Art lovers, collectors and passersby alike step inside Legacy Gallery to see some of the most prestigious Western artwork.

Out of the 100-plus artists Legacy Gallery represents, it will spotlight Greg Beecham and Glenn Dean during the Fall Arts Festival.

Beecham, who hails from nearby Dubois, is one of the top wildlife painters in the country. But at age 65, he said, he is straying from some of the typical wildlife scenes he has painted in the past.

He had a wake-up call in when he found himself in the hospital after a heart attack in 2013, a period he called a turning point in his career.

“I asked myself, ‘Who am I? Who am I as an artist?’” he said. “It is important to pursue work that is true to yourself.”

In his realistic wildlife paintings Beecham focuses on precision with color, value, composition and texture — the latter of which he named as the most important piece. He works with a heavy amount of paint, making his work come off the page.

“I learn more from sculptors than from painters,” he said.

Though Beecham has won dozens of awards — the most recent being the Major General and Mrs. Don D. Pittman Wildlife Award, an accolade bestowed by the National Cowboy and Heritage Museum’s Prix de West — his work never feels quite finished to him.

“As soon as I am done with one I am on to the next,” Beecham said. “I want people to see the art and not just a picture of the animal.”

Dean, a California artist who paints Western landscapes and scenes in various light, is a part of the younger Western art movement. Born in 1976, he taught himself to paint, inspired by early California impressionist painters.

“I was just blown away by how they handled the paint and how they were able to create illusions of depth and atmosphere with just putting one color next to another,” he said.

For 15 years he strictly painted landscapes, but then he started adding figures to his works. He works from photographs he takes of models in nature, most of them cowboys saddled up in the West or Southwest.

“A lot of them are real cowboys, working on ranches and things, so that helps a lot when I’m going to paint them and put them in a composition,” Dean said. “I feel that authenticity is important.” 

Contact Natalie Shilati at fallarts@jhnewsandguide.com.

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