The Paintings of Liberty Proffit Day
by Shannon Berteau
To see more of the artwork of Liberty Proffit Day, please visit www.libertyproffitday.com
The artist Liberty Proffit Day grew up on her family’s ranch in Western Wyoming, riding on outfits across Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming. She is one of five girls with one brother. Her father taught them all to ride, gave them ropes, and took them out to work with him, teaching them the skills required to work and live on a ranch.
Her paintings aren’t the more traditional, romantic, panoramic vistas of life in the west but rather true portraits of people she knows, taken from moments in everyday life. Her main goal with her art is the preservation of the ranching lifestyle and culture and she contributes to that not just with her painting but her daily life as well. She can be found just as often riding out to help neighbors with branding and other tasks on their ranch as in front of a painting. When she paints she starts out with a detailed pencil sketch and then plans out the colors and highlights beforehand. A painting can take anywhere from six hours to three weeks to complete.
She has often been criticized for keeping her prices for portraits low but she intends to keep her work affordable. People send her photos asking for portraits and she realizes it is unique today to have a painting of someone you know. With this in mind she says she doesn’t want to be at a price point out of range of regular people. “If I’m pricing out of the range of people who I’m painting, then I don’t want to paint anymore.”
“If you’re outside of the culture, you don’t really know what it is like,” says Day. Hopefully her watercolors can lend to all a taste of the beauty those who live a life in agriculture get to experience every day. Her favorite part of painting is “to celebrate a way of life and people who are hardworking, sticking to a way of life that may not be rewarding financially, but is rewarding in every other way.”