Hover over 'Paintings' above to go to Paintings by years
Ancestors, Bill Ohrmann, 30x40, oil, 2000
Bill Ohrmann garnered notice for his paintings with the body of work that he started in 1996. However, from his childhood days he dabbled in paint, both watercolor and oil, and some pen and ink sketches. These early works were primarily ‘Western and Wildlife’ as far as subject matter. Scenes of wolves hunting buffalo or gentle depictions of elk on a hillside showed his love of wildlife. Western themes included buffalo hunters, Native Americans, and Lewis and Clark. As the years went by, his artistic skill improved, and his use of color matured. Occasionally he would produce a somewhat abstract piece, but generally the paintings were fully representational.
In 1995, at the age of 76, a series of events came about that were influential to Bill’s artistic career. A life time of ranching was enough and he was ready to retire. After wrestling heavy cottonwood blocks for thirty years for his wood sculptures, he had done all the wood carvings he wanted to and was tired of the physical work involved. And, not having to deal with an often conservative ranch community anymore, he felt freed to express his contrary views with his art. With these factors in play, Bill switched to painting to satisfy his muse. At about this time, a friend, William Ukranitz, gave Bill a book on Van Gogh. Although he had never cared for impressionist painting, reading about Van Gogh changed his way of thinking, and his style of painting took a major shift.
As you scroll thru the paintings, you can see Bill was not afraid to tackle some sensitive subjects. A collection of his paintings on a state wide MAC sponsored tour in 1999 and 2000 was titled “How We Live”, and sub-titled “Something to Offend Everyone”. Bill loved animals, and his disgust with how humans treat animals is a common theme. He was also an environmentalist for decades before the current ‘green’ movement took shape, so habitat destruction, pollution, and the root cause of most environmental problems-overpopulation-were also common subjects. The hypocrisy of organized religion rankled him, so of course he illustrated that. He was not consumed with angst, though, so there was still the gentle painting of elk on a hillside, but now with a pointed message that we should respect nature.