Montana artist Theodore "Ted" Waddell is widely known for his modernist Western landscape paintings on display around the world in museums and U.S. Embassies, but he is also a printmaker.
A Billings native who has homes in Montana and Idaho, Waddell and his wife Lynn Campion Waddell recently donated an etching press and all of the associated equipment, plus a collection of 80 prints, to the Whitney Center for the Arts at Sheridan College in Wyoming. A public reception and print sale will be held at the Whitney Center on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Waddell’s daughter, Arin Waddell, teaches art at Sheridan College and through her connection to the campus, Waddell decided to make the donation, which includes works by more than a dozen artists. Plans are to sell some of the prints beginnig Thursday night to raise money for a visiting artist series focused on master printmaking. Other prints will become part of the Whitney Center’s permanent collection.
“Sheridan, Wyoming, is a special place. It’s a caring community and the college and the people there have been quite wonderful,” Waddell said.
Waddell originally acquired the press and equipment from the Experimental Workshop in San Francisco and set up the "Tucker Press" in Hailey, Idaho, named for his great Bernese Mountain Dog.
"I have been fascinated with printmaking for most of my life," Waddell said. "You can learn more about color while working in this discipline than in any other way."
The Takach Motorized Intaglio press was made by Sheridan native Dave Takach, who now lives in Albuquerque.
“We are trying to preserve and expand the understanding of traditional printmaking,” Waddell said. "If you are making traditional prints, one of the requirements is to draw.”
Sheridan College printmaking instructor Brittney Denham-Whisonant said the printmaking studio has become a space of community gatherings. She said students can create work on a larger scale and explore different materials.
“This generous gift will benefit many generations of students,” she said.
Sheridan College president Paul Young wrote in a forward in a catalog featuring the print collection that the new printmaking studio has become a recruiting tool at Sheridan College.
“In the first year of the program being offered with this press, two workshops were held for over 100 area high school students, and enrolled Sheridan College students have enjoyed working in master classes with visiting artists.”