Capturing western life on canvas

Pure Nebraska
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 11:57 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2022 at 12:09 PM CDT
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VALENTINE, Neb. (KOLN) - During a visit to Valentine, we talked with an artist who is inspired by the natural beauty and the people around him.

David Dorsey has had a knack for art his whole life. “I’m from Rock County and Newport originally,” Dorsey said. “That’s about 75 miles to the east of Valentine. I ranched full-time and am from a ranching family.” Dorsey attended what was then Kearney State College, and was going into education. He earned a teaching degree in art. “But I realized teaching was not for me, and that I liked the ranching life better,” Dorsey said. “So, I went home to ranch.” Later, he left the ranch, and started painting. He’s being doing this now for about 10 years.

“I do mostly western artwork,” Dorsey said. “I love the Plains, and the people of the Plains. To capture that is a thrill for me. The faces, the stories that the faces tell, the landscape, I love all of that aspect of it. For the last year-and-a-half, I’ve been doing charcoal on canvas, which is something new for me. I also do acrylic and other mediums. For some of the ‘models’ in my paintings, I go to an artist event in Wall, South Dakota. You have to tip the models to use their image, and if you have an idea for a painting, you can work with them and set up a scenario. You go for three days, photograph them, and I can come back and work from the photographs.”

“The farthest show I do is Great Falls, Montana,” Dorsey said. “I actually work pretty fast. It depends on what the piece is. I do like working large. A couple of years ago, I was doing smaller pieces because the shows were cancelled at the time. So, I did small pieces out of the basement. But now, I’d like to get back to the large pieces. I hope people enjoy my art. I hope I’m telling a story with it, that’s my purpose. As an artist, for me, it’s fun to experiment with new mediums, and try different things.”

If you want more information on David Dorsey, go to He is also on Facebook, and he is in the downtown art gallery in Valentine, and at the Noyes Art Gallery in Lincoln.