Free spirit

17

Dear Artist,

Growing up hunting and trapping in rural Texas, Wyman Meinzer believes he’s covered every foot of the Badlands. “In August in this region, Texas is a virtual hellhole,” he says. “And I’ve seen some cold weather… as cold as it gets in this country and my dad telling us to go saddle up our horses and the winds out of the north are 30 miles an hour and it’s 15 degrees and I was thinking, ‘My God. Not today, please.’”

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During his early twenties, Wyman would spend four months of winter living in a trapper’s cabin, hunting all day and skinning the animals in the evening. He kept meticulous records, measuring his kills from nose to tail, aging them by their teeth and making a fingerprint in their blood next to an entry in his diary. “I was raised as a cowboy. It’s a tough life. I lived and breathed the outdoors,” he says. He’d also make notes about his observations in the field. “From that I felt I could learn and study the natural history of the animal. It was part of me, it’s what fed my soul at the time.”

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“In order to be a good predator hunter is to shoot quick and shoot accurately,” says Wyman. At 26, he picked up a camera. He’d noticed that when he left the trapping cabin and climbed out of the canyon in the mornings, the light would be skimming the ridges while the canyon stayed frosty and white. “The contrast, it just fascinated me, which was a telling prelude of what was to come.” Wyman began collecting rejection slips to his photo submissions. “It was an inspiration to me,” he said. “They pissed me off first. I made up my mind: I’m gonna make myself be good enough to be published. They’re gonna want my images some day.”

Sincerely,

Sara

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PS: “Whenever I go into the field and take a camera and I call a coyote in within 15 or 20 yards and I get a great image, I get that same elation. But yet he lives another day and I love to hear them howl at night and he’ll be one of them.” (Wyman Meinzer)

Esoterica: After four years of rejections, in 1979 Wyman Meinzer’s photographs were published in National Wildlife Magazine and Texas Parks and Wildlife, almost simultaneously. Over the next decade, he would become one of the biggest cover shooters in America. In 1997, he was designated the official state photographer of Texas. “I appreciate more now going out and photographing an animal instead of shooting,” says Wyman. “It’s that progression, that evolution that we all see in life, going from a to z. And you need to be at z at my point in life. You need to be at z.”

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Sara Genn: New Paintings runs until November 2, 2018 at Voltz Clarke Gallery, 141 East 62nd Street, New York City. If you’re in the neighbourhood, we would love to see you there.
https://voltzclarke.com/exhibitions/sara-genn-exhibition/

“I’ve been able to maintain this life of independence and freedom because it was instilled in me a long time ago. I think out of sheer hardheadedness and willingness to endure and maintain the lifestyle that I’ve known has kept me as kind of a free spirit.” (Wyman Meinzer)

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17 Comments

  1. I am happy that he evolved from killer to admirer and documenter of animals. Stories like this are inspiring and give hope. He has shown great perseverance and belief in his art.

  2. Collecting rejections, an inspirational thing? After a few of those myself early in my career, I developed an “I’ll show you!” attitude. I began to collect pretty ribbons instead. First place smiles back in blue, but red and white also feel pretty inspirational. Now I really want to go paint again!

  3. Just came in off the sea, 3 hours watching the castles in the air switch sides and colour and the glide of every gull, swallow and goose. And after having my jaw dropped, this post leaves my gob smacked. WOO HOO!

  4. Evolution. Yes. One hopes humanity in general is evolving toward z. I’m not there yet. At least I know what he is talking about. Thank you Sara. Love your eclectic interests.

  5. Very familiar with Wyman ‘s work. He is a great artist with a camera. I am 73 and have hunted all my life, but a few years ago I also picked up a camera and thoroughly enjoy it. But I still like to shoot one deer a year for the venison. I too have reached the Z.

    • Me too Mike except I don’t hunt anymore. I’m a year younger than you and I sold all my land and I don’t get around too well now. I paint and draw but still keep an old camera loaded with Tri-X handy.

