Bill Sawczuk

Years ago when my wife, Joyce, was working for the Jackson Hole Historical Society, Jack Huyler was writing his first book about the good old days in Jackson Hole. We were invited to a potluck at the Rocking H and Jack read excerpts from his book around the campfire. I had a chance to look into the barn and thus look back into time. Hundreds of horse show ribbons are hanging from the ceiling in the aisle between the horse stalls. The ribbons are now faded and tattered and most of them are many years old; each one with a story of a horse show long ago.

The painting session was my second opportunity to paint the barn and I chose the opposite angle which gives a different perspective on the size of the barn. The barn has been well maintained over the years, so it shows its age well. You can’t help but to think back to the heyday of the Rocking H and its predecessor, the Bearpaw ranch. What a life those dudes of long ago had! Now the ranch and buildings are preserved with a Land Trust conservation easement, and its history will continue.

I set up my easel near the barn and three horses that have the run of the place were pretty interested in what I was doing, so they periodically would come over to me, visit, and check my progress. I believe that they were pleased since they didn’t give me the horse laugh. Three feet over from me, a hole in a cottonwood contained a flicker’s nest. The mother was in the process of an afternoon feeding of the little ones and she was hesitating to go into the nest the first time. She saw, however, that I was pretty harmless and soon she was used to my presence and proceeded to bring big, juicy bugs every few minutes. She kept this up for the three hours of my painting……….whew!!!!

The painting turned out well, and with a few additions in the studio, it should be a nice piece representing Jackson history and a real Land Trust gem.

-Bill Sawczuk