One of the artists that last statement brings to mind is a man named Bill Stockton. Bill Grew up in the country around Grassrange and Winnett, and then served in the Army in World War II. He used his GI Bill money to attend art school, and then headed off to Paris ... but then after a year, he came back to Grassrange and spent the rest of his life as a sheep rancher. He kept painting, though, and by the end of his life he had a devoted Montana following. His work was abstract and often spare, evoking the central Montana landscapes in poignant and characteristic ways.
Bill died in 2002, and was later eulogized in a poem by Rick Newby which reads, in part:
Even at the end, his line unfailing,This is a shot someone took of Bill out on his ranch in the 1970s ... next time, I'll give you an example of his work.
he painted without stinting. And we are pierced:
By tenderness, by a quiet intensity
of yearning we can scarcely bear.