Windi Scott and her pa r tne r, Lanc e Arn-ell, moved to a ranch in the May-erthorpe, Alberta area in 2007. It’s a long way from Manitoba where Scott grew up, and although she lived in the city she spent as much time as possible on her grandparents’ farm. She loved to ride horses and she loved to draw and both of these passions would become a huge part of her future.
Scott’s first career was in music. Between the ages of 18 and 30, as a singer, she spent a great deal of her time on the road, but she still continued to develop her skill in working with horses whenever she was at home. Scott developed her artistic talent by drawing, painting and doing sketches when she was on the road and had a break from singing or rehearsing.
It was in 1979 while performing at the Banff Park Lodge, that she decided to move to Alberta where she stayed. After her children Bonar and Genesee were born, she turned to art as her main career.
When she heard that the Town of Stony Plain was commissioning artists to do wall murals on buildings around town, Scott sent some photos of her work and was chosen as one of the artists. Since then she has done many wall murals on buildings, in hospitals and schools and in people’s homes. Some of her largest projects have been a 116-foot-long mural in Selmac Sales in Stony Plain and a 1,552-square-foot one on the Vegreville Rec Centre that used 52 sheets of 4×8-foot plywood. Her latest mural was one done in December 2009 in Fort McMurray at the McDonald Island recreational facility.
Painting a wall mural is a huge undertaking and Scott says, “Most artists don’t work freehand on that scale.” First, after being given the concept the customer wants, Scott does a written description and a thumbnail (rough) sketch. She then does a maquette, which is an actual working representation of what the final product will be. From that, Scott makes transparencies which are projected onto the surface on which she will paint.
As a commercial commission artist, Scott works in many mediums and has done murals, portraits, scenery and wildlife, signs and promotional material. Although she enjoys doing all types of art, she especially loves doing pencil drawings and portraits. Scott also teaches art and during an eight-year commitment at The Paint Palette in Stony Plain, she taught in acrylics, oils and pencil.
To Scott it is both challenging and rewarding to produce art that is meaningful to people. Customers often bring her black and white photos of grandparents and other family members and want a colour portrait. Sometimes she’s asked to take people from more than one photo and put them together in a painting. Also popular are paintings of old houses, farm buildings and places that remind people of where they grew up. Promoting the idea of decorating using art that reflects your life is a passion of Scott’s. She likes to encourage people to consider original art instead of decorating with prints that you may see in someone else’s home.
Although Scott enjoys doing murals, her desire now is to be able to work from home not only on her art but in training horses and hosting people at Great Weekend Horse Experience vacations. Windi Scott and Lance Arnell are working hard to have their ranch, Sawhorse Ranch, fully functional and ready to accept guests by June, 2010. More information on Sawhorse Ranch is available by visiting [email protected]
Music is also still a big part of Scott’s life, and her and Lance have formed the band The Paddle River Pickers. Although they are sometimes joined by other musical friends, often it is just Windi and Lance with their stringed instruments and vocals. Their specialty is bluegrass and western which they perform at seniors’ homes and at community functions.
The days are full and Scott is happy when she has the time to play the fiddle, paint and ride.
Dorothy Mack writes from Lone Pine, Alberta