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Katherine Settle Ruland

My brand of painting style was heavily influenced in college under the direction of a master watercolorist, teaching me how to achieve the details and colors that I love. While working towards my degree in art education, I spent a lot of time in art history classes, and while I adore aspects about several art movements, none seemed to have captured my attention as much as Art Nouveau. A time period that sometimes does not even get its own page in the art history texts. I fell hopelessly in awe with the work of Alphonse Mucha. Muchas’ flowing lines, details, flowers and beautiful women and their fantastic costumes have forever captivated my imagination.

Bar HL is a brand, it is not just a tool used to indicate ownership of livestock but as an only and adopted child it has grounded me and given me direction in my life. Living in Rural Southeastern Montana, I am surrounded by ranching and brands. Bar HL is now my brand, it carries a journey and a history within its lines, something that I am connected to, and can creatively influence its future, as someday it will belong to my daughter. A brand for me is not just a hot iron on a hide; it is also about brands of boots, clothing, tools, paper, brushes, breeds of horses, kinds of flowers and so many other things that I am interested in.

My ideas for what I create are as colorful as my interests. Many of my works include boots, boots of every size and color. As a teen in the 90’s colored jeans and boots were in, one could say that it looked like a rainbow exploded in my closet. That love of colorful western fashion spilled over into my passion for rodeo queen pageants, where not only did colorful clothes and boots come into play but they were incrusted with sequins and rhinestones. The queen world if full of feminine color, smart cowgirls, and amazing intricate details. Not only have I been involved in the pageantry of the rodeo queen world, but also as a dust or mud covered rodeo contestant, competing in 7 events, and now I’m married to a former saddle bronc rider, not surprisingly I love to paint images from the rodeo, ranching and the western equine world.

In my clay board engravings I like to step away from all the color and concentrate on the amazing world of intricate detail, a medium where every stroke and scratch count, I love the challenge of getting it absolutely right the first time, the challenge of a black and white crisp image that looks as though you can reach out and touch it.

Katherine Settle RulandMy inspirations give my work a feel of “Art Nouveau meets contemporary illustration in the rural American West.” I’m drawn to details and color, so I explore up-close and personal the little things that connect eras divided by decades. My Bar HL brand is a symbol that ties me to my family, heritage, and the livestock that wear it, the land that they graze. As the adopted kid that never felt like she belonged, to a woman who now knows that family is those who love you, a brand can be so many different things. But for now it’s my icon of the American West I wish to preserve for future generations, and share with those whom may never directly walk a mile in my colorful boots.

Kate Settle Ruland – PO Box 294 – Broadus MT 59317 – www.ksettleruland.com – barhlstudio@gmail.com

Artwork by Don Weller

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Artwork by Don Weller

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