LOCAL NEWS

Stilling Action & Activating Stillness: Capturing the Cowboy & Singing the City with Leon Dunning & Tom Hamil

By Kathleen Sloan

HERALD Reporter

Compare and contrast exercises are a good way to firm up what one really thinks or feels about artists’ work more than if considered in isolation.

Leon Dunning has been painting for the last 10 years. He did some pottery and carving before this, but has had no formal training.

Dunning paints only “what I can get into,” and that’s cowboys, Indians and wildlife. The story is all. He works from magazine imagery mostly. He recently was given a cache of 1973 magazines that have proven to be a gold mine of inspiration.

He paints mostly on board, but on canvas, too, laying them flat, working only with small brushes with acrylic paint.

He showed recently at the Rio Grande Motel, which was the host-site for “Art on the Rio Grande” – a weekend art festival in the Village of Williamsburg. His work is also on permanent display at January’s Gallery on Broadway in the downtown Hot Springs District in Truth or Consequences.

While others, including Dunning, may be captivated by the subject matter – the grizzly bear hunted in the snowy alpine wood, the cowboy defending his camp from Apache – what fascinates me about these “action” scenes is their Medievalism and stillness.

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