Donna Ridgway Artist

This was the website of the self taught fine artist Donna Ridgway, who paints horses, as well as both wild and domesticated animals. This site evolved over the years and is a testament to an artist who remains passionate about her work.
Donna was born into a family who lived on a ranch in the Rocky Mountain Front near Dupuyer, Mt. She has lived her whole life on a ranch, working with animals. As a result they became not only her friends, but also the subjects for many of paintings. Isolation on the ranch made her a self taught artist, resulting in work that is unique. She paints many subjects using inspiration generated by photos she and her husband take.
If you are interested in her work go to her current website at: or
The content below is from this site's 2006-2007 archived pages.

Montana Horse Gallery
Donna Ridgway
4 Flora Lane
Vaughn, Mt. 59487

Art is our memory of love.

The most an artist can do through their work is say, let me show you what I have seen, what I have loved, and perhaps you will see it and love it too. 
(Annie Bevan) *


Welcome to Montana Horse Art Gallery

Equine art by Donna Ridgway

Painting animals and scenery with a generous dash of color and light, Donna Ridgway creates art in her Vaughn, Mt studio. A self taught artist, Donna uses complementary color schemes, coupled with a play of light against dark, to create an element of drama in her work. Coming from a family that homestead  on the Rocky Mountain Front, her ranch life background influences her choice of subjects. Her enthusiasm for her work spurs her on to create many paintings each year.


Freedom. Isn't that what wildlife art is all about? We love to see the wildlife in their natural state. There's a majesty in seeing a bull elk with a huge rack of horns, he's king of the forest! I also enjoy seeing the does, the cow elk, the calves and fawns. I'm fortunate to live in a state where wildlife abounds. I can get photos to work from, and see the actual animals in the wild. Seeing them helps me to portray them with realistic abandon. Start your collection today!

Original Art, "a most treasured gift!"

Soon I shall go to sleep, 
in hopes of seeing him again. His intelligent soft eyes, his elegant head. His soft heart, and his four legs. For my horse is a dream, a dream of the making. ~Lindsay Turcotte

If you'd like to learn more about becoming an artist, I've included Free Art Lessons on this site.

I create ACEO cards. These cards are 2.5X3.5 inches in size. You'll see links to your right to ACEO cards according to their subject matter. There are prints and originals for sale and there are hundreds of images to choose from. Each category link will lead you to many pages of horses, dogs, cats, cows, or wildlife art. Take your time and enjoy them all! Bookmark the site so you can easily return.



Creating Equine Art

The first things you need to know about becoming an equine artist are some basic rules about image use. As an artist you must learn to work using live subjects, capturing your scenes, or using a camera to take your own photos. Your unique way of seeing the world of the horse shines through when you use your own reference materials. Another way to create an image, is to call upon your imagination. Let it flow and see what appears on the canvas or paper.

Artist's also find images, by purchasing the rights to photos or pictures that belong to someone else. It's perfectly acceptable and legal to use images if you purchase rights. You may also ask permission when you find a photo you like, some people will allow you to use their photos for free. Becoming a member of certain organizations and contributing to their member reference libraries gives you the right to use other members reference photos. Two such art related organizations are the Equine Art Guild and Wet Canvas.

There are other sites on the web, where you can recieve help in your quest for learning to paint, these two above, happen to be the two I belong to at this time. At both organizations, you'll have help with any problem that arises. Artists there are happy to assist you with information about supplies, mediums, techniques and encouragement. There's a fee to join the Equine Art Guild, Wet Canvas is free at this time. Both organizations accept you at the skill level with which you paint at this time. You don't have to be famous or skilled to join.

If you choose to paint human subjects with famous horses, be sure to obtain a model release. Images of some people and horses are legally protected against use. It's wise to ask permission before you begin to paint these subjects.

Copyright law might seem complicated. It becomes very simple if you remember this basic rule. Don't copy another person's work. Use your own reference materials! You'll hear from some sources it's permissible to copy a work if you "change it 10%". Don't do it. It isn't legal. Use your own materials! I can't stress this enough. Think of it this way, would you want someone else copying your work? You won't be considered a serious artist, if you don't gather your own sources for your work.

You don't have to own a horse to become a great equine artist. Perhaps you work with horses and have endless ideas coming your way for your art. Many artists I know go to the track, parades, rodeos or other equine events to gather material for creating their paintings. Perhaps you have a friend or neighbor who's willing to allow you to photograph their horses. I like to drive around the countryside taking photos of horses I find along the way. I'm careful not to disturb the horses or try to get close to them, I take the photos from a distance. This method gives me natural looking poses of horses in their environment.

Many factors enter into becoming an equine artist. First and foremost, is the image you create and how you come upon it. In following articles, I'll post lessons, with examples, on how to draw and paint horses.


