EARLY SPRING CHASE, oil, 16x20 inches, ©2015
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Western cowboy art holds a special place for me. It’s what motivates me to keep painting. People tend to think the cowboy’s life is glamorous, like they see in the movies. What they don’t see are all the little mundane, day-to-day tasks that must be performed, rain or shine, day in, day out that takes a little of the sheen off of that romantic image.
It’s a hard but rewarding life that hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years, with the exception of trucks and ATV’s to help out. I’m pretty sure cowboys do the job for the love of it, but not for the money.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “a cowboy’s work is never
done” or some version of that. The list is long. Between tending cattle,
branding, riding long hours moving cows and mending fences in hot dusty weather
or freezing cold, that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Besides the endless chores that must be done daily, horses are a big part of the picture. Cowboys break and train colts to produce a horse they can use on the ranch who is a willing, working partner. A good ranch horse is highly sought after.
I wanted to capture some of that magic in this painting. Sometimes cows have to be moved from the place they’ve been holed up all winter. The snow is more melted than staying, and dead grasses poke up through the bare patches. Soon a little green will begin creeping in and the next thing you know it’s spring again.
But a cowboy’s work is never done no matter what the weather. On a cold, early spring morning this cowboy is giving chase to a cow who has veered away from the bunch he was moving, and after a short chase she is brought back to the herd to join the others.
Although the cowboy in this scene was moving about 50 head
of uncooperative, bellering cattle, I decided to focus in on the horse he was
riding and the action as it broke into a gallop, chasing the cow who broke
While I was painting, my little granddaughter came
for a visit. She was very interested in my work so I let her “paint” using a
brush without paint. She didn’t buy that! I explained that she couldn’t use
the paint, but when I turned for a moment she just had to help me with my
painting. Luckily she picked the perfect spot on the canvas to practice. Whew!
No harm done, and she was happy.
EARLY SPRING CHASE, framed, 21x26 inches, ©2015
Early Spring Chase captures a moment in time showing the ranch horse who is a willing, working partner with the cowboy.