By Gussie Fauntleroy
Thousands of artists have been featured in Southwest Art over the past 30 years. Looking back at three decades’ worth of issues, it is remarkable to see the depth and breadth of talent, which has represented the best of American western art. In the following pages, we pay tribute to 30 artists who have helped shape the magazine and the market since our debut in May 1971.
|Hopi Blue, oil, 25 x 20.|
A 1981 Southwest Art article describes the scene at William Acheff’s first one-man show, held at Shriver Gallery in Taos in 1978. People were lining up at the door an hour in advance, and once they got inside they learned that purchasers would be decided by a drawing. “Two and a half years later,” the article continues, “galleries are still telling their clients that if they want an Acheff, they’ll have to resign themselves to waiting.” In the 20 years since that article, the popularity of Acheff’s highly realistic still lifes has remained steady. “I paint Indian objects because I relate to them,” Acheff said in 1981. “There’s a purity in them. I like earthy things, textures from nature.”
Born: Anchorage, AK, 1947.
Resides: Taos, NM.
Art education: I had great high school art classes—I took so many that I virtually “majored” in art in high school. Later I studied privately with Roberto Lupetti.
Favorite piece: I don’t know if I have a favorite, but the most significant piece I’ve ever done is probably Yellow Rose of Texas. It sold for $45,000 at the Western Heritage Sale in Houston, TX, one year, and that gave me a lot of attention.
Major turning points: Moving to Taos was one—being in a small town with a strong art environment allowed me to develop my own style early on. Getting into the Western Heritage Sale was another, because of the great exposure I got there. And showing my work at Shriver Gallery here in Taos—it was a good gallery to be in because I got to meet some of the big “gurus,” people like Gordon Snidow and others.
How the art market has changed: There’s just more art—everyone and their brother paints these days, there are a ton of galleries, and there are more people interested in buying art. It’s a saturated market.
Other interests: Well, I paint a lot. I’m building a new garage for my house. And I fly airplanes.
Galleries: J.N. Bartfield Galleries, New York, NY; Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ; and Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, TX.
|Mountain Man With Jug, oil, 20 x 13.|
James Bama is an icon in the world of western art. A native of Manhattan, he attended the Art Students’ League and went on to become a highly sought-after illustrator, creating book covers and illustrations for magazines like Reader’s Digest and the Saturday Evening Post. After moving to Wyoming in the 1960s he began painting portraits of both local ranchers and Native Americans he photographed on nearby reservations.
Born: New York, NY, 1926.
Resides: Wapiti, WY.
Art education: The High School of Music and Art and the Art Students’ League, both in Manhattan.
Proudest accomplishment: Last summer I was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. There are only 111 artists included, and it’s the culmination, really, of my first career.
Biggest influence: Andrew Wyeth has always been the yardstick for me because I consider him to be among the best realist painters. We were in the same gallery from 1975 to 1987, and I always wanted to paint up to the same standard that he did.
Favorite piece: If there’s one piece I could have back it would be a painting I did of Francis Setting Eagle, who was 941/2 years old when I painted him—the oldest living Arapaho Indian. The painting just flowed.
Major turning points: The decision, when I was 42 years old, to leave my home in midtown Manhattan and move to a cabin in Wyoming. I left security and success behind, but it was a great move.
How the art market has changed: It’s had its ups and downs like everything else—in the boom years of the mid-1970s artwork jumped off the walls, and I had people calling to interview me all the time. Ten years later I thought, “God, it’s over.” Today it’s not as predictable as it was—it’s a harder sell.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? A ball player—I always wanted to be a ball player, but I never grew!
Other interests: I read a lot; I like to be aware of what’s going on in the world. And I exercise—I row every night for an hour, I walk through the hills, I do 350 push-ups three times a week, and I hit a punching bag daily for 10 minutes.
Galleries: Big Horn Galleries, Cody, WY.
|Hay River Chief, pastel, 16 x 20.|
Harley Brown grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. After art school he focused on portraits of Native Americans living on reservations along the American-Canadian border. In 1976 he joined the National Academy of Western Art; he later won NAWA’s gold medal in drawing and the Robert Lougheed Award for overall excellence. A jazz pianist and a comedian, Brown is an entertainer in any crowd. His book Harley Brown’s eternal truths for every artist, published by International Artist Publishing, Inc., is hot off the press.
Born: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1939.
Resides: Tucson, AZ.
Art education: Alberta College of Art and the Camberwell School of Art in London.
Proudest accomplishment: Being able to follow my bliss all of my adult life, and spreading the good news that it’s great to be an artist.
Biggest influence: The knowledge that I’m totally flawed, and the ability to work on myself for a lifetime—that’s the spur.
Favorite piece: I’m no judge of my own work—I don’t look at a piece once it’s finished. The only joy is in the doing.
Major turning points: The first one came at age 7 when my dad started me drawing. The second one was in 1973 when Bob Morgan, who at the time was the curator of the historical society in Helena, MT, gave me a one-man show. Things had been at their worst—I had a family to feed and only about three dimes in my pocket—but Bob welcomed me to the market.
How the art market has changed: It’s bigger and broader and much more complicated. Also, when I started, there were just a few terrific artists. Now there are many great artists—I believe this period in art history may eventually be viewed as a grand renaissance.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? A writer in a simple log cabin near a creek in the Rocky Mountains. Or maybe a villain in a “B” movie.
Other interests: Writing, pondering, loafing (is that an activity?!), traveling (even if it’s only several blocks away), observing.
Galleries: Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ; Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, and Jackson, WY; Altermann Galleries, Dallas and Houston, TX, and Santa Fe, NM; Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island, SC; and Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO.
|Kino Morning, oil, 22 x 28.|
Robert Daughters has given Southwest Art the scoop on his true identity. For the first time he reveals that he was born with a different name and has two official birth certificates. The rest of Daughters’ story is well known to the artist’s enthusiastic collectors and to Southwest Art readers, who first encountered the landscape painter’s distinctive, expressive style in these pages in 1980, shortly before his work was exhibited in Beijing, China. The Southwest has been his inspiration now for more than 30 years.
Born: Trenton, MO, 1929. My name was Robert Warner. My mother died at my birth and my father’s sister and her husband adopted me, changed my name to Robert Daughters, and took me to Wichita, KS.
Resides: Tucson, AZ.
Art education: Four years at the Kansas City Art Institute, 20 years in commercial art, and I’m still learning.
