Artist Gives Illustrated Talk To Benefit Ranch For Disabled Children

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William Ahrendt, a nationally known artist who resides in Pine, will give an illustrated talk on his practice as a painter of American subjects as a benefit for Whispering Hope Ranch.

Children with serious disabilities come to the ranch to interact with animals that people neglected, abused or gave-up-on before they found a loving home in the sheltering ponderosa forest east of Payson.

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Anna communicates with Magic Maggie. The Clydesdale is a recent addition at Whispering Hope Ranch.

For example, the ranch opened its gates this past summer so kidney dialysis patients from Phoenix Children's Hospital could enjoy a camp experience with peers who face the same medical challenges.

"Who else is doing the unbelievable work they accomplish at the ranch. It takes vision, tenacity and support to make it happen," Ahrendt said.

Ahrendt is a representational painter who mixes his own oil paints.

His artistic skill combined with diligent research into the lives of his subjects, their place in history, and the landscape that surrounded them infuses each brush stroke.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, mountain men, soldiers and famous Native American chiefs and warriors and their interaction are the subjects of his paintings.

"Mountain Man" is Ahrendt's painting of John Colter.

Colter was a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. When Lewis and Clark excused him from his Army duties, he became a trapper in the mountains of Wyoming.

After 1840, the fur trade fell off. Trappers became the guides that led pioneers through the mountains.

"Pioneers needed protection so the Army followed. The military needed supplies so the railroads followed. Wherever Western Americans crossed paths with Native Americans there was drama. These moments in American history are interesting to art collectors," Ahrendt said.

He will present a slide show of paintings produced in his Pine studio at the WHR benefit.

The Old Masters

Renaissance masters, Raphael, Michelangelo, DaVinci and Titian, and Baroque masters Reubens and Van Dyck are cultural heroes to Ahrendt.

He will talk about how the Masters' techniques differ from and, how they remain the same in the 21st century.

"It makes no difference how old the paintings are, the public responds to things they can understand when they look at them. That's why people flock to museums," Ahrendt said.

He sees abstract art as something interior designers use to add elegance to a room.

"I feel the public has been short-changed to a large degree because of abstract art," he said.

Audience members will have the chance to ask Ahrendt questions concerning the world of fine art and collecting after his presentation and he looks forward to answering them.

The presentation is at Chaparral Pines, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10.

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