A look inside the winning artworks from Traces of the West – Standard Checker | Candle Made Easy


“Poker Face” by Theresa Otteson, Best of Show.

Photo provided, Eccles Art Center


“Woodruff, Utah” by Natalie Shupe, Juror’s Award.

Photo provided, Eccles Art Center


“Noble” by Reggie Peterson, Honorable Mention.

Photo provided, Eccles Art Center


“Two Man Job” by Jerry Hancock, Honorable Mention.

Photo provided, Eccles Art Center


“Going After the One” by Allen Brockbank, Honorable Mention.

Photo provided, Eccles Art Center


“Indian Creek and a Setting Sun” by Gregg Batt, Honorable Mention.

Photo provided, Eccles Art Center

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When artist Theresa Otteson started painting a new western series, she thought it would be difficult to find material. But she didn’t have to look far.

“I’ve found that there are traces of the ‘old west’ all around us, in rodeos, ranches, ghost towns, and people who love that sense of western nostalgia and romance,” says Otteson.

Otteson taught art classes at the Bountiful Davis Art Center for five years. Her oil paintings can be seen in collections across the country, Europe and Japan. Her piece ‘Poker Face’, painted on fine oiled canvas, won ‘Best of Show’ at the Ogden Pioneer Days and the Eccles Art Center’s ‘Traces of the West-2022’ exhibition at the Galleries features ‘Traces of the West- 2022”.

The exhibit features western art submitted by Utah residents including landscapes, Native Americans, cowboys, cowgirls, native wildlife and domestic animals. The exhibition opened on July 1st at the Eccles Art Center.

Otteson has only been painting western art since May 2021, when she took a risk and participated in a stylized photoshoot.

“It was a genre I’d never tried before, and I wanted to push myself to do something new,” says Otteson.

She spent four days on a ranch. She watched as Willey, the model for “Poker Face”, sat down to play poker one afternoon. The only light in the room came from the door and window next to the model.

“The light illuminated his left side and the right disappeared into shadow giving a beautiful glow. Everyone else laughed and joked, but Willey never managed a smile. The lighting and his serious expression made the whole scene mysterious,” says Otteson.

The Traces of the West 2022 Juror’s Award went to Natalie Shupe for her landscape entitled Woodruff, Utah. Shupe is from Odgen and grew up on a small farm with animals, fruit trees and “roaming space”. She began oil painting at the age of 11 when her attempt to learn the piano failed – she never wanted to come inside to practice. Eventually she studied with Osreal Allred and Carl Purcell at Snow College.

Shupe says she “loves finding new landscape themes through hiking, roaming and exploring.”

Another Juror’s Award winner is Joe Deru for his carved wooden bowl called Molasses and Cream and Stir. It is a food safe mixing bowl made from natural white ash.

Deru is a lifelong resident of Weber County. Last December, the State of Utah Art Collection selected Deru’s Box Elder Bowl for the state’s permanent collection. 2022 marks the 16th year Deru will be attending The Celebration of Fine Art, a 10-week winter show in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Wood has an uplifting natural beauty. Its colors, figures and patterns uplift my soul and bring me closer to the divine,” says Deru.

Allen Brockbank received an honorable mention for his landscape titled “Going After the One”. It shows a cowboy searching red rock cliffs for his lost cow.

“I’m a big fan of the Grand Staircase-Escalante scenery. It can be so remote, peaceful and lonely. This piece needed the human presence to give it scale and a touch of color,” says Brockbank.

Brockbank lives in Centerville. Although a digital video game artist, he also loves the joys and challenges of painting landscapes right in his backyard. “Being outside is good for the soul. Utah is a painter’s paradise and a “university” for the education of the outdoor artist. Despite massive human influence and expansion, Mother Nature continues to express herself in the western landscape. I love that vastness and it’s easy for me to go back to that ‘old western’ view that’s been romanticized in movies and literature,” says Brockbank.

Other artists who received honorable mentions in the 2022 Trails of the West competition include (1) Jerry Hancock for his painting Two Man Job, which depicts two cowboys branding a calf; (2) Madison Hope for her portrait of “Pretty Nose,” a portrait of a beautiful Native American woman, which also won the People’s Choice Award; (3) Reggie Peterson’s “Noble,” a black-and-white portrait of a brave warrior with an ornate chest piece; and (4) Gregg Batt’s Indian Creek and a Setting Sun.

Visit the Eccles Art Center, 2580 Jefferson Ave. to see the exhibit through Saturday, July 30th. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The center is closed on Sundays and public holidays. The exhibition can also be accessed online at ogden4arts.org.


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