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Painting through a ‘feeling of place’

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Artist Jim Dick’s “Daybreak on Lone Peak” 36x48. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM DICK

Artist spotlight: Jim Dick

By Mira Brody EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – Bozeman painter Jim Dick combines two forces into his work: a love for the outdoors and a strong work ethic. The self-taught, 45-year veteran of the arts was born and raised on a family farm on the Fort Peck Reservation and began experimenting with paints in his 20s after realizing that he wasn’t fond of the nine to five office life.

“My early attempts at painting with oils was, in my opinion, very amateurish,” Dick said. “I discovered I had a lot to learn about composition, color, values, perspective, brush-work and other technical tools. I am still learning about refining these elements.”

These days, Dick’s work is anything but amateurish. He spends his time evolving his craft and learning from his favorite teacher: the Montana landscape. The outdoorsman begins every piece with an on-location, plein air field study with oils. He says these studies “give me the feeling of the place and the season” before he later completes a final composition in the studio.

He primarily paints landscapes, including the Spanish Peaks, Gallatin, Madison, Tobacco Roots and Bridger mountain ranges, as well as eastern Montana prairie studies, or, Native American tipi paintings. An avid trail runner, he often brings his sketching supplies on his ventures, pausing to capture a scene on the mountain peaks before heading back down.

“Every moment in time is unique as the light, colors, atmosphere, etc., relate to each other in that place to make it special,” Dick said.

Although he has participated in the Big Sky Art Auction for a couple of years, he asserts that he has been painting the Big Sky area for over 40 years—most of his painting career— and he calls it “a favorite place of mine—I am looking forward to getting outdoors in our beautiful Big Sky country more this year.”

Dick enjoys participating in local art events because it allows him to share his appreciation of the landscape and places that Montana offers with others. Through art, he says, “I think there is mutual benefit to both the community and the artist.”

Jim Dick will be featured at this year’s Big Sky Art Auction from July 16 through 18. Visit for more information.

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