Artist Barbara Ann Ramsey says she lives the life she creates in her art. Her Western and wildlife art will be featured in the Main Event Gallery’s April exhibit, “Art of The West,” along with the scrimshaw skull carvings of guest artist Felix Tapia.
Gallery members’ art will complete the exhibit, which will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Red Bluff Round-Up. The exhibit runs Thursday, April 1 through Saturday, April 24.
Ramsey spent her formative years growing up in the ranching country in Northern California. It’s her horse and ranching background that has given her insight into the subjects she portrays with great life-like accuracy, working with pencils, colored pencils and oils.
“I recreate images from my lifestyle that can make you feel like you’re seeing them yourself for the first time,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey’s passion for art and drawing animals was evident early in her life. She was always in trouble from the time she could pick up a pencil because she was drawing horses in class instead of doing her lessons.
“I always had to draw and paint,” Ramsey said. “In high school art classes I got straight A’s I hated it when I had to leave. I took a few basic art classes at the junior college but I didn’t like it because they wanted you to draw still life. All I want to do was draw horses and cows and wildlife.”
There was another artist in her family, her grandfather Bovee, who was a photographer for Eastman Studios. He would travel to all the small towns in the area taking photos. Many local historical collections have photos taken by him, which can be identified by the initial “B” after Eastman Studios.
Ramsey used to work on friends’ large ranches in Nevada, moving cattle and other chores.
“I was always drawn to the Buckaroo cowboy lifestyle,” Ramsey said. “And basically all of Northern California, parts of Oregon, Idaho and especially Nevada are considered Buckaroo country. Most people don’t know that the Buckaroo cowboy is different from the Texas cowboy. Buckaroos are considered descendants of the Vaquero cowboys in California, known for their leather hand-braided gear and silver for horses.”
Ramsey’s first large opportunity was the honor of having her Western art accepted into the prestigious Western Art Round-Up In Winnemucca, Nevada. All entries had to be correctly done Buckaroo style.
Having spent the last 40 years as a professional artist, Ramsey has participated in many juried shows, winning several top awards. She has had her artwork featured in several publications. She taught art classes at the Paradise Arts Center and has given workshops in Red Bluff.
For 40 years Ramsey collected all kinds of reference materials for her paintings including a collection Red Bluff Roundup photos that she had taken herself.
“I had years of the Red Bluff Round-Up because I was able to get a press pass to go back beside the chutes to take photographs of the action,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey lost her home, paintings and all her reference materials in the Camp Fire.
“We got out alive. My house was on fire when we left,” she said. “I grabbed a couple nice bridles with silver and a handmade rope on my way out the door. It took us five hours to drive down the hill through the flames, but we made it.”
When asked about her recovery from her loss, Ramsey said her art has played a major role.
“Art has saved my life, especially after the fire, the first thing I did when I got to my new home was to set up my art studio and do a painting and it was a Godsend because I was just feeling lost because of everything in my life that was gone,” she said. “But you have to stay positive and keep going. The art in my life has been a great journey.”
Guest artist Felix Tapia’s scrimshaw carvings and painted etchings are unique. He utilizes animal skulls his friends find and give him or would like to have carved. He likes the Southwest look of the intricate carvings and it inspires him.
“It’s like bringing the skulls a new life,” Tapia said.
Sponsored by the Tehama County arts Council, the exhibit can be viewed at 710 Main St., Red Bluff, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Public health guidelines are in place. For more information, go to www.tehama arts.org.