An Artistic Calling
Several years ago I was returning home from a weekend away. Along the road I noticed several wranglers who were tending to a small herd of cattle. I stopped the vehicle so that I could talk with them and learn more. As I was born and raised on the farm, I had a connection with these folk and felt an urge to immortalize them by painting the story I had just been witness to. “West Wind Wranglin’” was the piece that was born from this need, and I knew this encounter would lead me to discover more about the cowboy lifestyle and the traditions that have shaped the character of the West. This encounter and its depiction, validated that I was on the right path as that summer, I was chosen “Best New Artist” at the Calgary Stampede’s Western Art Showcase for “West Wind Wranglin’”.
Since capturing that scene years ago, I’ve driven along that road many times, but I am bewildered by the fact that I cannot find any remnants of what I had seen. It is like destiny brought me to those cowboys and to that place, and it seems destiny will lead me on, so I follow.
Paying Homage to the Cowboy Culture
But how could I do justice in documenting the cowboy lifestyle? “One for Each Day of the Week” was delivered from this yearning. This series of seven 30” X 40” acrylic paintings depicts the life of the cowboy, from the young Monday Cowboy, with his fresh face all aglow, to the Sunday Cowboy, whose hair has turned to snow.
The study that went into “the boys” has led me to a true appreciation of the attributes of our cowboys. It has brought me to meet and to know many fine folk, as I have grown to understand that a man’s word is sealed in a handshake, as he looks you right in the eye.
Discovering the Missing Element
After completing the Cowboy Series, something seemed to be missing. I believe there is no such thing as a chance meeting, so it was not fortuitous that I met Cowboy Poet Jesse Colt. After reading his “Cowboy Self Taught”, I knew that together, we could pay true homage to the cowboy lifestyle by complementing my series with Jesse’s cowboy poetry. The cowboy traditions, values and way of life have always appealed to Jesse just as they have charmed to me. So together, it is with great respect and admiration that we collaborated on “Short Poems ~ Tall Cowboys”, our tribute to the Cowboy, the man who is true to himself.
A Validation of Our Artistic Work Together
Our work in paying tribute to the Cowboy Culture through our self-published book was rewarded when “Short Poems ~ Tall Cowboys” was recognized with the Academy of Western Artists, Will Rogers Medallion Award, for having met the highest criteria in artistic merit, quality presentation, and universal appeal.
What I’ve learned through this project with Jesse, is that I need never ‘go it alone’, professionally and personally, and if I am patient, tenacious, and open to what the Universe has in store for me . . . when the time is right . . . I will be led to that person, place or thing that I need to keep me true to myself as I continue on my path in life.