Meet the Western Art and Gear Makers
In alphabetical order by artist first name
With a life-long passion for good horses, Baru Forell has been involved with horses her entire life. She grew up on the rural plains of northwest Kansas on land that had been in her family for four generations. Baru started competing at the age of 9 and barrel raced in her first adult amateur rodeo when she was 12. The horses she rides are the ones that she has bred, raised and trained in ranch versatility, working cow horse and stock horse competitions. She has won championships in those events and is a board member of several horse and cattle associations.
After a varied career that included five years as an intelligence analyst and linguist during the Gulf War and Bosnian Conflict, Baru began focusing on getting a place of her own where she could have horses. Baru quit barrel racing in 2000 and started breeding Quarter Horses after buying a ranch in 2001 outside Wingate, Texas.
In 2006 she began gaining considerable expertise as a silversmith. Baru makes buckles, bridle and saddle silver, bridle bits, scarf slides, pendants, earrings, and bracelets. Her silversmith work has been seen at art and gear shows in Texas, California, Nevada, Wyoming, and Arizona. View her website at:
Billy Albin, a champion competitor and horse trainer, can take an untanned cowhide and create not just tools for the cowboy, but beautiful braided art. Billy braids bosals, quirts, hackamores, hobbles and more. He processes the hides, removes the hair, and strips the rawhide until he can work the braids.
Billy can create cowboy gear because he is a cowboy. The Hall of Fame Rodeo cowboy lives south of Comanche, Texas, on the Albin Ranch with his wife, Glenda. He started competing in the American Junior Rodeo Association while he was in high school and won championships in roping and steer wrestling. At Tarleton State University, he and a few friends formed a college rodeo team and captured the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association title in 1967. Billy and other team members were inducted into the Tarleton State University Rodeo Hall of Fame. He is also included on the Rodeo Walk of Fame in downtown Stephenville.
Billy’s father always had two or three vaqueros who would work as cowboys on the ranch. One of the vaqueros was an accomplished rawhide braider. As a young boy, Billy watched the braider at his craft. Although he never learned the vaqueros’ techniques, he developed an interest in braiding and began at age 16 as a self-taught braider.
Braiding is not only his passion but it’s also his job. He works 10 to 12 hours a day seven days a week in his shop on the ranch. He makes over 75 different items, including knife handles and sheaths and a few jewelry pieces. “I’ve worked at a lot of ranches, with a lot of good cowboys,” he said. “They saw my tack and wanted some like it. Glenda told me to make them full-time, but I didn’t think it would work.” Then he went to the Western Heritage Classics Trade Show, sold everything he had and took orders. Today he’s still taking orders and has gain respect from braiders all over the world.
Now in his sixth decade as a bit and spur maker, Billy Klapper is one of the few remaining spur-making giants trained in the old school of spur making by the legendary Adolph Bayers. He makes about 200 pairs of spurs a year and has more than 680 patterns in addition to accommodating custom spur designs.
Working with a small coal forge in his Pampa, Texas, workshop, Klapper makes one-piece spurs from dawn until dusk, and his dedication and the quality of his designs help them sell themselves. He is also one of the remaining makers that would be able to copy old designs from other makers or repair broken or damaged items or replace lost ones.
Klapper’s spurs are more than just a work of art; they are art that’s meant to work. Klapper knows from experience the wear and tear a cowboy can put on spurs, so he makes them rugged enough to hold up even if they're never worn and hung only on the wall.
Bob Moline’s Comanche and Pawnee Indian heritage is as much a part of his art as the influence of his early years on West Texas ranches. Moline grew up near Amarillo, Texas, helping his father break horses. As he grew older, he worked on other nearby ranches gaining experience and knowledge invaluable to his painting career.
As a young man, Moline learned the art of saddle making and earned a living for 13 years as a saddle maker in Fort Worth while teaching himself to be an artist. Oils and canvas were beyond Moline’s budget, so he bought a set of child’s watercolors for 35 cents and painted on paper. Moline painted passionately and before long was making more money painting than building saddles, but he still considered himself foremost a saddle maker. He couldn’t imagine painting for a living.
