cowboys and horses he observed every day. His family moved to Lindsborg, Kansas when he was in the 5th grade. In this little town steeped in it's Swedish heritage and love of the arts, Brent's creativity flourished. In high school an influential instructor encouraged him to pursue a career in art.
   Upon graduation, he spent several seasons as a hunting and fishing guide in the vast wilderness of Idaho and Alaska, experiences that led to many painting ideas. He focused on wildlife art and taught himself woodcarving as a way to express himself. His specialty became gamefish and songbirds.

   After several years of carving and sculpting, Brent decided to concentrate on painting. He began attending workshops, and over the years has studied with some of the best known names in wildlife and western art.
   He was part of a select group of artists to study with world-renowned western artist Howard Terpning at the Cowboy Artists of American workshop in 1997.
   He gives Oklahoma artist Christine Verner the most credit for putting him on the path he's on now. She expanded his vision and under her direction his work turned from highly detailed to a more painterly and looser approach. "I became a better artist when I began painting from life, it forced me to really observe and train my eyes to filter out the unnecessary stuff and focus on the major elements."
   He loves to strap on his hiking boots, grab his portable easel, and wander off in search of a moody scene to capture on canvas. His work has garnered several national awards including the prestigious "Arts for the Parks top 100" in both 1997 and in 2003, where his painting "Evensong" won both the "People's Choice" and "Region 3" awards.
   Brent was also the very first recipient of the "CM Russell Museum CEO Award" at the annual CM Russell Art Auction in Montana. He and his wife Jennifer live in the beautiful Bitterroot valley of Montana.