Originally published in Sequim Gazette

Painter, musician, hiker, and free spirit, Dave Montague leads a life well lived. The artwork he brings to his booth each Saturday’s Market is centered on animals, rendered in watercolor. A bear catching fish, a pair of koi swimming, a dog tilting its head—all painted beautifully in still art yet captured with an uncanny sense of motion.

When I ask how he is able to achieve this sense of movement in his artwork, Montague replies, “The best advice I ever got as an artist was ‘Forget what you know, draw what you see.’ That’s what I do when I’m painting. I forget what I know about a dog’s face and structure. I paint what I see and live in the now.”

Movement and moments seem to be the theme as Montague tells me more his journey from a kid in Springville, Utah to a thriving artist out on the Olympic Peninsula. His story is one of authenticity, courage, and embracing one’s passions. 

His love of art and the Olympic Mountains was fostered at a young age. Visits to to the Springville art galleries and library ignited an interest in art and design. Montague recalls flipping through photography books of National Parks as child and being enraptured by images of Olympic National Park, thinking “One day, I’m going to live there.”

As a teen, he made a name for himself in the halls of his high school by painting on the back of other student’s jackets. 

With a chuckle, he muses, “This one kid came to school and I painted the back of his brand-new jacket and his mom just had a fit.”

Montague went on to graduate from Utah State with a degree in illustration and design. Post-graduation, however, he began as an art designer for a business and then went on to start several of his own in Utah Valley–a growing tech hub. Montague founded and CEOed several tech and software companies, such as Crystal Canyon Interactive and Emerald Forest Studios. 

While Dave found success in his entrepreneurial pursuits, he also felt restricted by the environment. His artistic inclinations had fallen to the wayside and his dream of living in the Olympic Mountains remained unfulfilled.

“After working behind a desk my whole life, I thought, ‘My family’s grown, I’m single. Why don’t I finally go to the Olympic National Park?’” said Montague. 

Montague made plans to relocate to Washington state for his birthday in 2018, hosting going away celebrations with friends and family.

“I felt like Bilbo Baggins. I had a party and announced to my family and friends, that I was going away and you’ll never see me again. Then I turned my car northwest,” recalls Montague.

The change of location gave Montague the freedom to rediscover his craft. He initially started black and white drawings. Publicly posting his re-creation of photo of a dog drawn in graphite, Montague was inundated with requests from folks wanting similar portraits of their pets. Through pet portrait commissions, he’s launched his artistic career and transitioned to watercolour paintings.

While Montague plans to move away from pet portraiture to focus on original work, Montague plans to continue featuring animals as his primary subject.

“I love the organic world and the animal kingdom is amazing,” said Montague.

On the whole, Montague expresses gratitude and authenticity. He’s never looked back on switching from a desk job to a life of art nor homesick for Utah. In the years he’s lived on the peninsula, Montague has not only developed his craft, but involved himself in the artistic community. When he’s not painting, he’s out hiking or frontmanning local rock band, Heavily Disheveled. His artistic journey is a reminder that it’s never too late to follow our dreams, reconnect with our creative selves, and build a life that aligns with our truest desires.

“I’m living my bliss. I paint all day, I hike, I play music around the peninsula, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Montauge.

Visit Dave Montague on at Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market on Saturday from 9am to 2pm to buy originals, prints, and learn more about his artistry. You can also visit https://drmontagueart.com/ to learn more!