Archives for Figurative

Hitting Their Stride

Maybe it’s using complementary colors. Perhaps it’s painting in black and white or sepia tones. Maybe it’s diving deeply into one subject matter to capture it perfectly. Artists go through phases of work, improving their techniques and finding their places in the art world. Whether it’s at the beginning, middle, or later in their careers, something just ‘clicks’ when artists find the subject matter, medium, or technique that allows their creativity to shine. Meet three artists who are hitting their stride, and who are being featured in Art of the West for the first time. They are worthy of your
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The Power of the West

“I was born a storyteller.” So writes Mark Kohler in his book titled “Going West.” And he tells those stories brilliantly through his paintings of everything from working cowboys, bronc riders, and ropers to remudas, escaramuzas, and still lifes. “My art mirrors my life and experiences,” he writes. “We paint what we are.” Kohler loves what he paints and goes to great lengths to capture scenes—and people—that captivate and inspire him. He visits ranches in several states and takes a myriad of photographs of the people who work them and the animals that inhabit them. It took awhile for Kohler
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Western Nouveau

To understand Thomas Blackshear II’s segue into Western art, you need to understand his storied career. It seems that the Colorado artist never does anything halfheartedly, nor does he redo the tried and true. In fact, he likes to take what other artists are rendering and tweak it to show viewers something they recognize, but he does so from an innovative perspective. Blackshear likens his work to rappers who take old music and give it a new slant. Relatively new to the Western art genre, Blackshear hit the scene about three years ago. “I’ve had a long and varied career,”
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Monumentally Magnificent

On the night in 1987 that Bill Nebeker announced an edition of 25 castings of his sculpture If Horses Could Talk, he sold all 25 of them—and had another 75 collectors wanting to buy it as well. “It was the most popular piece I ever made; people just loved it,” he says. “You’ve got the cowboy looking for the deer, the deer sneaking away behind him, and the horse looking at the deer. It’s happened to every hunter out there. And people who don’t care for hunting love it, too, because the deer is getting away.” During the following years,
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‘My Art is About Messages’

Oreland C. Joe is committed to three things in life: his family, his art, and encouraging young Native Americans to preserve their culture. “The most valuable lesson one could ever learn in any field,” he says, “is to give your success back to the children and the community.” That is exactly what Joe is doing through a foundation he started in 2018, but more about that later. Joe has earned great acclaim for the artwork he creates, which includes paintings, stone carvings, bronze sculptures, and jewelry. He has won more awards than we have space to list here, and his
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A 40-Year Journey

Last October, two weeks after giving a talk to a sold-out crowd at the Nicolai Fechin House at the Taos Art Museum, Jerry Jordan was flying high. He had given a presentation on his life and his work to a sold-out crowd. “The theme was ‘what does it look like to paint for 60 years and try to make a living at it?’” he says. “About 75 people attended; we had to turn people away,” he says, adding that it was the highlight of his career. During his presentation, Jordan says, he showed his very first painting—a paint-by-numbers piece he
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The Studio of Don Weller

Little did Utah-based watercolorist Don Weller realize that, when he and his wife chose to relocate from Southern California to northern Utah in the early 1980s, that decision would become the impetus for him to begin a career as a fine artist. It was a move that would set the stage for the rest of his life—and his career. In 1960, after earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in fine art from the University of Washington in his hometown of Pullman, Weller headed to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in commercial art Don Weller (Utah) Don Weller Painting
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The Power of Two

When we find someone with whom to share our lives, we are fortunate. When artists do so, they are especially blessed. At least that’s the case with the four artist couples we interviewed for this article. For most of us, we were attracted to our spouses, or significant others, for a variety of reasons: their physical appearance—which might simply be a great smile—their sincerity, sense of humor, intelligence, talent, or kindness. For the artists we talked with, there are other, equally important attributes, including respect for each other’s work and a shared passion for art. Couples Featured: – Sherrie McGraw
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‘Art Must Have Soul’

As an accomplished artist with more than 30 years under his belt, Jove Wang has a theory that presides over his art. Roughly translated, it’s to know what you’re doing so well that you don’t need to be a slave to technique. It’s no understatement to say that Wang knows what he’s doing. Rather than offer up a painting that is merely a rendering, his intention is to involve viewers; he wants to elicit a response with his paintings. “I do not intend to paint extreme realism,” he explains. “I like the myriad variety of edges, as well as the
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‘I’m Living the Life I Paint’

Tim Cox has gone fishing twice already this year. That might not seem like much to most avid fishermen, but Cox isn’t complaining. It’s more fishing that he’s done for the better part of a decade. In 2010, Cox became the vice president of the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA). The next year, when he was president, the organization officially moved from its long-time headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That transition consumed most of Cox’s time for much of his two-year term as president. “I think I averaged about four hours of sleep a day for those
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