Moline’s first art show was at a bank in Austin, Texas, in 1973. After not selling even one piece, Moline was packing up to leave when a stranger walked up and purchased several paintings for $700 each. Then another person traded him a rifle for the rest of his paintings. This was the defining moment when Moline finally admitted he was an artist. He left the security of the saddle shop and began a new chapter in life as an artist.
Since that career move, Moline has been recognized as an outstanding artist by the Texas Professional Artists, The American Indian and Cowboy Artist's Society, and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Moline won Best of Auction in the Cody, Wyo., show in 1984. He was chosen in 1986 to do the poster art for the world-famous Cheyenne Frontier Days. Moline's work has also been displayed in The Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. A painting by Moline earned him the Governor’s Purchase Award at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Art Show and Sale in 1994 and remains in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum’s permanent collection. View his work on www.artnet.com/artists/bob-moline/
Brian was reared in the Fort Worth, Texas, area and graduated from Richland High School in 1978. He has worked or day worked on some of Texas’ largest and most prestigious ranches, including the Four Sixes, Tongue River, Waggoner, and Masterson ranches.
Although Brian has been drawing since he was young, it wasn’t until 1992 that he decided to take art more seriously. On days he isn’t working for area ranches, Brian draws and has limited edition prints made from his originals.
Brian’s art has won Best of Show at the WRCA Art Show and the Trappings of Texas Show in Alpine. His work has been featured in magazines such as America’s Horse, Western Horseman, Southern Living (Texas edition) and Livestock Weekly. Both he and his artwork also have been featured on Texas Country Reporter.
Brian still day-works and will sometimes carry his camera with him to take pictures and get ideas for future works. “I might take 1,000 pictures, and out of the 1,000 pictures I might find two I think might make a good drawing,” he says. “If it’s a major work, it usually takes 200 hours. I’ve put as much as 317 hours over a six-month period on one drawing.”
Brian resides near Snyder, Texas, with his wife, Karen, and their six children. Visit his website at http://brianashercowboyartist.com.
Bruce Greene is one of the legitimate heirs to a cowboy kind of art legacy that traces its beginning to Charlie Russell. It is a legacy based on a bedrock of artistic accomplishment tied to a familiarity and feeling for ranch life reality.
On historic West Texas ranches such as the JA and the Four Sixes, Greene has seen the sun come up between his horse’s ears on the backside of those big Panhandle pastures. It is this privileged perspective that enables him to show through his art the authentic essence of the contemporary cowboy. In addition, this Texas cowboy has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas.
Greene was elected to membership in the Cowboy Artists of America in 1993 and served terms as president in 2001 and 2013. He was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2018 and served as president of the Cowboy Artists of America Joe Beeler Foundation in 2019.
Greene received the Ray Swanson Memorial Award for his painting “When Freedom Isn’t Free” in 2007 and again in 2012 for “In the Brazos De Dios.” He received the Traditional Cowboy Artists Association award for a work best representing the cowboy in 2009 for an oil painting and 2010 for a sculpture. At the 2018 Prix de West, Greene received the “Donald Teague Award” and designed the Prix de West collectors’ bolo in 2019. He also received the Anne Marion Best of Show Award in 2019 at the Cowboy Artists of America Sale and Exhibition.
Greene sculpted the life-size bronze of a cowboy on horseback prominently place to greet visitors at the entrance to the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC). In addition, he will be the sculptor for a life-size bronze honoring the memory of Four Sixes Ranch owner Anne Marion. The sculpture will be placed at the NRHC.
Bruce and his wife Janie have restored an 1883 farmstead in the historical community of Norse near Clifton, Texas. His three children, their spouses and nine grandchildren know it as a home away from home. Visit his website at www.brucegreeneart.com.
Buddy Knight is a well-known blacksmith, cowboy, and silversmith. He made his first pair of spurs in his high school vocational agriculture class in Marfa, Texas, at the age of 14. Knight teaches welding to high school students in Kermit, Texas, but makes bits and spurs, belt buckles and jewelry in his spare time.
Knight has worked on ranches for over 40 years and began making bits and spurs when cowboying taught him the necessity of good quality working gear. Like many craftsmen, Knight began by studying other people’s work. In 1988, he furthered his knowledge through an apprenticeship with master spur maker Elmer Miller of Nampa, Idaho.
