ART IN THE LIBRARY Current Exhibition
Together with The Pincher Creek and District Municipal Library, the Allied Arts Council of Pincher Creek brings you Art In The Library. A local initiative.
899 Main Street, Pincher Creek, AB
Renowned cowboy painter, poet and musician, Don Brestler, is retiring from art at the ripe old age of 85 and if that sounds old to you, just remember that the average lifespan of an old-time cowboy was more like 38.
Nevertheless, there’s still a spring in his step and a hitch in his giddy-up and he’s lent us, the Allied Arts Council of Pincher Creek, some pieces from his personal collection so that we can share them with you in a kind of cowboy retrospective.
From his paintings you can catch glimpses of a cowboy in his prime, along with the myriad of challenges and triumphs that accompany life out west. From mountain lions, grizzlies, wolves and the puffs of gunsmoke outside the saloon, note the way Don’s work portrays the risks of range living and captures the break-neck pace of the rodeo, mainstreet and even downtown Calgary
But as Don himself knows, it’s a beautiful life in spite of, or maybe because of, the dangers inherent. Born in 1931, Don left Calgary to work on some of the biggest ranches in the province in Cardston, Milk River and Magrath; later he outfitted horses in the Rockies with the late Andy Russell and Dave Simpson, so he’s tasted the fresh air plenty and spent a few nights beneath the illustrious skies he paints so faithfully.
Eventually, Don and his wife settled in the haven of Twin Butte, Alberta, where he enjoyed his first retirement (from cowboying and, later, as a member of the Calgary City Police Force) painting scenes from his own vivid memory.
As a self-taught painter, Don developed his own signature style that evokes the fuzzy-edged and brightly-coloured nature of memory. In spite of the nostalgic approach he paints Western life with, many of Don’s pictures exist today as many of us who live out here in the West keep a torch lit for the ol’ cowboy way of life.
By Georgia Dale