"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Feasting on art--part one

The Prix de West show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a world-class feast for me because I get to talk to artists, hear them talk about their craft, see the magnificent works of people who work at it full time, and see the huge prices they demand and get for their work.

Almost all of them studied art when they were younger and they're incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable. So when I attend, I'm going to art school, trying to learn from them. I'm struck by how humble they are, by how humorous they can be about their own work, by their dedication to excellence, by how much they know about art technique and history.

Moab, 16 by 20 oil, by Whitaker--such luminous skin.
Today I got to hear one artist, William Whitaker,  talk about and show mixing his own colors as they did 600 years ago, to get the luminous quality he wants in his portraits. A sculptor was at work down the hall. Yesterday I got to interview  Andy Peters about historic work by Karl Bodmer on a historic trip following Lewis and Clark. He spoke for an hour, no notes, as full of enthusiasm and admiration for one of his "heroes" as a little kid. Whittaker also talked about his heroes. Last year I got to watch and interview a Canadian sculpture creating art from a life Eagle.

I admit, most of the ones I love have southwestern subjects, of my beloved New Mexico and elsewhere.

And I'm always astounded by the watercolors--an envious--when they start at prices of $2,500 and go higher, like this one by Dean Mitchell, a 15" by 10" painting priced at $8,700. And I am stunned by the watercolor work of Sonya Terpening, especially this little girl on the porch:
"I can do that!" 25 by 19


But then there are other favorites, that just make you gasp at their beauty and excellence.

Here are a few--you can see the originals here in Oklahoma City.

Pushing them off the Mesas, 18 by 24, Tim Cox

Through the suburbs of Eden, 28 by 224, Dan Mieduch

Red River Memories, Craig Tenant, 

Bound for Nowhere, 24 by 36, Craig Tennant

Return Procession  on the Night of the Nigh Fires--Taos, 30 by 40, Sherrie McGraw

Next, more paintings, and sculpture and the artist at work

1 comment:

  1. It's been a couple of years since we've attended the Prix de West. The quality of the paintings and sculptures are truly astounding. We also like looking at some of the other items that are displayed like the bridles and such.

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