Knight specializes in contemporary cowboy-style bits and spurs of cold-rolled steel with sterling, copper, or brass overlays. He also produces hand-cut, hand-engraved, Western-style jewelry, conchos, and trim. He is featured in Ned and Jody Martin’s publication, Bits & Spurs: Motifs, Techniques and Modern Makers.
Except for the two terms he was sheriff of King County, Texas, Cotton Elliott has been a spur maker and cowboy all his life. Born to parents who worked for the historic Waggoner Ranch in Seymour, Elliott grew up on the ranch and has worked on some of the largest and most historic ranches in Texas and New Mexico. He knows cowboying and says “custom-made spurs and a nice bit are something all cowboys want.”
Mentored by spur maker Melton McCowan in Clarendon, Texas, Elliott recognizes that the old spur makers were blacksmiths first. His one-piece forged spurs are made in the Adolph Beyers tradition. Elliott owns Elliott Bits and Spurs in Quitaque, Texas, and takes pride in forging his spurs like the old spur makers. View his website at www.elliottbitandspur.com.
Edgar Sotelo is a fourth-generation artist who paints vibrant, accurate depictions of ranch scenes, charreadas (Mexican rodeos), Western landscapes and portraits. Sotelo was born in Durango, Mexico, and came to the United States to attend Texas Tech University, where he graduated in 1988. He used his pencil drawings to help pay his college expenses.
Sotelo improves his oil painting techniques with annual workshops conducted by prestigious Cowboy Artists of America members Bruce Greene and Martin Grelle. He also has been mentored by cartist Roy Anderson. Because Sotelo believes in experiencing what you paint, he has gone to spring and fall roundups on West Texas ranches and taken thousands of photos as reference material for his paintings.
Sotelo lives in Sulphur Springs, Texas, with his wife, Michelle, and three daughters, where they raise top performance horse prospects at La Joya Quarter Horses. Sotelo was the 2014 Signature Artist for America's Horse in Art Show. Visit his website at http://soteloart.wpengine.com/
True to her roots, Emily McCartney specializes in Western lifestyle and portrait photography. She is able to combine her love of the American West and the ranching way of life with her creative image making and passion for art. Growing up on her family's sixth generation cattle ranch, Emily understands production agriculture and those that live it. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 2017 with an agricultural communications degree and then launched her career as a full-time freelance photographer and artist. Visit her website at www.emilymccartneyphotography.com.
Garland Weeks traces his direct Texas roots back six generations to 1835 when Texas was a Republic. He was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1942 and reared in Wichita Falls, where he graduated from high school in 1961. He then graduated from Texas Tech University in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. While attending the university, Garland was a two-year letterman in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. He earned the honorable Dub Parks Memorial Award from the Texas Tech Rodeo Association in 1966 and was later inducted into the Texas Tech Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1992. Garland pursued his rodeo career in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association until 1973 after having served the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1968-1969.
Garland began sculpting as a hobby in 1970 and continued this moonlighting activity while also being actively engaged in the cattle feeding industry as a market analyst, commodity broker, and agricultural economist. In 1978, Garland took the plunge into making art full-time and has never looked back. After living, working, and sculpting in numerous states, Garland established his studio and home in Lubbock in 2000, where he is happily sculpting on the high plains. The Texas State Legislature honored him as the Official Sculptor of Texas in 1995 and the National Sculpture Society elected him to its Board of Directors in 2009. Visit his website at www.garlandweeks.com.
Gary Dunshee owns Big Bend Saddlery in Alpine, Texas, and builds saddles, tack and other gear needed by working cowboys across America. Born in Tucumcari, N.M., Dunshee went to work at the Big Bend Saddlery in 1971 under owner George Nix, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Sul Ross State University in 1973, bought the saddlery in 1978 and partnered with Bret Collier in 1983.
Dunshee represented the southwest region of the nation as saddle maker and roper at the national bicentennial celebration in Washington, DC, in 1976 and was the first Texas saddle maker invited to Trappings of the Great American West in Flagstaff, Ariz., in the 1980s. Dunshee started Trappings of Texas in Alpine and curated it for 16 years. He ranches in Gonzales and Brewster counties. View his website at https://bigbendsaddlery.com
Harold T. Holden
Harold T. Holden, or H as he is called by many, grew up in Enid, Okla., and is the first fine artist in a creative family that counts inventors, engineers and horsemen among its members. His art career began after he attended Oklahoma State University and graduated from the Texas Academy of Art in Houston. He began in the commercial art field and eventually took the position of art director at Horseman Magazine.
