Edmund H. Osthaus | Two Hunting Dogs | Oil on Canvas | 36 x 48 inches Courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Art Auction

Editor’s Note: Behind the Scenes

An art collection can act as a road map for our beliefs and values. It can reflect the landscapes we find beautiful, the artistic techniques or styles we appreciate, and the ideas we hold as true or important. As interior designer Annie O’Carroll explains in “Designing the West” (p. 78), to understand her clients, she first asks them about their art collection because “even if it’s one painting that they love, that tells me a lot about them.”

Our latest issue, and every issue of WA&A, documents the different approaches that artists and architects take to create this connection with viewers. For example, if C.W. Mundy sees that a part of his painting is overworked — or too perfect — he’ll intentionally mess up that portion, then scrape it off and re-paint it. This process keeps the work more alive and engaging, preventing it from becoming something mechanical or absent of the painter’s touch (“Painter C.W. Mundy,” p. 124).

In a similar manner, artist Louis Escobedo believes that a sense of discovery benefits his creativity. He refuses to paint the same thing over and over again; instead, he finds the challenge of new subjects or settings motivating. He follows in the footsteps of his historical art heroes by uncovering solutions in unfamiliar places (“An Artistic Spirit,” p. 136).

The architecture projects featured in this issue demonstrate the value people find in the Western landscape. Both of the homes profiled here help the homeowners connect with their location. In Big Sky, Montana, craftsmanship and a scale that complements the vast surroundings reflect mountain modern style (“The Sooner,” p. 130). And in Las Vegas, a home is sighted toward the desert views instead of the city lights, and design elements dissolve the distance between indoor and outdoor living (“Desert Oasis,” p. 118).

The stories inside this issue show us glimpses of the people behind the work. I hope you enjoy discovering their intentions and join us in celebrating the many interpretations of the Western spirit.

Christine Rogel, Editor in Chief

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