NELTJE

Abstract expressionist painter, artist & author

Neltje and Bandit on Neltje's ranch in the Bighorn Mountains.

Neltje and Bandit on Neltje's ranch in the Bighorn Mountains.

 
I paint the moment, I think the moment, I feel the moment - I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get out of bed in the morning...it’s fractional. You have this second, then BOOM! It’s gone. The wind comes up, and your hat flies off. You drop your glass of champagne. It’s just a moment.
— Nelte
 
Neltje on her ranch in Banner, Wyoming.

Neltje on her ranch in Banner, Wyoming.

 
 

Listen to Neltje's Story.

 

The artist Neltje overcame abuse and alcoholism to realize her strength as an abstract expressionist painter and author. As the former proprietor of the historic Sheridan Inn, she saved the establishment from destruction and oversaw its operation for years before becoming a full-time artist. In her 80’s, Neltje has lived in Wyoming for over 50 years now, and is unafraid to live out loud. She paints 10x30 foot abstract expressionist canvases and recently released her memoir, North of Crazy. She founded an artist residency program on her ranch in Banner, Wyoming (Jentel Arts), as well as Turned Antiques - a hidden gem of an antique store with collections from around the world and Neltje’s travels. In addition to her painting and artistry, Neltje is a loyal friend, mother and grandmother, and has a brigade of furry friends including Carrie, Bandit, Tara, Gypsy, Lilly and Tara. 

During our interview, Neltje and I talk about being your own hero, her memoir and 10x30' canvases, and how she found her voice through painting.

 
Neltje - Women in Wyoming - Triptych Colorful Paintings Portrait
Neltje - Women in Wyoming - Sitting Coffee Black and White Portrait
 
 
Well color, let’s start with color. I don’t know what my favorite color is. Probably red...because it’s outrageous. It demands courage, strength, and an unwillingness to be put down.
 
 
Neltje - Women in Wyoming - Serious Portrait White Background
 
 
I’m here to express in the abstract what I feel about whatever the moment is that I’m painting in. I would say that I’m a painter of the moment. I think we all are all painters of the moment. We are creators of the moment. I think there are others who are historically inventive, but that’s not this rose.
 
Neltje at home in Banner, Wyoming.

Neltje at home in Banner, Wyoming.