The western way of life
This story was featured in the July 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
For decades, artists have been drawn to New Mexico by the unique light and stunningly colorful skies. Minnesota-based painter William Ersland is no exception; he began tra- veling to the Land of Enchantment, specifically the small mountain town of Taos, in 1976. Ersland says he has returned to the picturesque locale regularly ever since to gather reference material and do plein-air sketches. Today he often views his paintings as a nod to the artists of the legendary Taos Society of Artists, who painted in the area in the early 20th century.
As a horse owner and rider, Ersland says he is drawn primarily to creating images of the horse as a staple of the western way of life. In fact, he often envisions himself riding a bucking bronc or sitting astride a thoroughbred while he creates paintings in his Stillwater, MN, studio. Over the years Ersland has been rewarded for his passion and talents in rendering the horse. Earlier this year he received an award for the best miniature painting at the annual Western Spirit Art Show & Sale in Cheyenne, WY, an event he has been juried into for the past nine years. “I think my viewers get a real palpable sense of being there in the action, and they can take a nostalgic trip through the good old days of the West,” Ersland says about his work’s appeal. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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