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Barbara Rusmore- Plein Air Artist

Artist Statement

"As a plein air artist, I bring my easel and canvas to a place in nature that speaks to me.


The painting arises from focused observation, immersed in the spirit of the day and place; accompanied by bugs, blazing sun, wind, rain and snow. I often finish a work in one session, as light fades and fingers freeze.


The act of painting engages me with the unpredictable beauty of the natural world. Grounded in this one spot, I see, feel and, with the action of painting, translate the spirit of that place in colors, forms and design. My paintings carry my sense of connection, wonder and immediacy to the viewer. Curiosity guides me. In my work I explore the dramatic and subtle conflicts and changes in the land and light, and the deep peace I feel in nature. 


My art is primarily plein air oil paintings of landscapes. My experiences in wilderness canyons, deserts and mountains, and exploring the back roads and ranches of the West are my inspiration. I’ve painted from my truck as I mapped agricultural land use in the coalfields of Montana, Wyoming and Utah, and while on scientific research trips floating the Colorado River canyons.


Montana is my home. Most of my paintings are of the Greater Yellowstone area and the Rocky Mountain Front. During a 2013 two-week residency in the Bob Marshall wilderness, I made a series of paintings on wildfire and recovery, one is in the permanent collection at the Hockaday Museum.


While I primarily paint on location, sometimes I complete a work in my studio, where I can look into our garden of native and perennial plants. I use field studies, sketches and photomontages as the basis for larger studio work. I also create ‘memory paintings’, an abstracted expression of places whose image resonates vividly in my mind’s eye.


I live in Bozeman with my husband and dog, who gets me out on a daily nature walk.


I am also a professional consultant in organizational and leadership development. I serve nonprofits and agencies that promote sustainable agriculture and food systems, environmental protection and restoration and Native American self-determination and culture. This work facilitating social change compliments, informs and enriches my art."

Learn more...


Baltimore, MD (1985) John Hopkins Gallery: Elsa Wolman and Barbara Rusmore


Washington DC (1985) Group show: Artists and Activism


Oakland, CA  (1989) Barbara Rusmore: Canyons of the West


Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT (1991) Group Show: Vermont Artists


Emerson Center, Bozeman MT (2008) Group Show: Hot Artists, Cold Hands


Myrna Loy Center, Helena MT (2009) Barbara Rusmore: Yellowstone: Studies in Light and Air


Holter Museum, Helena MT (2013) Barbara Rusmore: Home in Greater Yellowstone


Boulder Hot Springs, Boulder MT (2013) Barbara Rusmore: From the Field


Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, MT (2014) Group Show: Artist-Wilderness Connections – Celebrating 50 Years of the


Wilderness Act.  Artist Talk: On the Divide


Myrna Loy Center, Helena, MT (2015). Barbara Rusmore: The Art of Landscape – en plein air


Dana Gallery, Missoula MT – Paint Out Group Show, (2016)


Selected Residencies and Intensive Workshops

Vermont Studio Center, Vermont Artists Residency 1991

Yellowstone: Bugs in the Paint: Aaron Schuerr  (4 day intensive) 2009, 2010

Oil Painting Workshop: Robert Moore (5 day intensive) 2011, 2016

Artist-Wilderness Connection: USFS, Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation and Hockaday Museum. Awarded a two week residency in the Great Bear Wilderness 2013

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