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Choreographing the Hills

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Nine years ago, when landscape artist Carl Rowe set out to do his first commission, he was apprehensive. He’d been hired to paint a scene in the Boise foothills that had special significance to his client. “Painting someone’s favorite place is nerve-wracking,” says Rowe with appealing candor. To get a sense of the place, he went for a long hike in the area. “There were lots of big bulls around, which was also nerve-wracking.”

Rowe survived the excursion, and when he unveiled the finished canvas (a moment he describes as—you guessed it—nerve-wracking) his client literally wept with joy. She hadn’t seen his work in progress, because Rowe likes to complete a painting before calling in witnesses. “For me,” he explains, smiling, “painting isn’t a spectator sport.”

That’s a somewhat ironic statement, coming from a man whose first profession consistently brought him in front of live audiences. As a professional dancer, Rowe toured nationally with the Baroque Dance Ensemble of the Smithsonian Institute and danced in New York City for renowned choreographers Rod Rogers and Rael Lamb. He was a force in the Ketchum performing arts world during his 13 years in the Wood River Valley.

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