Ready to meet another Inspirational Western Woman?
I’m thrilled for you to get to know this gal. She hales from Montana and is such a kind, generous lady.
With that . . .
I’d like to welcome one of this month’s Inspirational Western Women, Nancy Quinn.
As an author and wildlife artist, living in the west is a dream come true. I have always been a countrywoman at heart even though I was born and raised in the city. When my husband retired from the Air Force we were finally able to choose where to live. We found a mountainside in rural Montana just across the Continental Divide. Now I don’t have to travel anymore for my inspiration; it’s in my own front and back yards – a 73-acre parcel we call Cimarron.
When we left Washington, D.C., to cross the country to Montana, we knew we had chosen to make a dramatic change in lifestyle. We wanted our two young daughters to grow up in the countryside, with all the benefits of fresh air and a calmer daily routine.
However, rural Montana life is not for the faint of heart. The weather is often dangerous and unforgiving. At times we are forced to slog a mile uphill in the dark in below-freezing temperatures. Sometimes our truck gets stuck in snowdrifts on nights that even the Laura Ingall’s family would not have ventured outside.
We’ve had many encounters with wild animals, including a mountain lion on our swing and a baby bobcat in the back flower garden. Deer, elk, foxes, and coyotes regularly visit our front meadow, and a lady moose used to bring her twins into our driveway. Grizzly and Black bears have interrupted our lunches and evening meals, and have even destroyed the plants in our patio garden.
Despite the potential danger, I am truly inspired by the natural world around us, which has helped me become more productive in my work. One favorite of mine is a life-size Golden Eagle painting. The nesting pair that lived in a tall Ponderosa Pine near our house made wonderful subjects as I watched them raise their young.
There are many positive aspects to our unique lifestyle. Our girls were home-schooled, so our close relationship with them has been a blessing. We have taken in abused and neglected horses and dogs, and the experience of nurturing them back to health has been life-changing for me. I think they have helped me as much as I have helped them through the special bond we’ve formed. Even now the horses often watch me work through the windows of my art studio where I write books about our life here, and create original art, limited editions prints, greeting cards, ornaments, and sterling silver jewelry. Whether I ask them or not, my equine family members are quite vocal with their opinions about my work. Wilson usually starts the conversation.
“Are you writing about me or painting my portrait? I simply must know!”
“Not all my work is about you, Wilson. Today I’m working on another subject.” After a brief look of disappointment, his ears perk up.
“Is it time for your tea break?”
“Why, do you want a cookie?”
Suddenly, all their heads bob up and down in agreement, tails swish, and loud snorts and whinnies follow. I give them a hug and a treat, then return to my work. I always enjoy their company, even when they cause interruptions.
Some of the best perks of western life are the beautiful sunsets we see as that giant yellow ball sinks below the mountains. Each one is like a different watercolor painting every evening, with the vast sky bathed in purple, gold, pink, and orange light. When the last glow is gone and night arrives, there are more stars in heaven than you can count. While I had a late start on country life, my daughters are maturing into self-reliant western women. It makes up for the hardships and helps me feel even more connected to them and the rhythm of country life.
I’ve always believed one should never shy away from new opportunities or adventures. Pursue your dreams and ambitions; it’s the only way they will ever come true. Even now, as I approach my sixth decade, I’m entering a new medium of interest and launching a line of women’s fashions and home décor incorporating my art.
What will be your next endeavor?
Connect With Nancy and Her Work
Author and wildlife artist Nancy Quinn is a leading creative force. She is noted as the writer who” paints with words”, and has won prestigious literary and art awards. She lives with her family, dogs, and horses in the wilds of Montana, sharing the modern western experience through her books, art, and videos.
Will Rogers Medallion Award
2nd and 3rd place World Wildlife Art Championships