Proudest accomplishment: Solving problems related to a painting. Also, the fact that I am still enthusiastic about working.
Biggest influence: I have been influenced over the years by collective artists more than any single artist. I am also constantly changing my opinions about what I like.
Favorite piece: My next painting! I always think the next one will be better.
Major turning points: Making the transition from commercial to fine art; moving to the Southwest; being a member of the Taos Six; and most of all, persistent, hard work.
How the art market has changed: The market is much broader and more competitive. The number of artists has greatly increased, but I believe competition is good for the industry.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? Let’s see! I turned a tractor over, I crashed an airplane, I almost sunk my fishing cruiser in Mexico, and my golf is lousy—so I’d probably be one of the homeless.
Other interests: My wife and I love to take cruises to many different places, and we like golf, our animals, and our children.
Galleries: Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, and Scottsdale, AZ. —Gussie Fauntleroy
|Vietnam Women’s Memorial, bronze, h 92.|
Glenna Goodacre was already an award-winning sculptor when Southwest Art first profiled her in December 1976, even though she had been sculpting for only five years. Today she is well known for several major projects, including the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, DC, and her rendering of Sacagawea on the U.S. Mint’s new gold dollar coin. Her latest project is the Irish Memorial, a large-scale sculpture in Philadelphia to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Irish famine.
Born: Lubbock, TX, 1939.
Resides: Santa Fe, NM, and Dallas, TX.
Art education: Colorado College and the Art Students’ League.
Proudest accomplishment: My progression over 30 years as a sculptor. I started doing 6-inch bronze children, and now I’m sculpting the Irish Memorial, a commission 12 feet high and 30 feet long. It will have over 30 life-size bronze figures.
Biggest influence:The sculpture I’ve seen on many trips to Europe. I’ve studied museum collections and outdoor monuments in France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, Russia, Ireland, and England.
Favorite piece: The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, DC. It was gratifying to create something that was so significant as a healing tool for thousands of women who served during the Vietnam War.
Major turning points: After many years as a painter, I was given a little lump of wax by Forrest Fenn, who had a foundry and gallery in my home town of Lubbock, TX. I made a tiny figure of my daughter. Forrest sold them like hotcakes and I was off and running.
How the art market has changed: When I started you could get lots of bronzes of horses, Native Americans, bears, etc., but sculptures of life-size children were pretty rare. Now they’re everywhere. Also, there is a great awareness today in America of the role of large-scale commemorative sculpture, boosted by percent-for-art funds.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? A home-builder.
Galleries: Altermann Galleries, Dallas, TX; Pam Driscol Gallery, Aspen, CO; Knox Gallery, Vail, Denver, and Beaver Creek, CO, and Naples, FL; Nedra Matteucci Galleries and Nedra Matteucci Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; and R. Paul Mooney Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ.
|Acoma, lithograph, 29 x 38, edition 225.|
Southwest Art first profiled Navajo artist R.C. Gorman in September 1972. By the time his second article appeared in May 1974, he was being referred to as one of the Southwest’s “internationally distinguished Indian artists.” The article continued, “One of the art world’s most fascinating figures, R.C. Gorman has been described as handsome, arrogant, changeable, often too generous, introspective, and searching impatiently in the many worlds in which he lives.” His portraits of Native American women are immediately recognizable and have become his hallmark.
Born: Chinle, AZ, 1931.
Resides: Taos, NM.
Art education: I am basically self-taught. I have taken art lessons and was mostly influenced by Jenny Louis Lind while I was in high school at Ganado Mission School.
Proudest accomplishment: I am happy that after many years of doing my artwork I am still happy at what I am doing. That is an accomplishment.
Biggest influence: My faithful and precious models.
Favorite piece: I don’t have a favorite artwork. Maybe one day.
Major turning points: The major points in my career? I don’t keep a record.
How the art market has changed: I used to sell drawings in the 1950s for $60. Now they are going for $26,000 to $30,000.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? If I weren’t an artist I’d be dancing with the Chippendales.
Other interests: Eating, drinking, and traveling.
Galleries: Navajo Gallery, Taos, NM; Adagio Galleries, Palm Springs, CA; Gallery One, Denver, CO; Southwest Designs, New Orleans, LA; Gallery Mack, Seattle, WA; Rio Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; and Nizhoni Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.
|Study in Randomness, oil, 36 x 48.|
One day before Saigon fell to the communists, Quang Ho escaped Vietnam with his mother, four brothers, and three sisters. The family settled in Denver where Ho eventually studied art and became a successful illustrator. After a sold-out, one-man show at a local gallery in 1990, he decided to pursue a career in fine art full time. His sensitive portraits, still lifes, and landscapes are marked by a lush palette, expressive brushstrokes, and a romantic quality reminiscent of another era. In August 1991, he told Southwest Art, “Painting is like orchestrating. There are so many elements to arrange and harmonize. I never have to search for something to say: I get excited about painting winter, for instance, because the starkness of life and the suffering are very real.”
Born: Hue, Vietnam, 1963.
Resides: Denver, CO.
Art education: Colorado Institute of Art.
Proudest accomplishment: Being able to make a living as a painter. Also, in 1999 and 2000 I was honored with the artists’ choice award in three successive shows. There’s no higher compliment than to be recognized by your peers in that way.
Biggest influence: Rene Bruhin. He was a brilliant thinker and painter at the Colorado Institute of Art in 1984. He was the first to open my eyes to the language of painting—to see the whole picture and to explore all the movements of art from representational to abstract and conceptual.
Favorite piece: My favorite piece is always just around the corner. That’s the fire that fuels my wanting to paint.
Major turning points: My first one-man show at Saks Galleries in 1990. It sold out. Another turning point was making the decision to become a full- time painter.
How the art market has changed: There are more artists out here now than there were then.
What would be if you weren’t an artist? I would be in business for myself.
Other interests: Playing golf, reading, playing the guitar, having meaningful conversations with friends, and teaching.
Galleries: Saks Galleries, Denver, CO; Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX; and Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
|Neapolitan Cliffs West of San Ysidro, oil, 36 x 60.|
In an August 1985 article in Southwest Art, editor Susan Hallsten McGarry described Wilson Hurley as a Renaissance man. It’s easy to see why after surveying Hurley’s wide-ranging background. The New Mexico painter graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, served a stint as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and then pursued a 12-year career as a lawyer. In 1962 Hurley left law behind forever to follow his real passion—landscape painting. Today, the successful artist has numerous works in private collections and prominent museums throughout the West.
