Theodore Waddell

What do you do with a man that loves to ranch and run cattle and ran cattle for 25 years. So on one hand you have this and on another he taught fine art as a professor at the University of Montana.

Well…when you combine them and now have glorious pictures of horses and cattle.

That to me is a dichotomy of itself. When I think of painters, I think of quiet souls living out somewhere in a cabin by a rippling, babbling stream. Moved to tears from the sun rising, briskly trailing their fingers over lavender as they walk in the setting golden sun.

Not riding on horseback down a dusty canyon at the fastest your horse can fly only to leap through the air and throw a big ole rope around a heifer neck, with your hat flying in the wind and you landing and I mean landing hard on the ground to wrestle this 900 hundred pound steed and rope those legs in 5 seconds flat. Dust flying so thick you can’t even see the darn thing in front of you. After you wipe the dust around your eyes off, gather your hat, swing back on your horse and whistle down the dusty road back to your art gallery?

Like I said a Dichotomy.

Waddell says “In every story there is a grain of truth if you can find it” I love that. Really I do, because in all its basicness it kind of sums up who he is. I love this guy, I do. I don’t know how you don’t fall in love with artist that you represent. Their quirky stories, their lives lived in tragedy or clean honest living like Waddell. Everyone has a story and his is-the first encounter with a horse…well, it was actually standing on his foot at five. If he only knew at five what we know now that he would grow up and become this magnificent painter.

This magnificent painter… that uses about a hundred lbs. of paint on most of his paintings. He actually goes to the Pacific coast and buys his paint in gallons. He was asked by a gallery to go to Africa and paint the animals there. So his first stop… was to his buy paint by the gallon at his ‘buy paint by the gallon’ store. Ship it to Africa- only to find that it arrived when he was stepping off the plane back in Montana.

My question to you and something I would like to challenge you on is this-Have you looked at one of his paintings? I mean gone in a gallery and examined one. I have to tell you they are amazing and they are to be examined; because what you will find is a multitude of color in every tiny inch of a whole painting. He is a wizard with soft colors- that is, everyone except green.


A Rancher out living in the beautiful countryside of Montana, green is everywhere. But, green challenged him. He has spent his whole life trying to understand the color green.

Go figure.

Although now, I would like to inform you that several of his paintings have come by me with my mouth dropping to the ground because why? Because I see green, ever so softly, not screaming off the canvas, just subtly present. Beautiful in its color variations, softly masked behind a color he is ‘comfortable’.

Happy Trails,

Mia Valley