Spotlight | Cowgirl Up!

Wickenburg, AZ
Desert Caballeros Western Museum, March 20-May 3

Tamara Ruiz, Ready to Ride, mixed media, 30 x 40.

Tamara Ruiz, Ready to Ride, mixed media, 30 x 40.

This story was featured in the March 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

In 2006, in an effort to “step forward on behalf of the West’s women artists,” the Desert Caballeros Western Museum brought 56 female artists together for a special exhibition to honor their significant contributions to the western art world. Now in its 10th year, the show and sale, dubbed Cowgirl Up! Art from the Other Half of the West, has become one of the most important annual events for western women artists in the country. The 2015 show kicks off with an artists’ reception and miniatures sale from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 20. The 
opening-weekend events continue on Saturday with Cowgirls & Camaraderie, an artists’ and collectors’ forum beginning at 11 a.m., and the Bash & Bid Sale, awards dinner, and live auction from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Festivities conclude on Sunday with the Chuck Wagon Breakfast, Artists’ Quick Draw, and Live Auction event from 8 to 11 a.m. The show remains on view through May 3 and features approximately 200 works by nearly 60 artists. Here we introduce you to just a few of the talented women participating in this year’s show.

Santa Fe-based sculptor Rebecca Tobey is well known for her bronze and ceramic animals, which often feature brightly colored symbols and other imagery inspired by the artist’s longtime appreciation for aboriginal and tribal art. A lifelong love of the outdoors and all living creatures has inspired Sherry Sander’s sculpting career. The Montana-based artist often sculpts animals she observes on her ranch, including horses, deer, bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and birds.

Terry Cooke Hall, All In, oil, 18 x 36.

Terry Cooke Hall, All In, oil, 18 x 36.

Also based in Montana, Terry Cooke Hall paints traditional western subjects in a contemporary style. “I use my training in graphic design and illustration to enhance my subjects with patterns, color, and textures,” she says. Similarly, Texas- and Santa Fe-based artist Sharon Markwardt is known for her contemporary, vibrantly colored renderings of 
animals and wildlife found throughout the West—from horses, donkeys, goats, and cattle to bison, bears, and coyotes.

Another artist blurring the line between traditional and contemporary art is Nebraskan Tamara Ruiz, who combines vintage photographs with modern imagery in her mixed-media paintings. “The juxtaposition of the old and the new gives my work [an interesting] twist,” she says. Jennifer Cavan creates whimsical oil-pastel landscapes inspired by 
her travels across the country and throughout her home state of New Mexico. She strives to capture the essence 
of a place, rather than producing an 
exact replica of it, in her work.

Colorado artist Kathy Beekman is known for her striking, minimalist pastel renderings of the rural western landscape. Her works tend to feature brightly colored old barns or other farm structures set against wide-open landscapes and vast, soaring skies. Texan V…. Vaughan 
is a passionate plein-air painter who creates impressionistic works in oil. Her subject matter runs the gamut from landscapes to figures to animals. “I paint because it’s the best way I know to communicate, study, and observe God’s creative work,” she says. —Lindsay Mitchell

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Featured in the March 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art March 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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