Born: Tulsa, OK, 1924.
Resides: Albuquerque, NM.
Art education: I didn’t go to art school, but at West Point I was well-grounded in draftsmanship, perspective, and depicting terrain. I would dare say those courses were more accurately taught than at any art school.
Proudest accomplishment: My continuous effort to improve myself.
Favorite piece: Inevitably with time I become painfully aware of all their deficiencies.
Major turning points: Actually, I haven’t had any turning points. I started slowly and I started late. I had limited success and then I had sufficient success. And then, after about 25 years of painting, I had young people coming to me and saying I was an established artist.
How the art market has changed: It got better in the ’70s, especially in the West.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d write novels. What’s the use of doing any piece of art if you are not allowed to lie?
Other interests: I read everything from ancient history to trash books by Robert Parker (a Boston-based crime writer). I particularly love two historical novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—The White Company and Sir Nigel. I also like to design and build radio-controled model airplanes and model ships. Right now I’m also working on a model of Magellan’s ship Victoria.
Galleries: Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Altermann Galleries, Dallas, TX; Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island, SC; and Grapevine Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK.
|Gypsy Model, pastel, 12 1/2 x 9 1/2.|
Ramon Kelley’s long and successful career is a prime example of the benefits of combining talent with undaunted perseverance. As the acclaimed “painter of people” told Southwest Art in 1973, he stuck it out through lean times early on, when traditional realist painting was not in vogue among collectors. Since then, Kelley’s expressive, sensitive character studies have earned numerous awards and been featured several more times in the magazine.
Born: Cheyenne, WY, 1939.
Resides: Denver, CO.
Art education: I never went to art school; it’s just something I always wanted to do. I got into a gallery in Taos with my drawings—I didn’t know how to paint—and after about a year the owner, Jane Hiatt, said people were asking for paintings by me. So I went in the studio and started to paint. I learned by doing it.
Biggest influence: My family. I do what I do for my family—my wife and children. It just gives you that much more strength, energy, and belief in what you’re doing.
Major turning points: The first one was Jane Hiatt (owner of the Village Gallery in Taos). She said, “Before I die I’m going to put you on the map with my collectors.” She was 84 years old at that point. She put me on the right track. The next major turning point was when my book [Ramon Kelley Paints Portraits and Figures] came out in 1971.
How the art market has changed: In the early ’60s modern art was pushing hard and was replacing traditional art with the big collectors. So in the beginning for me it was very tough. The difference now is—what can I say? There are so many galleries in the country for traditional art and realism, it’s amazing.
Other interests: We like to travel. I’m a people painter, so I like to see what other people look like. It’s nice to go someplace and sketch and take photos, or just play tourist.
Galleries: Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Huntsman Gallery, Aspen, CO; Howard Port-
noy Gallerie, Carmel, CA; Heritage Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Mockingbird Gallery, Bend, OR; Paint Horse Gallery, Breckenridge, CO; Horizon
Fine Art, Jackson, WY; and Rollins Gallery, Edwards, CO. —GF
|Three Lions, acrylic, 30 x 30.|
After a highly successful career as an illustrator for such leading outdoor magazines as Field and Stream, Kuhn moved into painting fine art full time in 1970 and quickly became known as one of the country’s leading wildlife painters. A 1980 Southwest Art profile described his “single-minded pursuit to be the best animal artist he can”—a goal that inspires the artist to this day. His many honors include the Prix de West award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Rungius Medal from the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and the Elliot Liskin Memorial Award from the Society of Animal Artists.
Born: Buffalo, NY, 1920.
Resides: Tucson, AZ.
Art education: Studies at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students’ League, both in New York.
Proudest accomplishment: Being able to make a living doing what I love to do.
Major turning points: Quitting commercial illustration and deciding I was either going to paint animals without editorial supervision or not do it anymore.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I once had a chance to be a fishing guide, but I didn’t take it. I never thought about anything else, and it’s too late now.
Other interests: I love to fish, and I’ve been going on fishing trips to Iceland and Alaska.
Galleries: Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ; Collector’s Covey, Dallas, TX; and J.N. Bartfield Galleries, New York, NY.
|Of Rembrandt and Pushman, oil, 32 x 28.|
David A. Leffel
There are qualities that set the artist apart from the master painter. Among these attributes are intelligence, insight, taste, and understanding.” David Leffel penned those words for Southwest Art’s Creative Process column in the September 1988 issue, but he could well have been writing about himself. His moody, finely observed portraits and still lifes evoke universal beauty. Leffel is the author of Oil Painting Secrets from a Master [1984 Watson-Guptil]. He teaches at the Fechin Institute in Taos and the Scottsdale Artists’ School.
Born: New York, NY, 1931.
Resides: Taos, NM.
Art education: Parsons School of Design and the Art Students’ League, New York, NY.
Proudest accomplishment: Maintaining a certain level of quality in my work and my teaching career.
Biggest influence: Rembrandt. I may as well go with the best.
Favorite piece: My favorite painting is one called Of Rembrandt and Pushman. It is so cohesive structurally and color-wise.
Major turning points: Getting invited to the Prix de West Invitational show in the early ’80s. Then, I won the Gold Medal award, and the honor and exposure made a big difference in my career. Also, teaching at the Art Students’ League was a major turning point because I got a lot of recognition for it.
How the art market has changed: I would imagine that realistic painting is more solid than when I started because the modernists have used up all their “isms” and shock value. They have gone through everything, and the only thing left is traditional painting.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? A teacher of art or life. What’s true in art, is true in life. In a painting, everything you put down on the canvas either helps or hurts the painting. Likewise, what you do every day either enhances or hurts your life.
Other interests: Eating and sharing good conversation. I also love to read good detective mysteries and espionage books. I’m currently reading Killer in the Rain and Other Stories by Raymond Chandler. I also like to watch professional football—especially the New York Giants.
