In Colter’s Bar on the South and West walls are beautiful murals. We discovered that they are oil paintings on sheetrock, painted over the course of more than a year. We knew they were painted around the year 2000 by an unknown painter. They are excellent quality workmanship, by an incredibly talented artist. We searched the murals for any kind of a signature with no luck. Locals remembered the painter, but no one remembered his name. Some would say he passed away; we have even been told the fellow may be in prison. Some local ladies said they took lessons from him during his stay
here. Above Swift Creek Trading (a local western apparel store) is another mural by the same artist which he painted as payment for dental work. The dentist is long gone but a CPA, Richard Brough, still has his office at this location. We asked Mr. Brough if he knew who this painter was (is)? This mural is unsigned as well, however Mr. Brough has two of the fellow’s paintings and they are signed. At long last we found our painter! His name is Rulon Hacking. We have searched for any information we could find about Mr. Hacking. We discovered his paintings hanging in galleries in New Mexico, some have sold at auction, and that he studied with a famous Russian artist. That is all we currently know. We would like to know more of this gentleman’s history or find him. If you have heard of him or recognize his beautiful work, please don’t hesitate to let us know! We want to give him credit due for these incredible murals and continue to showcase his work for our guests’ enjoyment!
Art & Murals at Colter’s Lodge
When we started renovations in April 2013, the Mountain Man painting that hangs on the outside of Colter’s Lodge was in great disrepair. It had faded to the point you could not even tell he had a face. We decided to make it a top priority to have it restored. We found out the original painter was Ray Shaw and it was completed around 1987. We searched the internet for Ray and found a phone number for him in Colorado. When we called and asked if he would be interested in restoring the Mountain Man, he said “When do you need it done by?” He was thrilled to restore the painting that hangs in his hometown of Afton and had finished restoring it within a month. We are immensely proud to showcase the work of this world class wildlife artist. We have prints hanging throughout Colter’s Lodge – see if you can locate a few while you’re here!
Ray Shaw was born in Afton, Wyoming in 1958 and currently resides in Colorado. His kinship with nature began at an early age and has been a prominent part of his life. Ray first picked up a brush at the age of seven. He practiced falconry from the age of fifteen years old and cared for wounded birds at the age of seventeen. The Air Force Academy purchased a painting of a peregrine falcon for their library collection when Ray was only eighteen years old. He joined the Navy and painted for admirals and captains of the seventh fleet. After being discharged from the armed forces, Ray painted in Old Town San Diego for tourists for five years. He then established the “Bullocks Fine Art Gallery of San Diego”, representing over sixty-five artists in the area. Additionally, Ray founded Feathers and Fabrics of California, featuring shirts printed with many of birds he painted. In 1990, Ray studied painting in a master class taught by Robert Bateman. Sculpting is another
fine art of Ray’s. His piece, “Pheasants Forever”, had over 2000 reproductions. Currently, Ray is filming a pilot for a new television series,
called ArtSafaris with Ray Shaw, about his travels into the wilds and the images he captures on canvas. Ray has lived in many of the western states, including Utah, Idaho, Washington, and California, developing a deep appreciation for wildlife. Currently living on a small ranch in the Colorado Rockies with his dog, cat, parrot, and his barnyard of animals; he spends his time painting, communing with the native wildlife, and living out his passion for his art, his work, and his connection to nature.