Michelle Weber captures agriculture with paint
Once in a while an artist comes along who makes people sit up and pay attention. One of those artists is Michelle Weber, a painter and ranch wife from Lake Benton, MN. She, along with her husband, Jesse, raise Red Angus cattle and own Weber Land and Cattle.
Weber works as a graphic designer for Pipestone Publishing Company. When she is not at her day-job, or assisting her husband with cattle, she is hunched over a canvas, paintbrush in hand. Her speciality is capturing the personalities of the people and livestock in the agriculture industry, and she has garnered a lot of attention recently, as her budding hobby blossoms into a promising career.
Her paintings are quickly becoming a real source of income for the Webers. She was recently commissioned to paint a 40-by-40 painting for the American Maine Anjou Association as a silent auction piece. With this and other large projects on her to-do list for the summer, her talents are in high-demand. Many local ranchers are hiring her to paint their own cattle and horses, as well.
Weber admits that her love of painting was kind of an accident.
“To be honest, I took my first painting class as a junior in high school, and the first week in the class, I hated it,” said Weber. “My art teacher, Mark Nass, saw that I had some potential, and through his encouragement, soon I was spending every spare minute I had painting.”
Her new-found fascination paid off. One of her paintings, “Sole Mates,” hung in the U.S. Capitol for a year as part of the Congressional Art Competition; it was a huge opportunity for the young painter.
Weber’s new love led her to South Dakota State University, where she pursued an art education degree. After looking at the economy and the job market, she switched gears and graduated with an advertising major, a field of study where creativity is still a key element to the job.
“I didn’t take any art classes in college until my senior year,” said Weber. “I realized I missed it and started painting again as a hobby. My professor, Fatih Benzer, was incredibly talented and passionate, and everything he taught I wanted to soak up.”
When Weber first started painting, she explored any and every subject matter, but today, she is more focused on capturing special moments in agriculture. This was inspired by her husband, Jesse, and his love of the livestock business. Although she grew up on a diversified crop farm, Jesse exposed her to new things on a cattle ranch – calving season, weaning, summer grazing and feeding cows. These experiences led her to paint the faces and personalities of the animals she saw every day on the ranch.
“Being out on the ranch is an unbelievable experience,” said Weber. “Learning from every day experiences and capturing those moments in a painting is so rewarding for me. Although I get so busy with work and the ranch, I love painting so much and am excited to work on my many projects every day.”
Weber credits her husband for pushing her to pursue her livestock paintings, and she is proud to work alongside him in their very successful cattle operation.
“I’m so proud to be by Jesse’s side as he builds his cattle herd and gains recognition for his Red Angus genetics,” added Weber. “He is extraordinarily supportive of the late nights when I’m painting. I’m learning so much from him. He started his own business from nothing, and he has built it from the ground up. I strive to be like that in my own career.”
Weber Land and Cattle gained national attention with WEBR TC CardShark, a bull sired by WEBR Doc Holliday. CardShark was the 2011 National Western Stock Show (NWSS) Reserve Champion Red Angus Bull, a huge honor for a 26-year old cattleman. Michelle has aspirations of her own at the NWSS. Her dream is to have her art featured in the Coors Western Art Show and Sale at the annual event.
Certainly this couple has a long-list of talents, and Michelle’s ultimate goal is to paint full-time, affording her the opportunity to help Jesse on the ranch and one day raise a family.
“There have been so many opportunities for me to pursue my painting; I’m so blessed,” said Weber. “Everything happens for a reason, and God definitely has a plan for our lives. I’m so thankful.” F
editor’s note: learn more about michelle’s paintings at http://www.weberfarmscattleco.com/index.html. weber cattle co. was featured in the 2011 black hills stock show edition, learn more at http://www.tsln.com/article/20110122/tsln_misc05/110129994.
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