Galleries: Total Arts Gallery, Taos, NM; Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Overland Gallery of Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Cantor-Roughton Galleries, Dallas, TX, New York, NY, and Los Angeles, CA; and Whistle Pik Galleries, Fredericksburg, TX.
|Market Day, Provence , oil, 20 x 24.|
When Kevin Macpherson was asked in a February 1999 article what inspired him, he replied, “I am a plein-air painter, so most of my inspiration comes from nature. Landscape is my main course, but anything in the visual world is fair game. A subtle change of light can inspire me. Good work and passionate artists inspire me.” Macpherson is also a well-known inspiration to others. He is the former president of the Plein Air Painters of America, author of the book Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color [1977 North Light Books], and a popular teacher. Last year he penned a regular column, The Artist’s Voice, for Southwest Art. When he isn’t busy painting and multi-tasking, Macpherson likes to crack jokes.
Born: Orange, NJ, 1956.
Resides: Taos, NM.
Art Education: North-ern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, and classes at Scottsdale Artists’ School, Scottsdale, AZ.
Proudest accomplishment: A visual journal—366 paintings that depict a view of a pond from my window. One painting is representative of each day of the year. The proj-ect took five years to complete. I am proud of my continued inspiration to fulfill this self-imposed endeavor.
Biggest influence: Wanderlust. Plein-air painting is a wonderful companion for my passion for travel.
Favorite piece: Celtic Brilliance. I painted it in 1996 on a trip to Ireland and it’s one of those paintings that just worked.
Major turning points: In the third grade Mrs. Penny allowed me to illustrate my book reports. Also, the lack of parental aspirations allowed me to pursue an artistic career without confrontation.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? A stand-up comic or a comedy writer.
Other interests: Daydreaming. The act of painting is a small portion of what goes into a painting. The planning and thought process can be done while looking for my golf balls that I hit in the rough, while downhill or cross-country skiing, or while pulling weeds in my wildflower garden. I also like to write, teach art, get lost in movies, and enjoy the company of my friends.
Galleries: Redfern Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX; Shriver Gallery, Taos, NM; and Jackson-Kirkland Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM.
|Sea of Cortez (Mexico), oil pastel, 30 x 40.|
Miguel Martinez’s career began to blossom in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when his signature images of pensive, quiet women started making their way into galleries around the country. In 1986 he was featured in Southwest Art for the first time. The Taos-based artist reaches far back into his family’s long history in New Mexico, and farther still into his cultural roots, for the inspiration that feeds his continuing fascination with the faces of women. His goal, he says, is to capture and hold time, presenting visages that are both contemporary and universal.
Born: Taos, NM, 1951.
Resides: Taos, NM.
Mostly at the Taos School of Fine Arts (under Ray Vinella) and privately with Vladan Stiha in Santa Fe.
Proudest accomplishment: In the ’90s the state of California passed a resolution commending me on the work I’ve done. I was one of three artists recognized, and one of the others was [Mexican artist] Rufino Tamayo. Also, I’ve been included in American history books and in language and literature books for high school students.
Biggest influence: First, growing up in Taos, and New Mexico in general, and being exposed to the landscape and the diverse cultures and also the art galleries. Second, Mexican art. And of course, my wife and children—being a family and seeing a mother nurturing her children.
Favorite piece: It’s one I sold and then acquired back, Woman by the Sea. It was one of the first, if not the first, of this kind I did, and it’s a very powerful piece that has to do with the sea and with women at peace.
Major turning points: When we published my book, Miguel Martinez: A Retrospective and Biography, in 1992. Also when I had the opportunity to work with PBS on a promotional piece that ran for a long time all across the country.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d be involved in the auto industry in some way, probably in design and fabrication of automobiles.
Other interests: Right now I’m completely rebuilding a ’53 Skylark convertible, which is Buick’s 50th anniversary car. It’s an art form in itself. I also love travel and being with my family.
Galleries: Contemporary Southwest Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Adagio Galleries, Palm Springs, CA; Michael McCormick Gallery, Taos, NM; and Smith-Klein Gallery, Boulder, CO. —GF
|Garrett, watercolor, 32 x 18.|
As fluent painting landscapes as he is painting figures, William Matthews was able to move easily into the imagery that fires his imagination after closing his graphic design studio in 1989. The following year he was featured in Southwest Art for the first time. He told the magazine then that watercolor, with its “responsive, organic quality,” is the only medium to consistently hold his interest. His paintings continue to earn awards, the most recent being the 2000 Mary Belle Grant Award from the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale in Denver, for artistic achievement and community involvement.
Born: New York, NY, 1949.
Resides: Evergreen, CO.
Art education: My grandfather was a painter and my mother is a painter, so I started early on and art was always sort of the language we spoke at home. I also took tutoring at home and then went to the San Francisco Art Institute.
Proudest accomplishment: Being in the position of being able to respond to the world around me in an artistic way and be paid for it. I never really look back and say, “gee, I’ve accomplished so much.”
Biggest influence: My grandfather, Abbott Kimball, lived a really artistic, aesthetic life and was a great role model for me. My mother has always been a very loose and free spirit of a painter, and her style has always had an effect on me. And Andrew Wyeth has been by far the biggest influence on the artistic and stylistic part of what I do, although not as far as subject matter.
Favorite piece: The one I’m going to do tomorrow.
Major turning points: The first time one of my watercolors was reproduced was on Leo Kottke’s “Greenhouse” album in 1970, so I realized I could do this. And a big turning point was when I closed down my graphic design studio in 1989 after 20 years to become a full-time painter.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? Probably a musician. I play guitar, banjo, and other things. For years I did album covers, so most of my good friends are musicians.
Galleries: Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Spanierman Gallery, New York, NY; Peter Tillou Gallery, London; Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, WY; and William Matthews Gallery, Denver, CO. —GF
|Bears Nest, Rain in the Face, and American Horse, bronze, life-size.|
Sculptor Dave McGary was profiled in Southwest Art’s February 1978 issue at the very beginning of his career, when he was just 19 years old. The article states that “the undaunted character of his subjects and the innovative yet timeless quality of his designs foretell a promising future indeed.” McGary’s career has lived up to this forecast, as he has become known throughout the country and internationally for his highly detailed bronzes of Native American figures, often monumental in scale. Among McGary’s many honors is being selected in 1999 to sculpt the Shoshone warrior Chief Washakie; the bronze was recently placed in the nation’s capitol.
Born: Cody, WY, 1958.
Resides: Scottsdale, AZ.
Art education: At age 16, McGary went to Italy to study bronze casting for two years.
Proudest accomplishment: The placement of the Washakie sculpture at Statuary Hall in Wash-ington, DC.
