“The shepherd in my work is that all-around person – not just a man, but a person. This shepherd will walk through the wilderness; he will stand atop the highest mountains; he will go without food and shelter to look after his flock. I want to be a man who will look after a child, to care for my flock, protect them, love, guide and nurture them. I will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and happy.” – Mackenzie Thorpe
In this Mackenzie Thorpe original pastel on paper, a shepherd tends a small flock of sheep as they travel down a steep, snow-covered mountain. He is alone with his sheep, crossing what appears to be a wide open hillside framed by many evergreen trees. The terrain is difficult, but not insurmountable. Thorpe draws from his own experiences and landscapes that he personally knows; This image may be inspired by the North Yorkshire countryside where he was raised. The hills and sky are a stark white and the sheep almost disappear as they kick up snow on their journey. The shepherd and his flock are headed home, through the snow, for their Christmas holiday.
The shepherd is a recurring theme in Thorpe’s work. He firmly believes in being a fair person and sharing the workload; He doesn’t want to live by other people’s rules of how a man should behave or by preconceived notions of gender stereotypes. The shepherd character in his artwork is the manifestation of this ideal. He will always put his flock first, often setting his own needs aside, much like Thorpe would for his own children. He will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and happy, no matter the cost. It’s a reminder that everyone is going uphill and has their own struggles to overcome adversity. However, like the shepherd, it’s important to stop thinking about yourself and your own plights. Thorpe wants us to think more about what we can do for others, to just keep on giving without getting anything in return.
This piece is a particularly interesting landscape as it exemplifies Thorpe’s more painterly style. His work is honest and immediate, with little planning ahead of time. He uses his hands and fingers as extensions of the pastel sticks to expertly blend the subtle tones. He has achieved soft transitions between the landscape and the figures, while also creating a highly detailed forest of individual trees. The urgency that he draws with allows him to express and capture the emotion he is experiencing at that exact moment.
The gorgeous scenery and Christmas snow in this Mackenzie Thorpe artwork is not dissimilar to something you may see near our gallery in Lake Tahoe during a winter storm. Marcus Ashley Gallery is one of Lake Tahoe’s premier fine art galleries, situated in Heavenly Village’s bustling shopping district. Along with several Mackenzie Thorpe artworks for sale, the gallery exhibits 40+ of the most famous artists of our time.