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About the Artist


The Western Folklife Center is excited to present our 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering poster. We chose the painting Sheep #12 by Montana artist Theodore "Ted" Waddell to illustrate the theme of the Gathering, "Basques and Buckaroos: Herding Cultures of Basin, Range and Beyond," and the great cowboying, sheep herding, and sheep and cattle ranching traditions of Basques in the American West.

Theodore Waddell is a long-time attendee of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and supporter of the Western Folklife Center, so we are thrilled to be given the opportunity to showcase his artwork on our poster. For over five decades, Waddell has pursued his passion for art. His abstract impressionistic renderings of real subject matter reflect the American experience of living in the West and his love of the land.

Born in Billings, Montana, in 1941 and raised in nearby Laurel, Theodore Waddell studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in Brooklyn, New York, at Eastern Montana College and at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. After returning to Montana from Michigan in 1968, Waddell joined the University of Montana's Art Faculty where he taught until 1976. After leaving teaching in 1976, Waddell worked full-time as a rancher and artist. His art career took off in 1983 when he was invited to exhibit his work in the prestigious Corcoran Biennial 38th Survey of American Art. In 2004, he was honored at the White House for his collection of paintings in various U.S. Embassies worldwide. In 2015, he was a recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award in the State of Montana.  

Today, Waddell divides his time between his ranches and studios in Sheridan, Montana, and Hailey, Idaho, where he lives with his wife, writer and photographer Lynn Campion. In these settings he continues to paint almost daily. His works are found in private and corporate collections throughout the world, and are currently exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the West.