In 1973, Holden made the leap to full-time artist. Commissions from the National Cattlemen’s Association helped as collectors began to take notice of his artwork. Today his work is included in the collections of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma State Capitol, the National Ranching Heritage Center, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Oklahoma History Center and other prominent museums.
Holden initially worked as an oil painter until branching out to try sculpting. When he arrived at a point of working on more sculptures than paintings, he received his first commission to do a monument-size sculpture in 1985. The figure represented a cowboy riding at breakneck speed to make his claim as part of the Cherokee Strip Land Run. In addition to the sculpture being placed in Enid, Okla., two years later, the U.S. Postal Service made his sculpture into a stamp in 1993. Holden’s monument-size sculptures now total 25.
Holden is known for his attention to detail and particularly his sculptures of horses. Believing that an artist should know his subject matter, he has raised and raced American Quarter Horses and stays close to the cowboy and ranching way of life. His subject matter has always been the West, which is what inspires him and what he wants to capture in his art.
Holden received the Governor’s Art Award from Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating in 2001 and was honored with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Oklahoma State University in 2005. He was elected into the National Sculpture Society in 2004 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Sculpture Society. Holden was elected into membership in the Cowboy Artists of America in 2012 and named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2017, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Holden’s studio is near Kremlin, Okla., where he lives with his wife Edna Mae. Visit Holden’s website at www.hholden.com.
Herman Walker grew up on a large ranch in West Texas and became interested in art and sculpting while he was getting a degree in animal science from Texas Tech University. After graduation, Herman worked for a manufacturing firm and in his spare time concentrated on learning casting techniques.
Herman and his family moved to Kerrville in 1973 and opened a gallery and foundry. When his art career began to blossom, he began painting. After a decade in the art field, Herman’s work was well known and in many collections throughout the country. When the art market took a serious downturn in the 1980s, Herman spent 20 successful years in the construction business before picking up the paint brushes again in 2008. He has exhibited at art shows in many Texas cities and eight other states. Visit his website at www.hermanwalker.com.
Jason Scull grew up in a family that farmed and ranched on the fringes of the South Texas brush country. They were early settlers in Texas who arrived in the mid-1820s and ranched, raised families, fought wars, and carved out a place in the American West.
Scull’s life with cattle and horses coupled with his respect for the culture of the American West have shaped and continue to inspire the direction of his art. He studied animal science at Texas A&M University and returned to the family ranch, where he remained involved in the operation until 2010. His study of sculpture began in 1987 through the Cowboy Artists of America Museum workshop program. Additional education has come in the form of personal study with established artists, most notably Jack Swanson, Mehl Lawson, and Cynthia Rigden.
Scull has been a member of the Cowboy Artists of America since 2011 and received the Ray Swanson Memorial Award at the 2017 Cowboy Artists of America Show. His work can be found in private, museum and corporate collections throughout the United States, Canada and England. Scull has completed several life-size and larger sculptures. Among those are an equestrian sculpture of early Texas Ranger John C. “Jack” Hays at the Hays County Courthouse in San Marcos, Texas; an equine group of three running horses and a colt for Gaylord Hotels, the Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, Texas; and a life-size Spanish Colonial Vaquero and Longhorn Cow and Calf for the City of McAllen at the McAllen Convention Center.
Jason and his wife Dianne make their home near Kerrville, Texas. Visit his website at www.jasonscull.com.
Jayson Jones grew up on the Hudgins Ranch near Sherman, Texas, and is a third-generation cowboy who started making spurs for himself because handmade spurs were too expensive for a working cowboy.
Jayson has cowboyed most of his life and started working for West Texas ranches during college. While working for the Douglas Cattle Co. in 1995, Jayson made his first pair of spurs and has been building handmade cowboy gear ever since.
After college Jayson was ranch foreman for the Beggs Cattle Co. on a lease ranch near Whiteface, Texas. He moved to Colorado in 2006 and began playing music with the famous Flying W Wranglers, the world’s second oldest Western singing group. Jayson has been playing and performing music since the age of eight. When not playing music with the Wranglers, he’s in the Jayson Jones Bits and Spurs shop in Nogal, N.M., keeping up with the high demand for his spurs. Jayson also starts and trains horses in his spare time as a way of keeping his hand in the horse world.