Inspired: I came across this website while doing some random search, perhaps it was for artists who paint animals. I enjoyed reading about Donna Ridgway and her posts about her approach to painting horses. I knew I was never going to take paint brush in hand to paint anything other than the walls of our house. However, she got me thinking about how I could approach creating "paintings" of my animals, 1 dog and three cats. Using my camera and photoshop I started experimenting. I loved Donna Ridgway's Soulful Black Lab that she has monetized on I started combining photographs of textures with a pic of my dog, Harriet on her favorite round pillow dog bed that I bought at a great online store called GoodNightDog. They only sell round dog beds, but they come in 3 sizes in really wonderful looking designer fabrics that you would normally find on upscale furniture or drapes. People who visit often mistake my animals' dog beds (Yup I bought a mid size dog bed for the cats, although all fuzzies often end up snoozing on Harriet's dog bed) for floor pillows and flop down on them. Anyway, the final art work of Harriet in her bed I have titled: the dog sleeps. I am rather proud of the finished image and am going to have it framed. Now on to capturing my cats.

Thank you, Donna Ridgway, for the inspiration.





Shows for 2007

On Feb 2nd, Robert and I are First Friday artists at Studio 706 Artist Guild in Great Falls, Mt.

We'll be exhibiting at the Charlie Russell art show in Great Falls, in March with Studio 706 at the High Plains Heritage Museum.

I'll have two paintings in the Equine Art Guild show, The Artist's Muse. In this online show, the members of the guild are painting horses that have had special meaning in their lives. I've painted my horse Class. She's a retired thoroughbred race horse named Crescent Lass, but we call her Class for short. She's gorgeous.

In April, Robert and I will be exhibiting at a gun show in Great Falls, Mt.

I was invited to exhibit 3 paintings at the History Museum in Great Falls, for their April show. The museum director chose, Here I Come, Girls' Night Out, and Her Ears are Up, to be included in the show.

Will be exhibiting in CAG member show, Dogs just want to have fun, WWAO member show, "Summer" theme, and Reflections, EAG member show. All in 2007.

Robert participated in the Lewstown,Mt, cowboy poetry gathering, Aug, 2007. We'll be at the Chokecherry Festival there September 8th.



Impressions of the horse, by DAW


My horse Jack, and I.

Me with Jack, a horse I used to own.

Me with my horse Class.

Me with Class!

Me 4 wheeling in the snow.

Winter is my favorite time of year to go out on a four wheeler. I love being in the woods alone in the snow and the trees. There's nothing like the peacefulness of it. Of course you need to wear a lot of clothes so you can stay out all day! I also carry anything I might need in case I end up spending the night out there. I was near Philipsburg when this photo was taken by a friend of mine.

The links to your left will take you to my own personal website, my blog, and my photos.

This is a page about me. Not very exciting stuff! But artists do these pages anyway. If you're at all curious about me, you can find out some things here. :) I was born and raised in Montana, lived here all my life. I've traveled the entire United States, driving semi, and I still like Montana best.

Robert and I joined our families so we have several kids and grandkids. The horse I own now is Class. She's a registered thoroughbred mare. She used to win races in Washington state. I live in Vaughn, Montana.

If you're interested in seeing my art, and you're in my area, give me a call and come by the studio. The coffee pot is always handy and I love company. You have to take my studio as you find it, I'm to busy painting to clean it every day!

I've been in some juried shows, The Equine Art Guild International Show for two or three years in a row, where one of my paintings won a first place award. The Western States Horse Expo, for two years. I've had a one woman show in St Luke's Hospital in Ronan, Mt.

Exhibited at the Charlie Russell with Studio 706, 2006 in the Heritage Museum. Will do so again in 2007.

I was featured artist on the Creative Spotlight newsletter, 2006. Accepted into the Newton Fine Arts Small and Miniature show, Newton, Kansas, 2006. In the Newton show, one of my paintings won a second place award.

Two of my paintings were used by the CAPS art auction in their advertising for the October 2006 fundraiser. Even though my art is not yet on the auction page, I did send several pieces there. The Good Bay Mare, and red, white and Blue were in the advertising.

Exhibiting in the Equine Art Guild online show, Interpretations, in October, 2006.

Juried into World Wide Women Artists Online, 2006. Joined EBSQ, a group of self representing artists online.

I feel this way about my art, it can be included in awards and shows and I'm glad. But what really matters to me, is to have my work speak to your heart. When you look into the eyes of a beautiful horse, and see into their soul, I'm pleased. If you see a horse in a pasture in a relaxed, easy pose, and you can imagine the of feel the sun on your own back, I'm happy. If you share a love of animals and through my art, you feel their presence, I'm happy.


Wildlife Paintings


Peekaboo Bear, original watercolor, wildlife painting of a bear, by DAW
Peekaboo Bear
Original Wildlife Art<

Original Oil Painting, Hoover,nature painting of a sparrow,by DAW
Hoover, A Sparrow
Original Wildlife Art
Oil Painting, 12X16.

Original Oil Painting, wildlife art, Chipmunk, by DAW
Original Wildlife Art
Oil Painting, 8X10

Horse art ACEO art card, Whitetail Buck, by DAW
Wildlife ACEO Paintings,
Original watercolor<

ACEO Horse art card, Winter Pasture, by DAW
ACEO Wildlife Paintings,
Original Watercolor

ACEO Art Card, Digger, by DAW
Wildlife ACEO Painting, Original Watercolor,