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  /  The Charlie Russell Sessions

Date: Sept. 20 – Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Porcupine Hills
Venue: Trail’s End Beef – Summer House
Lead: Paul Rasporich

Charlie Russell was many things: quintessential Westerner, historian, advocate of the Indian culture, cowboy, writer, outdoorsman, philosopher, environmentalist, conservationist and, of course, artist. An artist who, even as he put paintbrush to canvas knew he was documenting a visual record of a disappearing West. His art is that of a storyteller, and that is perhaps the most endearing quality of it. A viewer can imagine the time and place, and set himself within it in a vicariously back in time fashion. Considered the first Western artist to live in the West he painted, Russell knew his subject matter intimately, and thus, he set the bar for many Western artists to follow. His work is indisputably authentic.

Our history with Russell’s work runs deep into the Alberta foothills, as he cowboyed and painted in Alberta, before settling in Montana. We have found a venue as enduring as a work of the great cowboy painter in the Trail’s End Ranch Summer House. Tucked into the first range of the Porcupine Hills just 15 minutes west of Nanton, this property has been in this ranching family for over 100 years and has always been the home-base of the summer pastures. Rolling hills, sheltering willow brush, and spring fed streams make it paradise for cattle, but also for painters of the landscape. Once operating as a dude ranch, providing respite mainly for World War II pilots training at the many airforce training bases scattered through southern Alberta, the original house is kept much the same as it was in the 40s, eccentricities and a few modern comforts added through the generations. With its row of old cowboy boots to choose from, sleeping quarters and breathtaking views of the Porcupine Hills, this place has a way of taking you back in time with it’s quintessential western charm.

A favorite and beloved artist of the foothills, Paul Rasporich will be your workshop instructor for the afternoon. Rasporich’s work is largely figurative, and his primary medium is oil, although he also works in pastels, etchings, pen and ink and sculpture. Paul is also known for his love of the West, and has designed and illustrated album covers for Ian Tyson and the Traveling Mabels. For these sessions, he will lead you in pen and ink sketching, reminiscent of the Russell style. You’ll wander through the traditional approaches of drawing and learn how Russell sketched and painted his western subjects, while Rasporich channels the iconic artist and teaches and talks about our deep connection with him. Sketch the landscape before you, or the skulls and other totems of the West we’ll supply. The class will be spontaneous and structured to the desires of the participants.

Workshop participants will enjoy an intimate afternoon sketching at the Summer House (social distancing in place), and finish with a charcuterie and beverages supplied by Trails End Beef.

DETAILS: You’ll meet at Noon at the Summer House. Sketching instruction from then until 3:00 from the decks and porches of the Summer House. All supplies included, but you are welcome to bring your own as well. This class will accommodate novice to advanced artists. Trail’s End Beef will host a charcuterie to accent this spectacular day.

Ticket Price: $130.00 plus GST


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Charlie Russell Sessions$130
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Lead: Paul Rasporich

Paul Rasporich was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1965. He has been a professional artist since 1989. He earned a diploma in Visual Communications from the Alberta College of Art in 1986, a BFA in 2000, and a BEd from the University of Calgary in 2002.
His work is represented in many private, corporate and public collections in both Canada and the USA. Awards include Trout Unlimited Canada’s Artist of the Year 2000 as well as Best New Artist of 2002 at the Calgary Stampede’s Western Art Auction. Paul was shortlisted to paint many of Canada’s former Prime Ministers, and as well was considered to paint Queen Elizabeth to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
Paul is poised to have an exhibition of works at the Calgary Public Library in 2021, and most recently he produced a first season of 12 episodes of drawing videos for youth called, “Let’s Draw!,” on YouTube.