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Picture Depicts Devotion of a Border Collie

Dixie Jacobs Luke
Hotchkiss, Colo.

“Seeking Guidance” by Kimmer High-Jepson won the 2008 TDS Telecom Shepard’s Award in the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog trials art competition. The pastel depicts a Border collie looking up at the handler. High-Jepson got her inspiration for this piece as a result of attending the Meeker Sheep dog trials. She and her hasband attended the trials two years ago and were “hooked”. She says, “The intense passion of the sport was evidenced by not only the handlers and the dogs, but also by the crowd as they would cheer for their favorite pair.” After attending the trials again last fall, High-Jepson contacted a Scotsman who sent her pictures of his dogs and gave her permission to use his photos as referenace material. She says, “I was especially intrigued by a photo of a handler and a dog. I had witnessed the very same stance in Meeker as dogs would look to their handlers for instruction. I wanted to create a painting that spoke of the desire to please that characterizes this breed.” As her husband watched her work on this piece he said, “That dog looks like he is seeking guidance.” The picture was named. High-Jepson’s pastel reveals an emotion that is known to those who have been fortunate enough to share the intense bond with an animal that lives to work and please.

High-Jepson also recently had her piece “And you thought our wines were tame?” selected for the 2008 Colorado Mountain Winefest poster.

High-Jepson lives in Grand Junction where she and her husband Peter own a packaging and promotional business. They like picnicing on the Monument and spending long weekends at their cabin near Vega Reservoir. They also enjoy riding their horses, camping, ATVing in Western Colorado and boating at Lake Powell.

“Seeking Guidance” will be auctioned off on Saturday, May 10, during the lunch break at the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials. In the meantime if you would like to see the piece and the other 20 entries in the competition, they are hanging at the Creamery Arts Center at 165 W. Bridge Street in Hotchkiss, CO. The center is open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

In addition to the original, limited edition prints and artist proofs will be for sale at the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials on May 9 – 11. For people unable to attend the trials, prints can be ordered by calling Sandy Bliss at (970) 921-5409. The prints sell for $25. At the trials, there will be a limited number of prints from previous years available also. The 2007 picture is of a Basque sheepherder and his dog by Mary Farmer. Virginia Blackwell won the 2006 competition with a running collie dog in her distinct colors. Sherry Cobb of Delta donated the art work in 2004 and 2005. The first is a sketch of a collie and sheep. The 2005 piece is used by the trials committee as their logo. It is a drawing of a sheepwagon with dogs out front and a mule tied to the back. Note cards will be available at the trials with this scene. T-shirts with the winning art work will also be for sale at the trials. There are a few 2007 shirts available as well as shirts with the trial’s logo.

The annual art competition is open to all artists. The deadline for 2009 competition will be February 1, 2009. Any artist interested in more information can contact Sandy Bliss. TDS Telecom awards the $500 Shepard’s Award as well as $150 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd, $75 for 3rd, and $50 for 4th. The committee hopes to have a student division in 2009.


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