My interests in the world around me are diverse and so is the body of artworks I've created. I paint  landscapes, wildlife, domestics (cats, dogs, horses, cows, people). 

I enjoy working in several different media and processes and have never considered any to be my primary. I firmly believe drawing is vital in all media/processes so you might say drawing is the foundation of my art. 

I have no "favorite" size in which to work. My largest work , an outdoor theater backdrop, measures approximately 50 feet high by 120 feet wide. My smallest works are in the miniature category, measuring about 2 by 2 inches or less. Often the size of a completed work is per request of the client. Or it might simply be whatever size canvas, paper, wood panel or printing block I have access to in the studio. 

The landscapes I paint or create in other media are based on my observations of the central high plains of Montana where I live. Expansive prairie, several island mountain ranges and river environments (most notably the Missouri River Breaks Monument area) coupled with the spectrum influences of sky and seasons all provide motivating inspiration.

My paintings are collectively titled:"Latent Images -- Landscapes Remembered."  While recognizeable as particular locations, the paintings are not photographic renditions. Rather, they are the manifestation of the "latent image" as it is retained in and recalled from memory. Working this way evolved from pondering what becomes "real" to each person over time and how memory transforms physical reality. I coined the phrase "selective realism" to classify my paintings.

To create a painting, I may refer to loose drawings made on-site but more often I paint only from the latent image in my memory. Each painting begins with a small pencil or charcoal drawing that explores the composition in a pattern of lights and darks. Once an initial composition is discovered I begin painting, starting with gestural brush marks that are distinctly linear. Layers of linear marks build an interesting surface which influences the painting outcome.

I don't use a drier additive to oil paints as there is a risk of compromising the paint film. Sometimes I add small quantities of beeswax as I like the textural and refractive qualities it imparts. Otherwise, it is purely oil paint (or acrylic, or whatever medium/process I chose to use.)

My interest in art began in childhood. 
Largely self-taught early on, I eventually used my GI Bill education benefit  for college, graduating suma cum laud with major in history (no art major was offered during the four-year period I was a student at the (then) College of Great Falls (in Montana.) CGF discontinued their art major the year I began my degree pursuit and then offered again the year after I graduated. So there is some truth in the saying "timing is everything."  

A few years later I was able to take almost two years of art studies at the (then) Alberta College of Art (ACA) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Students were required to declare a focus of study; I declared drawing. I spent almost two years there-- the second year was cut short by Desert Storm that necessitated my return to the states. Ah, it's that "timing is everything" at work again. Financially I was not able to return to Canada to complete what would have been a four-year program at ACA. 

However, "timing" didn't take away the terrific instructors I studied under in the time I had at ACA. All were practicing artists, which made ACA a far more enriching environment than CGF and the University of Montana combined. Of special note was Richard Halliday, ACA instructor/artist and Department Head of Drawing. Halliday, along with others, gave me valuable insight to my art and process. In that respect, timing was everything.

Fast forward nearly two decades (during which time I made art as time allowed while employed in a variety of art and non-art related positions.) The Heart Butte School District (on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana) hired me in the full-time K-12 position. I spent four years there and immensely enjoyed working with the students and colleages and staff.

And now, as "timing" would have it, it is time again to focus on my own art. I've returned to my studio in Lewistown, Montana. I sense that what lies ahead is good art-making. It's all about "timing" but even more it is what one makes of their time.

     Original Art for Home & Office

C. S. Poppenga
"A constantly changing landscape is challenging to paint, 
        but I find the ultimate challenge is creating art that stirs the memory  
                and remains visually engaging over time." 
Link to a brief article about Richard Halliday
Mr. Halliday passed away in 2011, age 72.