Biggest influence: My wife Molly, because she gives me such incredible support, as well as my 4-year-old daughter. And also the Native Amer-icans because they have welcomed me into their culture to an extent that is rare.
Favorite piece: My newest is always my most favorite because I’m excited about it.
How the art market has changed: It has become a tremendous world of opportunity for me because there is a growing appreciation for three-dimensional art, particularly by artists who establish their own signature style.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I don’t know, because when you find what you really love doing you can’t imagine doing something else.
Other interests: Traveling with my family, fly-fishing, playing golf, and restoring a 1939 Chevy.
Galleries: Expressions in Bronze, Scottsdale, AZ, and Ruidoso, NM; Aspen Mountain Gallery, Aspen, CO; Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO; Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, Park City, UT, and Jackson Hole, WY; Shared Visions Gallery, Boca Raton, FL; and Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island, SC.
When an Ed Mell painting first graced the cover of Southwest Art in 1982, Mell had been painting full time for only four years. Asked to classify his work, he answered, “I consider myself a contemporary landscape painter, but I don’t think I’m an ‘ism’ yet—don’t you need 10 painters to make an ‘ism’?” Nearly two decades later, Mell remains in a category all his own, creating dramatic abstracted views of the southwestern landscape as well as sculpture.
Born: Phoenix, AZ, 1942.
Resides: Phoenix, AZ.
Art education: Art Center College of Design.
Proudest accomplishment: The evolution of my landscape painting over the last 20 years. I’ve matured as far as seeing the landscape in terms of color and form and design.
Biggest influence: Deceased artists from Maynard Dixon to the Taos 10 have been my biggest influences.
Favorite piece: Jackknife [a large bronze at the intersection of Main Street and Marshall Way in Scottsdale, AZ].
Major turning points: When I gave up illustration and started painting full time in 1976. I was an airbrush illustrator and had a studio in New York. I moved out here and decided to mend my ways.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? Probably in advertising.
Other interests: I have a couple of vintage cars that I drive and play with. I also collect toy streamlined vehicles from the 1930s.
Galleries: Overland Gallery of Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ; J. Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ; and Owings-Dewey Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM.
|The Last Crow, embossed engraving, 19 x 14.|
Over the past two decades, Ed Morgan has explored a unique medium of his own invention: highly detailed embossed reliefs that combine engraving with embossing and often incorporate watercolor, silk, and 22-karat gold leaf. Working with his wife, Virginia, Morgan can spend months on a single piece, which may be run through the press more than 30 times. Although he is best known for his historically accurate Native American images, Morgan also creates exquisitely detailed floral subjects and Japanese figures. Morgan was first profiled in Southwest Art in 1986 and had an image on the cover of the magazine’s April 1996 print issue.
Born: Independence, MO, 1943.
Resides: Taos, NM.
Art education: Learned engraving at Hallmark Cards and American Greeting Cards.
Proudest accomplishment: I just finished a triptych that took me three and a half years to complete. All seven pieces in the edition sold, which I look upon as the ultimate compliment.
Biggest influence: Since I’m the only artist doing what I do, I look at the work of other artists working in different media and try to bring my work up to their standard. For example, Howard Terpning is an old friend of mine, and I always try to use Howard as my competition and bring my work up to his level.
Favorite piece: I’ve done a lot of pieces, and the current ones are the ones I’m most excited about.
Major turning points: When Virginia suggested that we start adding silk to some of the pieces, we tried it and it was really exciting.
How the art market has changed: People seem more deliberate in making purchases these days. It used to be that someone would come into the gallery and immediately decide to buy everything on a whole wall. Now people take their time in deciding.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I can’t imagine not being one.
Other interests: We visit our kids and grandkids a lot. And I like to do beadwork.
Galleries: Morgan Gallery, Taos, NM, and Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ.
In 1973 Southwest Art introduced readers to a young Native American artist of Hopi/Tewa heritage who was just beginning to offer his vision of the world using a powerful combination of native symbolism and abstract, modernist art. Almost 30 years later, Dan Namingha’s long list of honors fittingly includes the Visionary Award from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Of international acclaim, Namingha is the subject of a recent book written by Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Born: Polacca, AZ, 1950.
Resides: Santa Fe, NM.
Art education: University of Kansas, the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
Proudest accomplishment: Probably opening doors and inspiring younger artists.
Biggest influence: My cultural background, which is Hopi; and the environment, the Southwest, the landscape, as well as the symbolism of Hopi. Also, the Modernist movement and the postmodern artists, as well as the abstract expressionist painters and sculptors.
Favorite piece: A painting which took me about 10 years to complete, called Hopi Landscape. I was trying to take it to a certain level, and I feel like I got there. As far as sculpture, Kachina Symbolism No. 2 is a large, three-tier piece, which was a breakthrough into a new direction.
How the art market has changed: When I started in 1972 there were maybe four galleries in Santa Fe, and today you have 300-some galleries. Also, over time I think the market has given Native American artists a better avenue, because when I started out there was just a small group of artists trying to scratch the surface, but today I think it’s going very strong.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? A rancher. I grew up working on a ranch with my grandfather and father on the Hopi reservation. Also, I was a musician. I play guitar, rhythm and blues, and I like jazz—I tinker with it.
Other interests: Traveling. Visiting museums. When I get a chance I like to hike.
Galleries: Niman Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; J. Cacciola Galleries, New York, NY; Susan Duval Gallery, Aspen, CO; and Vanier Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. —GF
|Running Rabbit, acrylic, 40 x 44.|
Art is a process of growth and exploration,” John Nieto said in a July 1980 interview for Southwest Art. For Nieto, that growth and exploration led to a deeper understanding of his Native American heritage. Using bold, unusual color choices, Nieto captures the essence of his Native American and southwestern subjects in a style that is distinctly his own. It’s no wonder he was selected to be one of the official artists of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, UT—to many people, Nieto’s work epitomizes the spirit of the Southwest.
Born: Denver, CO, 1936; raised in New Mexico.
Resides: Albuquerque, NM.
Art education: Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.
Proudest accomplishment: It’s the body of work that I’m fulfilled by. The fact that I’m able to make a living as a painter.
Biggest influence: The French Fauves. They used color like it had never been used before. If I had to create art in any other way than a liberated and unrestricted way, I wouldn’t do it. It’s been fun to enter the door the Fauves opened.
Favorite piece: I haven’t done that one yet—I’m looking forward to it. The best is ahead of me.
