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Tucker Smith - The Challenger -  ANNIVERSARY EDITION CANVAS Published by the Greenwich Workshop


          The Challenger
by Tucker Smith

$595.00

ANNIVERSARY EDITION CANVAS
Limited Edition of: 75
Image Size: 36"w x 18"h.
Published: August 2015







Those who love steam engines are no doubt familiar with the Challenger, the fastest freight locomotive of the Union Pacific fleet in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Challenger, based on the design for a successful freight engine, was the largest, heaviest and most powerful articulated passenger locomotive ever built. The powerful engine and 67-inch-diameter driving wheels enabled it to both negotiate the steep grades of the passes through the Rocky Mountains and achieve speeds necessary for express passenger service.

Artist Tucker Smith set the painting at the top of Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming, at an elevation of about 8000 feet. In the background are the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. At the left of the painting, the yellow scheme the Union Pacific used for its passenger cars during the 1950s can be seen.

“I like to paint steam locomotives, in part, because I view myself as an animal painter,” says Tucker Smith. Continuing, he explains that paradox. “There’s something almost alive about a steam engine. It breathes steam and you can watch all the moving parts on the outside of the engine―even the steam pipes, valves and pumps. That’s what is magical to me about a steam engine. It seems to have a life all its own. As I was working on it,” Smith says, “I was thinking ‘speed’ and ‘movement.’ I wasn’t trying to think of it as a photograph. I was trying to put myself there. I was wondering how it would feel if you actually stood there as the train went by. That was more important to me than getting every detail. You can see every nut and bolt only when the locomotive is motionless, not when it’s racing by you.”




Tucker Smith
“Painting is ninety percent work,” says Tucker Smith. “The rest is talent, but talent isn’t something you’re simply born with. Talent requires a great deal of perseverance.” Smith is well known for his painstaking approach to art. He does research, paints on location, and labors at his easel until he feels the work is exactly right. “I suppose I’m a perfectionist,” he says, and then adds with his customary modesty, “but it turns out all right in the end, I guess.” Smith was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. As he grew up there, he developed an interest in drawing, but he didn’t think it was possible to make a living as an artist. It wasn’t until he attended the University of Wyoming that he seriously started to consider a fine art career. Even so, he worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst for ten years before making the courageous decision to become a full-time artist. Today Tucker Smith’s art is part of the permanent collections of such respected galleries as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma and the American West Art Museum in Wyoming. Smith is a member of the National Academy of Western Art and is the recipient of many major art awards, including the prestigious Prix de West. Smith lives with his wife, Jean, on a small ranch in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. There they have raised two sons and many quarter horses. The boys are grown now and out on their own, and there are only a few riding horses left in the stable, but the Smiths still live a picturesque life that is well suited to Tucker’s reputation as one of the country’s finest artists of the West.

 

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