“Let ‘er Buck!” by Monte Moore, 2019, acrylic. Painted under Rod Lawrence’s supervision at the 2019 SKB Artist Rendezvous & Workshop

by Bob Bahr

“The difference between a manticore and a lion is that the manticore has wings.”

So goes a conversation with Monte Moore, a newcomer to SKB with deep roots to SKB instructors. Moore specializes in “comics, gaming, pin-up and entertainment illustration,” which means when you visit his website, you will see paintings in various media depicting everything from Marilyn Monroe to demon warriors to, well, manticores. (For the record, a manticore is a mythological creature with the body of a lion, the head of a man, and the tail of a scorpion.)

Moore secured the prestigious cover of the program for the Arizona Fine Art Expo with this painting, which seems informed by the instruction of Mort Solberg

Moore was at the 2019 SKB Artist Rendezvous & Workshop in Dubois, Wyoming in large part because of longtime SKBer Mort Solberg. Moore attended two workshops with Solberg in Arizona, and he talks about those workshops as being highly influential. “Mort told me, ‘Go to this workshop in Wyoming with multiple instructors.’ So here I am.”

A Moore painting done during a workshop with Mort Solberg

The Colorado artist had also studied with John Seerey-Lester. When he looked over the roster of instructors at SKB, he was intrigued to see Solberg, Seerey-Lester, and Greg Beecham among the teachers. “And when I checked out Rod [Lawrence]’s work as a featured instructor, I said, ‘This is my guy,'” Moore says. Moore spent most of the week upstairs at Headwaters, where Lawrence had set up shop teaching in acrylics.

A Moore painting done during a workshop with Mort Solberg

Moore’s first comment ties in to his goals and hopes going in to the SKB workshop. He reports that he was “wanting to branch out into Western art,” but more to the point, the subject matter is not the most important aspect of his art. “I came wanting to more fully explore layering, substrates, the preparation of panels, and other techniques,” says Moore. “You can learn to paint fur, you can learn to paint a face…a manticore just puts it together. I paint a lot of people but here I am painting a bucking bronco. A rodeo piece has both figures and animals.”

“I believe that too few professional artists keep educating themselves. I’m just adding another branch to the tree,” Moore says. “My other art is what makes my money.” Ω

“The Treasure,” by Monte Moore