Major turning points: Showing my work at the Grand Palais in Paris as part of a 1983 group show of Santa Fe artists, being invited to the Oval Office by Ronald Reagan, having a one-man retrospective show in Tokyo in 1989.
How the art market has changed: Things are changing for the better. There was a time in the 1980s when just about anything sold. There’s been a maturation process in the marketplace—art collectors are more selective about their purchases. It’s a distillation process. The cream is rising to the top.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’ve always had a keen interest in music. I’d probably be a musician or a cultural anthropologist.
Other interests: Reading books about the history of the Southwest and driving classic sports cars.
Galleries: Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM, and Adagio Galleries, Palm Springs, CA.
|Flamenco del Celestun, bronze, 14 1/2 x 4 x 21.|
Dan Ostermiller was only 28 when Susan Hallsten McGarry profiled him for the April 1985 issue of Southwest Art. But even at such a young age, Ostermiller was well on his way to developing the distinctive style of wildlife sculpting that has become his signature. That Ostermiller devotes his time to sculpting wildlife is no surprise—he has been around animals all his life. His father, Ron, was a renowned taxidermist who took his son on countless hunting trips near their home in Wyoming. Ostermiller’s quest for subjects has taken him to remote parts of Africa and Alaska, as well as many points in between. In recent years he has been involved in a program that brings American sculptors to France to work in foundries outside Paris; he travels to the region about eight times a year.
Born: Cheyenne, WY, 1956.
Resides: Loveland, CO.
Art education: I briefly attended the University of Kansas on an art scholarship but hated it. I learned a great deal by working closely with my father.
Proudest accomplishment: My work in Paris—even the fact that I work there at all. Also, my work with the National Sculpture Society and my growth as an artist.
Biggest influence: All the two-legged and four-legged characters I’ve met along the way. I’m influenced by other people and by animals.
Favorite piece: I get bored with a piece after I finish it, so it’s always the one I’m working on. If you’re truly an artist and you’re constantly growing, it’s always that way—otherwise you lose your creativity.
How the art market has changed: Generally, it’s totally flooded with terrible sculpture—things that are a waste of bronze. I think these bad sculptures are being sold to an uneducated market. There are so many bad sculptors who are copying other people.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I would be dead. I couldn’t do anything else.
Galleries: Nedra Matteucci Fine Art and Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Spanierman Gallery, New York, NY; Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO; and Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX.
|Spring Grass, oil, 18 x 24.|
Authenticity has always been a key element in the paintings of James Reynolds, one of the pioneers of the western genre in the second half of the 20th century. When Southwest Art’s first article on him appeared in 1977, collectors already were being drawn to the compelling nature of his work. Barry Goldwater once said he would love to own every painting Reynolds has ever done, adding that Reynolds’ impact “will be around long after we all are gone.”
Born:Taft, CA, 1926.
Resides: Scottsdale, AZ.
Art education: School of Allied Arts, Glendale, CA.
Proudest accomplishment: In 1992 at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, I won all the gold medals: the Prix de West, the gold medal for best oil, and the Nona Jean Hulsey Buyers’ Choice Award for the most popular painting. I’m the only one who’s ever done that.
Biggest influence: Frank Tenney Johnson got me started, but I do like Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla, and John Singer Sargent.
Favorite piece: I don’t have one.
Major turning points: I started out when the market was brand new and I was getting $300 a painting, and it’s just steadily gotten better. It’s been a nice steady rise.
How the art mar-ket has changed: I was selling stuff here in 1960 and the market was just coming on. We’ve all been waiting for the bubble to burst for a long time, but for me, it’s just kept getting better. It’s great.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d love to be a writer, which I haven’t got the brains for. To have people read your book and be influenced by it, I think that’d be the greatest thing in the world.
Other interests: I’ve got so many hobbies it’s not funny: I’ve got a shop where I build furniture; I build models—ships, airplanes; I love miniature stuff. I travel the West for research, I love photography, I’m a pilot, I walk a mile a day. I’m up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and I’m done painting by noon.
Galleries: Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO, and Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ. —GF
|Crow Fair, oil, 44 x 48.|
Kenneth Riley started his career as an illustrator during World War II, capturing images of history in the making in the Pacific. After returning from service, he worked on the East Coast as a historical illustrator for such magazines as Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and National Geographic. In 1971, he and his wife moved west permanently, and Riley left illustrating behind to concentrate on painting. A member of the Cowboy Artists of America, he is known for his vividly colored and dreamlike images of Native Americans and western scenes. “Oh sure, I’m a romantic,” Riley told Southwest Art in 1989. “I look at things in a positive way, with rose-colored glasses, you might say. But you have to admit that the history of the West has a lot of romance in it and it is truly an American experience.”
Born: Waverly, MO, 1919; raised in Kansas.
Resides: Tucson, AZ.
Art education: Kansas City Art Institute; Art Students’ League in New York, NY; Grand Central School of Art in New York, NY.
Favorite piece: You have to hope that the next one will be the best one.
Major turning points: When I was in the service I was sent as a correspondent for the Coast Guard—that gave me a chance to actually put things down on paper. After that I went into illustration. Other turning points include moving west, beginning to paint for galleries, and joining the Cowboy Artists.
How the art market has changed: A lot has changed, even just in the western art market. The scope of the genre has broadened, and collectors are more knowledgeable. Also, the collectors live across the country today—not just in the West.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’ve always wanted to be a painter, but in recent years I’ve fantasized about making films. I have so much admiration for filmmakers today.
Other interests: Reading, going to movies, and traveling.
Galleries: Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, AZ; Altermann Galleries, Dallas and Houston, TX; and Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island, SC.
|Nancy in the Kitchen, oil, 30 x 24. © Richard Schmid, all rights reserved.|
One of the most respected painters in America today, Richard Schmid had already been painting, teaching, and exhibiting for almost 30 years when he was first profiled in Southwest Art in 1986. His influence and renown have only increased since then. Schmid is known for his mastery of direct or alla prima (one-
session) painting. Last summer he received the John Singer Sargent Medal for Lifetime Achievement, presented by the American Society of Portrait Artists Foundation.
Born: Chicago, IL, 1934.
Resides: Manchester Center, VT.
Art education: My formal art education was six years at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
Proudest accomplishment: Raising three children—or should I say, surviving it! Two are artists, Gretchen and Molly, and the oldest, Bettina, is a psychologist.
Biggest influence: Johann Sebas-tian Bach. I try to paint the way he wrote music.
