Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Donna Ridgway is a native Montanan and she says that Montana is her favourite place on this earth. Her great grandfather homesteaded on the mountains west of Dupuyer, Montana and six generations later her family still lives amongst their beloved Montana mountains. Donna and her husband Robert are now retired and are pursuing their creative interests. Robert is a cowboy poet and also restores old cars. Donna creates artwork and takes magnificent photographs of the landscape and creatures of Montana.


Donna grew up farming and ranching, so she has a close affinity for the land and the animals that live in Montana. Caring for animals, (especially horses), all her life has given her a deep love for them and they are what inspires most of her work. At one time Donna and her husband drove truck cross country. They had moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. An unexpected chance to move back to Montana arose and Donna found that tears began to stream from her eyes and she found she couldn’t stop crying. That was the moment when she knew how much she loved Montana and what an inspiration the scenery and animals of the state are to her. Montana is her muse.


A 14ft by 70ft trailer home is Donna’s work studio. Currently it is being fitted with new energy efficient windows, new insulation and other upgrades so that Donna will be able to work in the space year round. She says it will be a wonderfully adequate space for an artist when it is all done.


When Donna was just a toddler, not even old enough to talk, she would stand up on the front seat of the car between her mom and dad and point to every horse she saw in the fields. She would yell to be taken to the horses. Her parents were not horse lovers and didn’t comply with her gesticulations and requests, but Donna says that she knows from this story that she loved horses from the moment she was born. She also knows that art was part of her soul then as well. As soon as she could draw, she did.


The mediums Donna uses in her work are varied and she switches them according to the mood she is in. She uses colored pencils, pastels, acrylic, oil and watercolors. She has carved shapes into linoleum blocks for printing and she works in polymer clay too. As Donna says, “One medium is as satisfying to me as another.” Donna likes to work wet in wet when painting. She is a prolific artist on a never ending quest to produce the next image, whatever that may be.


In 2003, Donna bought a Canon 10D, and the camera instantly became Donna’s medium of choice. She still paints and draws, but it's the camera that fascinates, challenges, and entertains her best. In 2008, Donna added a Nikon D300, with a 70-300 mm Tamron lens to her photography tools and she says the camera has become an extension of herself. In the last few years Donna has begun to do digital art using her photos, creating original works of art. Her main subjects are horses. Montana is her secondary subject matter; she says the state drives her creatively.


Donna went to a country school growing up, one where the teacher taught three grades at a time. Her teacher in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade was also an artist. While the other children went outside for recess, Donna studied art with the teacher. Later in life she studied with Betty Hudson Savage in Polson, Montana and with Joan Mason in St. Ignatius, Montana. Currently she participates in webinar classes on landscape painting with Johannes Vloothuis. She also studies online tutorials for using Photoshop and her cameras.


Donna is a member of International Equine Artists, Front Range Art Association, World Wide Women Artists, The Montana Etsy Team, and The Whoa Team on Etsy. She has been represented in many juried shows in Montana and nationally and won awards for her work. She is on the list of Montana Outdoor Magazine photographers and has had a cover photo published on the Stable Woman Gazette. Horses in Art magazine has published her articles several times. In April 2005 Donna was an invited exhibitor at The History Museum.


Sometimes Donna teaches informal art lessons for a neighbor or friend who mentions they would like to paint. She is happy to show them some basics so they get together over Donna’s kitchen table and work until the students feel they can carry on by themselves.


In the near future Donna has a few things she wants to accomplish in her art. She would like to paint some of the locations she loves most along the Rocky Mountain Front. In addition, Donna will be creating more digital art as she is in love with her Photoshop Elements 7 program and the images she can create using her photos.


Donna's original art can be purchased at her studio in Vaughan, Montana and online in her Etsy shop. She sells original paintings, ACEO cards, photographs of Montana and Giclee prints of her photos and paintings. She also offers her art on products in her Zazzle shop, RedBubble gallery and on Finer Works. The Art for Conservation site also has some of Donna’s artwork available for sale.


Donna’s beautiful work is constantly being featured on Etsy and she loves the community there. She is very excited about making her work available to collectors through Etsy and now that she has a professional page on facebook, more and more people are finding Donna’s exceptional work on Etsy. Donna finds this a great way to share her beloved Montana and horses with people worldwide.

Visit Donna Ridgway on Red Bubble

Visit Donna Ridgway’s shop JACK MORGAN on Etsy

Visit Donna Ridgway on Zazzle

Like The Nature of Montana Photography on Facebook

Visit Donna Ridgway on Art for Conservation

All Images Copyright Donna Ridgway, All Rights Reserved

Written by Ruth J Jamieson, Copyright Ruth J Jamieson 2011


  1. This is a wonderful write up on Donna. I love her photos and artwork, and she is such a dear and sincere person.

  2. Thank you Brenda, and thank you Ruth for this interview!

  3. I'm so proud of my Montana cousin. Great work, keep it coming.

  4. I just received my "Miniature Horse Blue Eye" in the mail today & I just Love it!!! Thanks so much! What a keen eye for photos!

  5. Great article! Congratulations Donna! ;)

  6. Wonderful interview. Congrats Donna!

  7. What a great interview. Way to go, Donna.

  8. It is an absolute pleasure to know Donna and have the opportunity to share her art with others :)

    Many thanks to everyone for your lovely comments and compliments & support for Donna!

    cheers, Ruth

  9. Excellent interview, glad to meet you Donna!

  10. Thank you for your lovely comments Staci and Cherie :)

  11. Thank you everyone for your kind comments. And thank you Ruth for putting this article together!