Longstock artist showcases beauty of rural Alberta

Okotoks: Festival offers variety of art and music for visitors to take in

By: Roxanne Blackwell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 01:33 pm

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Visitors will have a chance to pick up a new piece for their walls at the 7th annual Longstock music and arts festival on Aug. 16-17, where 10 talented artists from the region will be displaying their work.

Organizer Rick Smith said it’s a great opportunity for whole family to come out, enjoy the atmosphere and possibly pick up a new piece of art.

“A lot of these artists are artists that participate in the western art auction in Calgary during the Stampede or The Russell art auction in Great Falls, so very talented, very good artwork,” Smith said. “It's a tremendous display, but it's a great opportunity for people to come out and add to their art collection. It's a nice setting and the work that these people bring– there’s a lot of great works here.”

One of the artists who will have his work on display again this year at the festival is Longview artist Gaile Gallup. Gallup is a former rancher in the area, but began working as an artist full time nine years ago.

From his home perched up on a hill over looking the village, Gallup said he gets his inspiration from his beautiful surroundings.

“I know every inch of this country, I've ridden it all chasing cows and yearlings around,” he said. “That’s what inspires me. If you can't be inspired here, you never will be.”

After he quit high school, Gallup would sell his art on the side while he worked on ranches, but decided it was something he wanted to pursue more seriously after a few years.

“I thought, ‘I can work for these guys the rest of my life and I'm not gonna go anywhere’ so I went to the art college in Calgary for two years and I got a little bit more serious about it, but I still loved the cowboyin’ end of it,” he said.

Now Gallup mostly captures landscapes and western themed images on his canvases using oil paint or charcoal. While he often works by painting from photographs he has taken – like the bucking horse painting which will be on display at the show – Gallup said he also tries to make an effort to get out of the studio and do fresh air painting of the landscapes.

“I think most artists use photography now, but you have realize the limits with it,” he said. “I also do fresh air painting, you know why it’s good? You have to work fast, so you don't get caught up in detail, and your colours are a lot better. I find you get more excited about it rather than just standing in a studio and trying to copy something because you're out there in the actual environment, and you get so caught up in what you're doing, that it's the best way to do it really.”

Gallup said he rarely does commission work anymore, aside from the piece he’s doing for the 2015 Ponoka Rodeo poster. Instead, he paints what he enjoys and waits for someone else to take a liking to it.

“If you do a commission piece, you've got to please them, and we don't all look at things the same way, especially art. I might think it's ok and they might not,” he said. “ I'd sooner do stuff that you're interested in doing. It's neat to have someone come along and say, ‘I like that.’”

That’s what Gallup is hoping will happen again this year at the Longstock festival. He’s taken part in the Calgary Stampede art show, as well as regularly attending the Great Falls show, but he’s been a part of Longstock since it first began.

“I did it because it was local and you want to support a local thing… but every year's gotten a little bit better,” he said. “Most of (the shows) you have to pay to get into them… they're trying to weed out the no buyers, but still it does away with that family atmosphere. Here there's kids and parents, this just has a better feeling to it.”

The Longstock festival will be taking place in Longview on Aug 16-17, and admission is by donation. In addition to the art tent, there will be a full line up of music acts as well as food and a crafting marketplace. For more information visit www.longstock.org.


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