Favorite piece: I don’t have a single one, but it would certainly be one of the paintings of my wife, Nancy Guzik, because she’s a perfect model.
Major turning points: The major turning point was in 1984 when I became associated with the Palette and Chisel Academy in Chicago and began working with a group of artists—drawing in a room full of creative people—instead of working alone in my studio.
How the art market has changed: I see the Internet as the major factor in marketing in this century. Even now it is absolutely transforming the whole relationship of artists to galleries. I would say that 75 percent of the paintings I’ve sold in the past two years have been through the Web site.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d be a musician, of course. A pianist. In fact, it was a toss-up at one time between music and painting, and then the army came along and I couldn’t take my piano with me.
Other interests: I’m a homeowner, so there’s a lot to do around here. I have a big tractor I love to play with.
Galleries: West Wind Fine Art, Manchester Center, VT. —GF
|Nice Catch, bronze, 15 x 20 x 11.|
Though she is best known today as a sculptor, Sandy Scott has worked—and achieved success—in several media. In May 1979, when Southwest Art first profiled her, her medium of choice was intaglio etchings. Before making her mark with etchings, she worked on film art, advertising art, and portraiture. In 1982 she cast her first sculpture. The rest is history; today, she is regarded as one of the top wildlife sculptors working in the Southwest.
Born: Dubuque, IA, 1943.
Resides: Fort Collins, CO.
Art education: I was taught and encouraged in high school by American Watercolor Society member Sue Johnson; I also attended the Kansas City Art Institute and took the Famous Artist’s Art School correspondence course.
Proudest accomplishment: Being able to make the transition between various types of media, having my work acquired by museums, and having my etchings and sculptures in the homes of collectors.
Favorite piece: I don’t have a favorite piece; however, the most important piece to me personally is Mallard Duet. Although an early work, something happened while working on it that shed light on the meaning of assembling strong and understood shapes to create sculpture.
Major turning points: Being juried into shows such as Prix de West, the Autry Museum show, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art show. Excellence is paramount—you simply must present your best work to the collectors, galleries, museum staff, and your peers. Also, working on my book Spirit of the Wild Things with Susan Hallsten McGarry. That intense experience—the book was written while I was completing new work for the 1998 Gilcrease retrospective—has had a positive impact on my work as well as my workshop teaching skills.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I would work in a profession that allowed me to be outdoors—perhaps as a fishing guide or a rancher.
Galleries: Columbine Gallery, Loveland, CO, and Santa Fe, NM; Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA; Pitzer’s of Carmel, Carmel, CA; Total Arts Gallery, Taos, NM; and Wilcox Gallery, Jackson, WY.
Gary Ernest Smith
By the time Gary Ernest Smith was first featured in Southwest Art in August 1984, he was already an established artist of some renown, having received critical acclaim and been honored with an exhibition at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Smith’s paintings have evolved considerably in the years since then, and his reputation has grown exponentially. He has gained particular recognition for his large-scale Field series, of which 16 paintings toured museums across the country in 1998. Of these paintings, Smith says, “The biggest problem I faced was how to take something so simple, so vast—just earth—and use it to create something compelling and interesting. I figured out that I had to work from the feelings I had about fields rather than the reality of them.”
Born: Baker City, OR, 1942.
Resides: Highland, UT.
Art education: Studied for an MFA at Brigham Young University.
Proudest accomplishment: The ability to grow in my work.
Biggest influence: I’m well schooled in art history and have gone to all the great museums around the world and studied art. The many artists who have most influenced my work include Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch, Maynard Dixon, Ernest Blumenschein, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Josef Albers, and Elmer Schooley, to name a few.
Favorite piece: Usually the pieces I tend to like the most are ones in which I’ve discovered something.
Major turning points: The most major was the decision to get out of commissioned work and jump full time into painting based on my own experiences.
How the art market has changed: In the beginning people were buying art because of the illustrative quality of it, and now people are becoming more sophisticated in their sense of quality, not following trends but finding art with more artistic integrity.
Other interests: I spend most of my time thinking about my art. I do have an interesting collection of about 150 pieces of original comic-strip art dating from the 1900s to the present.
Galleries: Primarily Overland Gallery of Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ, and through the courtesy of Overland, works are available at Maxwell Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Eckert Fine Art, Naples, FL, and Indianapolis, IN; Winston Gallery, Telluride, CO; and Trailside Galleries, Jackson, WY.
|Scoutin’ the Enemy, bronze, h 16 1/2.|
If a cowboy says, “Yeah, I’ve been there,” in response to Grant Speed’s bronze sculpture, Speed considers the piece a success. With warmth and a sense of humor to match his artistic skills, he’s been capturing the spirit and drama of cowboy life for decades. Speed has earned top awards for his work since 1966 and was first featured in Southwest Art in 1982.
Born: San Angelo, TX, 1930.
Resides: Lindon, UT.
Art education: I took as much art as I could while majoring in animal science and then studied art post-graduate, both at Brigham Young University. And I studied privately with Salomon Aaranda.
Proudest accomplishment: I have always tried to please my heroes, the cowboys. I also want to please the art critics and the historians, and I’ve had good comments from all of them through the years.
Biggest influence: Without a doubt the one name would be Charlie Russell, because he was so good at so many things: He was a historian, a cowboy, and an incredibly fine talent. And there’ve been other deceased and living artists who’ve influenced me.
Favorite piece: I guess my customers keep answering that question for me. The one piece I get the most comments on is The Half Breed. How can I contradict them?
Major turning points: In 1966, when I was accepted into the Cowboy Artists of America. I’m one of the few charter members still living. It’s always felt like a special honor for me.
How the art market has changed: When I first started out the market wasn’t as crisp and people weren’t jerking bronzes off the shelf. A few years later, after the formation of the Cowboy Artists of America, more galleries started popping up, artists proliferated, and there were more choices. Over time, collectors became much more informed and sophisticated.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d just go back to being a cowboy. It’s what I wanted to do and planned to do as a young man, and what I did for years growing up. I’d have something to do with the livestock industry.
Other interests: I love traveling to old historical sites, working with cattle and riding horses, and being with my kids and grandkids.
