Idaho Featured Artist
North Idaho is truly a
those of us who have decided to make our homes here know how
lucky we are. We show our appreciation in many different
ways. Some of us write about
it. Others enjoy outdoor activities. And there are those,
like Brenda Bauer, who create visual imagery of this inspirational land.
When viewing Brenda’s pastels, with
their focus on landscapes and botanicals, it is clear what
moves her. “My art is a physical manifestation of love… a
way to give back what the earth gives to me,” she says.
Brenda grew up in Detroit, where she found her solace in sunrises and
sunsets. While living there, she was always on the lookout
for places with more trees, flowers, and natural beauty.
Then, when she graduated from high school, she made the
decision to move to the Northwest,
and hasn’t looked back since. Brenda
arrived in the area in 1979, bought her
property in Clark Fork two years later, and is still as
captivated by her home’s setting as she was when the wild
huckleberry bushes cinched the deal for her more than
twenty-five years ago.
She speaks with an almost childlike
enthusiasm about her home and the area surrounding it. “Its
my religion I guess, I don’t go to church per say. Instead I
go for a walk in my woods.” In fact, following our
interview, her plan was to go out looking for elk antlers, a
pastime she loves this time of the year. “You have to get
inside the heads of these majestic creatures,” she says.
“When they start to lose their antlers they get really
and go somewhere to be alone.
You have to think, where would I go to hide?” She also has
cougars, grizzlies, and timber wolves visiting her property
from time-to-time, and she is adamant about the fact that she hasn’t even
begun to explore all that this area has to offer.
Brenda’s art is as affected by her lifestyle as it is by her
surroundings. She used to paint with oils, but after
having children she switched to pastels. “With
pastels, I could just drop it and run. And that was
what I needed when looking after my kids. It was
also easier to go back and make changes if I wanted
to,” she told me. She has stayed with pastels ever
since because she “loves the fluidity, and how well
the colors blend”. She uses paper with a tooth
texture for dimension, and can spend hours just
Brenda usually works from photographs she has taken, but often returns to
the site itself to see what strikes her as dynamic
at the scene. She describes her work as bordering
between “realism and impressionism” with a look that
is almost photographic, but with colors that
are put together and hyped up to create an
Though she has not had any formal
training, Brenda insists that she has been an artist
her whole life. “Art was always a place I could go
to feel good. To be at peace.”
She also works fulltime to supplement her income, doing everything from
landscaping… to construction… to finishing work. Her
home is also a constant work in progress. She was
excited about the electricity and wider road that were new
additions. With all of this, and raising her
son, Brenda is hard pressed to
find the time to pursue her art as much as she would like.
Still, she remains constantly inspired by this beautiful area that she is
so immersed in. “Through my art I find a greater
appreciation for the earth surrounding us. It is our
home. And, it is one thing that connects us all.”