Archives for Genre

‘This is My Life’

Sculptor Chris Hunt has dislocated each of his shoulders at least four times and broken both clavicles, both scapulae, and a couple of ribs. The Texas-born artist and former Air Force senior airman has always jumped feet first into new things, be it riding in rodeos or introducing a new medium to his repertoire. “‘No fear’ was my mantra, and still is to this day,” he says. Hunt grew up in Damon, Texas, on a ranch on the Brazos River, where he was raised by his father Maurice and had no problem amusing himself by drawing, fishing, hunting, and riding
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Sweet Connections

It was a compliment of the highest order and one that Julie Nighswonger treasures. While exhibiting her paintings at an art show, she watched as a little girl walked up to a painting of a small horse, which was hanging low in Nighswonger’s booth—and kissed it. Sure, awards are appreciated and are validation of work well done, says the Wyoming artist, but a kiss—wow! Nighswonger has won her share of awards. Her first was the Artists’ Choice Award at the Wyoming State Fair in 2003; her most recent was the People’s Choice Award at Cowgirl Up! last year. A member
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A Sense of Joy

Terry Cooke Hall is a bit of an enigma in that she doesn’t check any of the traditional art boxes you might have in mind for a master artist. For instance, she chose to study art at Palomar College in San Marcos, California, rather than at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. That decision had more to do with fear than fundamentals. “Not enough strength of character,” she says lightly. “If I think back to that time, it was fear of moving to the big city by myself.” Read the full article in the January/February 2022
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A Master In His Prime

George Carlson has never subscribed to any “ism.” As the only person in history to be honored with the Prix de West Purchase Award—the top prize in Western Art—in two different media, he also has never seen himself as a “Western artist,” at least not in the way it has celebrated iconic landscapes, cowboys, and indigenous people. But Carlson does believe in a way of seeing that is articulated by many, going back to the ancient Greeks. It is embraced by American master realist Andrew Wyeth and by Carlson’s friend, painter Robert Lougheed. Their maxim is this: Nature provides all
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A Promise Kept

During his 16 years of formal art training, Valeriy Kagounkin has studied everything from painting and sculpture to Italian fresco, mosaic, and stained glass. While he now focuses on capturing the American West on canvas, he also feels a duty to serve the community with his other skills. One of Kagounkin’s most recent projects—painting a mural on an eight-story building—has seen him perched atop a lift in 90-degree temperatures, breathing in smoke-filled air from the wildfires raging near his home in Sacramento, California. “It is what it is,” he says. “This is real artwork.” Except for a few difficult times,
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Chasing Perfection

There are things you have to give up if you’re going to run a ranch, raise a family, and pursue a career as a wildlife artist all at the same time. Chad Poppleton, who took over the operations of his dad’s ranch in northern Utah’s Cache Valley a year ago, is doing all three—and doing them well. Most days, he’s up early to do chores and get work done around the ranch. Once those jobs are done, he heads to his studio and paints for several hours. Then he loops back to the ranch for more chores and to wrap
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Silver Linings

“I always thought when you went blind, it was black. It wasn’t,” says watercolor artist Marlin Rotach, who noticed changes in his vision in the spring of 2018. “It was flesh-toned, and it was just like a curtain going across my eye until I had no sight at all.” After visiting a specialist, Rotach learned that he was suffering from a detached retina, a condition that required two surgeries and left him blind in his right eye for five months. Unable to paint, but still able to use a computer, Rotach decided to try writing biographical vignettes about historical artists
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The Guy Who Loves Horses

Mehl Lawson’s lack of the financial resources necessary to purchase a sculpture proved to be a blessing not only to him but to the Western art world, as well. If he couldn’t buy one, he decided, he’d create one. Lawson turned to a friend who was doing some sculpting, asked what he would need to do a sculpture, and went out and bought the basic tools his friend recommended. “I did a little one, and it started selling immediately,” he says. “Within about a year, I had sold the whole edition.” Read the full article in the September/October 2021 issue.
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A Never-Quit Mentality

It was a long Sunday afternoon for Todd Connor early this summer as he was filling packing boxes for a move from McAllister to Fort Benton, Montana, just northeast of Great Falls. But the day was filled with pleasant surprises. While cleaning out his studio, he discovered hundreds of small canvases, all plein air paintings. “I don’t get to do plein air much anymore,” he says wistfully. Don’t think for a minute that Connor sees his sun-swept portraits of pioneers, landscapes, and First Nation warriors as uninspired, 9-to- 5 studio work, however. Art is his challenge, second only to the
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Capturing the Cowboy Culture

Tyler Crow was a high school senior when the trajectory of his life was forever changed. His plan following his graduation was to go on to college, earn a degree in agricultural or ranch management, and “run my own cows.” Those plans changed when he entered a pencil drawing in a competition sponsored by the Oklahoma Youth Expo and won a scholarship for a workshop conducted by award-winning Western artists Bruce Greene and Martin Grelle, who also happened to be members of the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America (CAA). Within a couple months, Crow was studying with the two artists
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