Galleries: Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, TX, and Meyer Gallery, Park City, UT. —GF
|Pears and Blue Vase, oil, 24 x 30.|
Daniel Sprick described himself as “only a beginner on the verge of becoming an artist” in a 1987 Southwest Art profile, despite having 11 years of full-time painting behind him at the time. He still speaks of his artistic accomplishments with humility, but others are quick to praise his talent. In 1999 Sprick was given a solo exhibition by the Denver Art Museum, and his work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art.
Born: Little Rock, AR, 1953.
Resides:Glenwood Springs, CO.
Art education: Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO; the Univer-sity of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO; the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York, where I studied with Harvey Dinnerstein. I also studied with Raymond Fro-man and Rod Goebel, and Wilson Hurley was an informal mentor.
Proudest accomplishment: Learning the craft of painting pictures. The craft of painting is a lifetime accomplishment, and that in itself is still a work in progress.
Biggest influence: The European tradition of painting, plus my dad, who got me started drawing as soon as I was walking and talking. Your first teacher doesn’t have to be a master, just someone who introduces you to the possibilities of what a pencil can do on a piece of paper.
Favorite piece: That’s like asking a parent to name a favorite child. I would hedge, like any sensible parent would, and say there’s no single one. The one I’m working on right now is the only one that matters.
Major turning points: It’s all been so gradual and subtle; things have evolved imperceptibly, like watching grass grow. But when I look back on 27 years of painting—when I look at the “before and after”—there’s a huge difference.
How the art market has changed: I have a myopic view of the market, but for me personally it’s just gotten better.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d obsessively tattoo and pierce every square inch of my body. I’d stare at my navel and live on a diet of mustard pretzels. I’ve never seriously entertained [the idea of] anything else but art.
Other interests: You know you can’t print that.
Galleries: Merrill-Johnson Gallery, Denver, CO, and Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CA. —GF
With a pragmatic streak and a quick, sometimes wry sense of humor, Oleg Stavrowsky has wended his way through various approaches to selling his paintings over the years and finally settled almost entirely on commissioned work. Yet his love of the western genre has remained, and his ability to capture the essence of a moment has only improved with the years. Stavrowsky’s work was lauded by collectors and dealers in the first Southwest Art article on him in 1982.
Born: Harlem, NY, 1927.
Lago Vista, TX.
Art education: Self-taught.
Proudest accomplishment: Having painted 10 or so very good pictures during the past 40 years.
Biggest influence: My wife of 53 years, as well as Andrew Loomis, Melvin Warren, and for the past 15 years James Rey-nolds, who in my opinion is flat-out the best living painter of the American West. Also, lately I’m infected with the work of James Havard, a Santa Fe artist whose stunning drawing and painting is always spiked with an equal dollop of humor. Then there’s Richard Schmid … but we can’t count him because he is pure genius and doesn’t really do westerns, thank God, because if he did he’d clean all our clocks!
Major turning points: When working for McDonnell Aircraft as a technical illustrator I was fired for lack of enthusiasm. I then became a commercial artist and spent some 15 years in a very lucrative career as a free-lancer, then quit to jump into western easel painting.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I have no idea and don’t even want to contemplate.
Other interests: Fooling around with exotic Italian cars, although currently I’ve defected to a kraut Benz cabriolet. Now I’m waiting for the next Diablo and the resurrected 18-cylinder Bugatti. Yes, 18! Three rows of six. Save your pennies, Oleg.
Galleries: Ninety percent of my work is individual commissions via my own ads. I do some work for Mountain Trails Galleries in Santa Fe, NM, Jackson Hole, WY, and Park City, UT.
After receiving a lifetime achievement award in 2000 from the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Howard Terpning could be excused if he were to seem nonchalant about yet one more honor in his long and distinguished career. But such is not the case, as you’ll see below. Terpning, who insists on historical accuracy in his paintings of 19th-century Plains Indians, was first featured in Southwest Art in 1975. That was not long after the artist left a highly successful 25-year illustration career to focus full time on fine-art painting. He has twice received the Prix de West award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Born: Oak Park, IL, 1927.
Resides: Tucson, AZ.
Art education: Chicago Academy of Art and the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
Proudest accomplishment: I just had a retrospective show in April at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, and they gave me a lifetime achievement award for contributions to western art.
Biggest influence: There are so many deceased painters whom I admire, it would be very hard to single out one influence. Certainly when I was apprenticing as an illustrator with Haddon Sundblom in Chicago, 50 years ago, that was a big influence.
Favorite piece: I can’t say. I like various ones for different reasons. For me to single out one would be unfair to the others.
Major turning points: Joining the Cowboy Artists of America in 1979.
How the art market has changed: I think collectors are more discriminating than they used to be. They’re more particular about what they buy.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I’d probably be a carpenter. I used to enjoy woodworking a lot, but I haven’t had time to do it in years.
Other interests: Spending time with my family and doing a little traveling with my wife.
Galleries: Settlers West Galleries, Tucson,
Star Liana York
In Southwest Art’s first feature on bronze sculptor Star Liana York in 1987, the artist described her strong desire to avoid becoming caught in a style or subject that proves to be popular but puts a halt to artistic growth. York has remained true to that intention over the years and has shown that developing her vision through experimentation can earn the admiration and support of collectors. She also offers her support to other women artists, serving as president of the American Women Artists and helping organize the annual Festival of Women in the Arts in Santa Fe.
Born: Maryland, 1952.
Resides: Santa Fe, NM.
Art education: Studio art at the University of Maryland, then at the Baltimore Institute of Art and the Corcoran in Washington, DC.
Proudest accomplishment: Finding that balance between sculpting images that I feel passionate about and still being able to find an audience and market for my work.
Biggest influence: More than anything, the Southwest—just moving out here, the land, and what I’ve learned about the cultures.
Favorite piece: It can vary day to day, but I keep going back to Ancient Echo, which was inspired by a large pictograph on the Laguna reservation. It sparked me in a whole new direction, with the rock art series.
How the art market has changed: I think collectors have become more discriminating. There was a period when there was a market for anything western, but I think that has changed and collectors are more sophisticated and understand the genre more.
What would you be if you weren’t an artist? I would probably focus more on breeding and training horses, and maybe I’d also be making jewelry.
Other interests: Riding, working around the ranch, and working with the foals. I love taking care of the horses.
Galleries: Contemporary Southwest Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Shriver Gallery, Taos, NM; Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, TX; Adagio Galleries, Palm Springs, CA; Judy Pollock Designs, Aspen, CO; and J. Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ. —GF
Featured in May 2001