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The Beauty Within Cowboy Art

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A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
A Charge to Keep by Jack Terry
One in Every Crowd by Jack Terry
One in Every Crowd by Jack Terry
One in Every Crowd by Jack Terry
One in Every Crowd by Jack Terry

Cowboy art is a beautiful thing.  It captures the many aspects of an old wild westerner's life of roping, cooking, riding, and fighting.  It also depicts horses, cattle and women.  This style even captures the beautiful sunshine and the harsh wind and rain.  It ropes in the serenity of a horseback ride and ties it to the full and rough life of the wrangler.  These pieces can be anything from a picture of a hat on a fence post to a full blown cattle run with outlaws included.  Cowboy art is something you can mix in just about anywhere because of its versatility.  There are pictures of hard and weathered men working to make ends meet, and pictures of young men just learning the tricks of the trade. 

Not all of it is rough and tumble cowhands though.  There are some that bring forward the beauty of the countryside as the sun sets on an old cabin and the only person you actually see is the wife calling her husband and sons home for supper.  Some might not even have people in them, just a saddled horse waiting outside a saloon while, presumably, his rider has stopped in for a drink. 

Perhaps Dave Paulley has it right in his cowboy art painting “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes”.  His oil painting depicts a man walking towards a little white church after having tied his horse to the hitching post outside.  It is a beautiful piece with mountains on the horizon and it makes the viewer see that the rough-rider was not just a rough and tumble kind of guy; he could also be a kind, caring, loving, church going man.  Or perhaps he is going to seek forgiveness for his rough and tumble life.  The artist does not give his description of this piece; he leaves it open for the viewer’s heart to interpret. 

Bronco busters are not only about the rush of the ride; they are humans who stop to enjoy the sweeter things in life.  For instance, Tim Cox’s “Spring Range” shows a man lying in the grass while his horse relaxes and his dog joins the laid back cattle hand.   Another would be Laurie Pace’s “Snack Time”, in which a young rider has sat down for a break and his horse decides that his riders’ hat would make a delectable treat.  It is soft in its humor but makes the viewer see fun in the buckaroo’s life. 

Bob Wygant’s “Cowboy Coffee Time” is another example of cowboy art that embraces the finer things in life such as a field surrounded by trees, a canyon and a peaceful lake.  The men in this piece are relaxing while brewing some stout joe.  They sit to enjoy some coffee while figuratively washing away the weary road they have come from and putting where they’ve got to go on the back burner for now. 

While the life of a wrangler from these pieces may seem easy, there were many things that had to be done that required a lot of patience and drive.  They were constantly herding cattle or fixing fences, serenading women and fighting off bandits, punishing outlaws or being one themselves.  The life of a rough rider was anything but dull, and cowboy art does a wonderful job showing many of the aspects of their lives.


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