Friday, March 4, 2016

A Hunter's Tale

Bill Scheidt (front) with his father
and brother
The Wyoming Conservation Stamp competition originated in 1984 to bolster conservation awareness in the state of Wyoming.  The contest is open to artists from all states and the subject matter is always a native animal. The winner’s work is converted to a stamp. These stamps are purchased by hunters and collectors and are also available as limited edition art prints. The Boerne artist, Bill Scheidt, has a special place in his heart for the competition and calls it his favorite. 

Scheidt's father hunting
in Wyoming in the 1940's
Scheidt grew up in a hunting household.  Every room of the house was covered in head mounts, except for the bathroom, Scheidt recounts. Most of the family hunted around the Bandera County ranch and everything killed was eaten. Far away in Wyoming, The Game and Fish Commission was created in 1921 to determine approximate numbers of wildlife.  By 1929 the legislature gave the Game and Fish Commission the ability to close hunting and fishing in an effort to restore fish and game populations. Hunting seasons were established across the state.  Twenty years later Scheidt’s father would make regular pilgrimages to Wyoming to hunt big game during these seasons. Scheidt’s father also took his home movie camera with him. He had one of the first home movie cameras, a Kodak 16mm that shot in color, very rare for the average 1940’s household. He used it extensively on these hunting trips and returned home to share the videos with his family and friends. The movies stirred Scheidt’s imagination. He had never seen anything like it before outside of a movie theater.  One film in particular that Scheidt remembers was of his father hunting and shooting an elk. It left a strong impression in the artist’s mind. Other home movies that inspired him were those of the pristine Wyoming scenery: the camp, the men riding their horses through the river, and the desolate landscapes.  Wyoming, with all its wild beauty captured the imagination of the young painter. The images stayed with Scheidt and would later make appearances in his works.

Scheidt in his studio
As an adult he would travel to Wyoming and visit the land he had seen as a youth.  He took a hunting trip there with his father and later went for inspiration.  Eventually, Bill heard about the Wyoming stamp contest and wanted to get involved. He has participated every year since 1997 when he painted a trumpeter swan for the 1998 competition. His favorite entry was for the Brown trout and although did not place in competition, it found its way to the home of a private collector.  In 2004 he won 4th place for his painting “Empty Nest” which depicts burrowing owls.  His artwork placed in the top five in 2005 and again in 2011. In 2015, his painting “Lookout” won an honorable mention, and was displayed at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne during May 2015. It was also published in the December issue of Wyoming Wildlife Magazine.  J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art is proud to display this brilliant work in the upcoming show,” Switch 36” this March at our Boerne, Texas gallery along with other works by Scheidt.
by Gina Martinez, Art and Framing Consultant for J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art-Boerne 


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