Montana, Day 1

We arrived in Bozeman, Montana yesterday afternoon. We were greeted with very cloudy skies, but at least it wasn’t too cold…not yet.

Today we woke up in Missoula, a cool little college town at the north end of the Bitterroot Valley. Our plan was too spend 2 days here painting and photographing the valley, including the long, twisting Bitterroot River. My plan, however, had to be adjusted. The weather has been very cold, wet and windy. Painting was out of the question. However, I did take some pictures of the area. It’ a beautiful Valley, especially in the fall with all of the cottonwoods turning gold. Farms dot the landscape with their historic barns and herds of cattle, along with Whitetail deer, filling the pastures.

Earlier in the day we had the opportunity to meet with artist Brent Cotton at his home/studio in Stevensville. His paintings of Montana, especially those of the Bitterroot Valley, are magical. I hope to have the opportunity to paint with him in the near future.

All in all, our day in the Bitterroot Valley has been good. We’ve had to be patient with the weather and fluid in our plans. Monday holds the same. The weather forecast is calling for very strong winds, rain (snow on the peaks) and cold air. Apparently this kind of weather in early October is unusual. We’ve added an extra day in the Bitterroot Valley with the hope of catching a little bit of sunlight on Tuesday morning before heading to Big Sky, MT.

Oh, and just about everything closes down on Sunday’s. It’s even hard to find a cafe open in the morning for a cup of coffee. Restaurants close early if they open at all. The pace here is slower. At dinner tonight, at one of the very few restaurants to be open, we noticed everyone enjoying their time with friends and family over a meal. Not unusual, Right? None of them had a cell phone in their hand, none of them were checking emails or updating Facebook with a picture of the meal they ordered. Things are different here. Things are good here. We put down our cell phones…for a little while. I’m guessing there are families up and down the valley enjoying their family dinners, talking with one another, connecting. Good lessons are to be had here, I pray I have eyes to see them and ears to hear them.

I hope to be painting soon, until then, here are some shots from the Bitterroot.