Brent Cotton, b. 1972, Blackfoot, Idaho, (United States)
Raised on his family's cattle ranch in Idaho, Brent's first lessons in art were taught by his grandmother, a talented watercolorist. He grew up sketching the cowboys and horses he observed every day. Moving in Fifth Grade to Lindsborg, Kansas which was steeped in its’ Swedish heritage and love of the arts, Brent's creativity flourished. In high school an influential instructor encouraged him to pursue a career in art.
Cotton attended workshops and studied with some of the best known names in wildlife and western art including artist Howard Terpning at the Cowboy Artists of America workshop in 1997. Cotton moved to Maui in 1999 and it was there that his work took on a more moody and atmospheric feel. The foggy days he experienced on the slopes of Haleakala volcano combined with the forest fires in Montana where he continued to spend his summers, had a dramatic impact on the direction he would take as an artist. Today he prefers to paint in the Tonalist/Luminist style made popular in the late 1800's, seeking to create works that are mood-evoking and have a timeless quality.
He also enjoys 'Plein Air' painting and strives to work outdoors as often as he can. "I became a better artist when I began painting from life. It forced me to really observe and train my eyes to filter out the unnecessary stuff and focus on the major elements." He loves to strap on his hiking boots, grab his portable easel and wander off in search of a moody scene to capture on canvas.
An avid outdoorsman Brent can often be found standing in one of the local rivers with a fly rod in his hand or on the oars of his drift boat. The close proximity to some amazing blue ribbon trout streams is one of the many reasons he and his family make their home in the Bitterroot valley of Montana. This passion has led Brent to focus on sporting art, particularly fly-fishing as a common theme in his work.