Archives for Portrait

A Dream Realized

Mikel Donahue has only been painting full time since 2010, but he’s already racked up an impressive list of honors and awards. The highlight of his career as a fine artist, he says, came in 2016, when he was voted into membership in the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America (CAA). It was the second time he had been considered for that honor, the first having been a few years earlier, when Paul Moore, a friend and CAA member, had recommended Donahue for membership. “If a member sees work by someone, and they like it, they put the artist’s name up
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A New Direction

During the past decade, R. Tom Gilleon’s career has skyrocketed, earning him tremendous recognition and rewards. But now, at age 79, he’s most excited about projects that are taking him in a new direction—what he calls his “2020 Vision”—and that might well be the most daunting challenge he’s ever undertaken. It’s a new phase of his artistic life from which paintings that he describes as “MMXX Masterworks” are emerging. Gilleon is best known for his iconic paintings of tipis and Native American images. His background in illustration, his sensitivity to nature, and his respect for the Old West unite in
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Looking For Attitudes

The two weeks that Trish Stevenson spent at her grandparent’s log cabin in western North Dakota each summer as a child were the best part of her year. She and her five siblings loved how different it was from their home outside Denver, Colorado. They even loved the outhouse. “It was like camping for two weeks,” she says. “It was the highlight of the year for us.” But what Stevenson remembers most is her grandfather. She remembers how tall and lanky he was, how he sat with his legs crossed in a certain way, how he rolled cigarettes with Bull
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The Studio of Eric Bowman

Situated next to his home on a half-acre lot in Tigard, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, Eric Bowman’s studio is as unique and imaginative as the art he creates. It’s actually a Quonset hut style structure that was favored by the U.S. government, which ordered thousands of the semi-circular structures during and after World War II because of their mobility and ease of construction. The property’s original owner built the structure in 1952 and used it as a garage to house his antique cars. “This was an ideal structure for that purpose because the roof supports the walls, so there
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Ranch Life Reality

By late fall, snow had already started falling in southwestern Wyoming. Even though she still had gardening to do, that snowfall was a joy to Amanda Cowan. “The elevation is about 7,500 feet, so it’s really hard,” she says. “The sun rays are high, and the wind never stops, but I do feel so blessed. I moved around before I got married; then I came to Wyoming. It gets 30 [degrees] below [zero], but this place is so amazing. I get to work on the ranch every day and paint. I’m so blessed.” The ranch is Myers Ranch, a sprawling
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Talent Times Three

It’s always exciting when we feature artists and their art for the first time within the pages of Art of the West. That is just what we are doing on the following pages, as we share with you the words and works of three contemporary Western artists: David Frederick Riley, Gregory Strachov, and Jeremy Winborg. While their journeys and subjects differ, what they share is a love of creating art. Riley evolved from painting portraits to wildlife in muted tones. Strachov is fascinated by rocks, finding a beauty in them that most of us wouldn’t see. Winborg captures the strength
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Capturing Nature’s Stories

Alone, on top of a high, open Montana hill in the darkness, Mia DeLode stood in her sheep wagon, watching as the band of wooly animals she was protecting from predators was bedding down for the night. Then the first lightning sizzled and cracked. The sky roiled. A second bolt spiked and jagged, fracturing the clouds with an explosive roar on its way to the ground. It was followed by another and another. “The crashes of blinding light [were] impossible to sleep through, impossible not to think the next bolt will strike too close,” DeLode says, recalling her days as
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Life is an Adventure

Ethereal, evocative, and touched with a bit of mystery, the figurative imagery and cityscapes crafted by oil painter and pastelist William Schneider are beautifully rendered. They draw viewers in, eager to learn more about the person or locale he depicts. Although Schneider enrolled as an art major at the University of Illinois in 1965, after 18 months he switched his major to psychology with a minor in business. He did so, he says, because he was playing in a successful rock band that was touring the Midwest six nights a week, making it difficult for him to get up in
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A New Chapter

TD Kelsey wants to be a painter. He’s been sculpting for more than 40 years, and his award-winning works are in the permanent collections of museums that include the C.M. Russell Museum and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. He has monuments placed at the Saint Louis Zoo and the historic Stock Yards in San Antonio, Texas, among dozens of other locations. Kelsey loves sculpting. It’s a medium that has allowed him to capture the essence of the animals he loves so much, especially horses. It has helped him to create a career, make lifelong friendships, and travel the world.
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Winds of Inspiration

Renowned artist Thomas Blackshear II is no stranger to commercial work. Before diving into the Western art world, he was an illustrator with companies such as Hallmark, Lucas Films, and Anheuser-Busch on his resumé. In the fall of 2019, he got a phone call from the manager of The Killers, a popular alternative rock band that wanted to use his work for its newest album. It was a project unlike any Blackshear had ever experienced. The Killers is an American band that originated in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the early 2000s. Almost 20 years and six albums later, it has
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