Carolyn Henderson: Talk about Art
October 24, 2019
She has trained dolphins.
She's sat by the side of a jaguar and pet it.
She's had her photo taken while sitting astride a Texas Longhorn steer named Weeds.
And she's sculpted a rearing horse entirely out of baling wire.
Western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio fell in love with the wild life of the Wild West while growing up on a horse ranch in the low deserts of California. She focuses on and paints the unpredictable and beautiful moments and stories of life in the wild.
"Horses were my first subject," the Moscow, ID, painter says.
"I grew up around them, and when I was around ten, a Disney artist drew a horse portrait in charcoal for me. I think it took him two minutes or something. That little demo hooked me good!"
While going through art school, Fontecchio worked and volunteered at wildlife sanctuaries and rescue operations, gathering experience as well as reference material for future paintings. She has worked in a variety of mediums – starting with the baling wire and moving on to clay, blown glass, and pottery for her sculpture, and watercolor, pastel, and finally oils for her two dimensional work.
Her paintings reside in the homes of collectors throughout the U.S. – including the CEO of Exxon Mobil – and from England to South America to Australia. One of her works, On the Upper Pecos, was accepted into the prestigious Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition in London, UK.
Through November 16, Fontecchio is showing a selection of her wildlife work at Wenaha Gallery (219 E. Main, Dayton). The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.