  6. In the 1980s I was doing freelance photography and Texas Parks & Wildlife was a publication I worked for regularly. I met Wyman on several assignments. I always wished I could apply myself to photography like he did. He lived in a restored old jail in a tiny town in big ranch country. He was a nice guy, a really nice guy. I haven’t seen him in too many years.

  7. Fascinating! Of course it would be to me because I’m a wild west nut as well as a writer and artist. Thank you for this.

    Jo, Hampshire UK

    Creating My Odyssey – Liberating the Real Me After Thirty Years Of Depression and Anxiety
    www jo-b-creative.blogspot.co.uk
    http://www.kitty-le-roy.co.uk (Kitty Le Roy’s Wild West)
    Facebook Kitty Le Roy’s Wild West Saloon

  8. Thank you all for such nice comments, and my thanks to Yeti for bringing my story to so many. My goal is to inspire others to step out and celebrate life.

    Wishing everyone a great autumn season!

    • MaryAnn B Evangelista on

      Thank you for your creativity and this inspiring peek into your life’s path! I read one of the posts here about you that the person said….”OH, if we could only see what he sees in his mind” I wish people could come to realize that they surely must have visions that we wish we could see into their mind’s eye. I have not seen much of our work sir….but I want to. I can see every place I have ever been……you can too – I am sure of this. My father was a hunter, as were my three brothers. I always loved to hear their stories and I helped them with the harvesting of the meat they would bring home. Mother and I use to pluck the birds feathers and use them to make a feather quilts. Nothing went to waste in our family. However, that was a long time ago now. I have never seen where you have spent so much time in your life…but I am anxious to see your photography and learn more. Although I live on the East Coast now, my heart is with the mountains back home in the Northwest and in the Puget Sound. Dad and I fished a lot in his little boat within the islands. I didn’t have a camera when I was growing up, but I can still see the pods of the Black Fish (which I found out later were Orcas) as they would be swimming down from the Arctic waters. I can hear their whistles and see them breech in my minds eye. and the Dolphins would swim along side of our boat and the flying fish would scoot across the bow at incredible speeds. I always wondered what the hurry was and where they were going. Once a massive Orca came along side our little boat and rolled over and looked me straight in my eyes. We must have stayed like that for the longest time…him gliding alongside us. I can still see this glorious animal … He or she was so beautiful and so still. All I have to do is close my eyes and I am there. I believe that you can do that. Thank you for sharing your story Sir. People need to hear and see the beauty of a life like yours. I know it wasn’t easy…but it is remarkable! Thank you again for sharing. Truly beautiful and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have read it this morning! Perhaps it is time for me to paint those pictures I see in my mind’s eye. That’s a good idea…I think I will. If I can’t live in the mountains or close to Puget sound for now…at least I can paint them. You have a good Autumn also!

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Featured Workshop

Watercolor Painting Holiday Workshop – Lucca Italy, with international, award-winning artist Amanda Brett
May 12, 2019 to May 18, 2019

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Come and paint with me in Lucca, Italy, May 2019!!

My painting holiday workshops are all about the fun of painting in a supportive group environment and is suitable for all levels. Mostly, we’ll be painting en plein air (a nice quiet locale in which to play with our paints!) and enjoying the fresh air. I know Lucca like the back of my hand and will take you to some of my favourites spots!! Each day will start with a short theory session, with an emphasis on quick value sketching then a demonstration of the day’s painting subject out on location. We will also explore subject selection and strategies to tackle complex subjects. After a lunch break, I will let you loose to paint and then come and help each student in turn throughout the afternoon.
After a well-deserved siesta, we’ll meet up for aperitivi and on to dinner; Lucca’s favourite dining spots will be waiting for us with a special menu just for us!

Tuition, meals, luxury en suite B&B accommodation, on-ground transfers and excursions are all included!!

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Featured Artist

I’m a contemporary painter who loves to travel the world over finding pictures to paint, and capture on photo…check out my website and travel with me on my blog “The Traveling Artist Blog.”  http://www.meljosieart.com
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