It’s not often you find common qualities with oil painting and bull riding—but you do when you meet Western painter Brandon Bailey. “It’s a lot of self-doubt and fear,” he says of bull riding. “There’s no one there to make you get on that bull. With art, it’s the same type of thing, whether you’re sitting at the canvas or walking into a gallery; it’s the same type of feelings and the same type of emotions you come across.”
In the decade-plus since he left rodeo riding, Bailey has made a full-time living working as an artist, with things progressing wildly in 2022 after he became one of 18 members of the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA), a prestigious group of artists dedicated to authentically preserving the culture of Western life. He likely wouldn’t be where he is today without the intimate experience rodeoing gave him into cowboy culture when he was in his early twenties.
“I was around rodeo contractors and became friends with them, so we would do all the cowboy stuff with rodeo animals: rounding up bulls on horseback, riding bulls, just being around all that,” he says. “It was fun to immerse myself in it and then have that passion to keep moving forward with it in painting.”
A Little Night Music
38″ by 72″
“This piece was inspired by Mozart’s symphony with the same title. The sounds and visuals of a thunderstorm drifting across a moon-covered prairie is a unique experience I can only equate to a classical symphony.”
36″ by 48″
“I was inspired by the timelessness of this scene and did my best to give it that feel. Another unique aspect of this piece was the play between warm sunlight juxtaposed against the cool interior of the barn and the landscape outside.”