Jayson has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, including The Cowboy Magazine, Southern Living, The Hub and more. His work is represented in almost every state in the nation and many foreign countries. View his website at https://jaysonjonesspurs.com
Jerry Lindley’s interest in spurs started at an early age when he was raised on a ranch south of Colorado City, Texas, and exposed to spurs that were mostly made by Crockett or Kelly. When he saw spurs by Adolph Bayers, Lindley knew that was the way he wanted to make spurs. Although his spur-making has been influenced by many spurmakers, Lindley credits Roy Anderson with convincing him to try new ideas and never give up. Lindley’s spurs are complex and completely handmade without welds.
Julie Oriet was born and reared in rural Montana, where beautiful scenery and big blue skies contributed to her fascination with drawing as a child. Although she did not major in art at the University of Montana, her early interest in drawing inspired her to become a professional artist and commit to her craft in 1992. Oriet primarily works in pastels to create colorful depictions of animals and landscapes, subjects drawn from her Western surroundings and her travels.
Oriet has participated in art shows in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Arizona and Oregon. Her work is also included in private and corporate collections around the world and in the permanent collection of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum and The Brinton Museum. She has had feature articles in Art of the West, Southwest Art, Western Art and Architecture, Western Art Collector and Travel Africa Magazine.
Orient lives near Cody, Wyo., with her husband, Western sculptor T.D. Kelsey. Visit her website at www.julieoriet.com.
Justin Asher is a 17-year-old homeschool student whose father, Western artist Brian Asher, taught him to make 6-inch to 8-inch knives three years ago. Justin makes a leather sheath for each knife and has primarily sold his knives through Facebook posts.
Justin is the next to the youngest of six Asher children and lives with his parents on a property south of Snyder, Texas.
Mary Baxter is a painter and sculptor who began as a Western artist when she moved to the Big Bend region in 1995 and leased a ranch near Marfa to raise yearling cattle. While raising stocker yearlings, she trained horses for extra income and reconnected with the West Texas landscape. Then she began interpreting the rugged beauty of the desert in her paintings. This was in the pre-digital age when the only place to have film developed was in Alpine, two and a half hours away. So she learned to rely instead on sketches and notes for reference, a practice Mary still prefers to use today.
While painting the Big Bend area, she supported herself for several years by training and trading horses. Sometimes she worked a season on the high-goal polo circuit in Florida or California. The sale of her work eventually freed her from ranch work and allowed her to paint full time. She especially likes making her living off the land without having to alter it in any way. Visit her website at www.baxtergallery.com.
Mary Ross Buchholz
Mary Ross Buchholz has a pioneer ranching family heritage and those time-honored traditions and values are a tremendous part of her life today. Mary and her husband live and ranch in rural West Texas near the town of Eldorado. Art has been Buchholz's devotion for more than two decades. She offers a glimpse of her daily ranch life using the most primitive of mediums, charcoal and graphite, and also by sculpting and painting.
"When using charcoal and graphite, I enjoy subtlety rendering the details, the different textures and the individual characteristics of my subjects,” she says. “I marvel at how black and white images seem timeless and impart a simplicity without other distractions.” This is one reason why she chooses to use charcoal and graphite as her primary medium.
"I hope to capture the viewer’s attention both from a distance and up-close,” she says. “I intentionally lead the viewer’s eye around the various areas of my drawings and paintings. This can be achieved by designing works with strong and balanced compositions, having interesting lighting, deliberately placing fine detail in specific focal areas, and using negative space.”
Another important aspect of her work is having areas of rest within the artwork. Like beautifully composed music, she believes art needs areas of rest or areas that have only subtlety suggested detail.
“The eyes are my favorite part of an animal,” she says. “I feel like that’s where you’re able to see the life. As people say, the eye captures the soul of the horse. I am blessed that what I enjoy drawing is right here out my backdoor.”
Mary is represented by InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas, and Montana Trails Gallery in Bozeman, Montana. She has been featured in publications including the Western Horseman, Art of the West, Western Art Collector, Southwest Art, America's Horse, Quarter Horse News, True West, Western Art & Architecture, Fine Art Connoisseur, Cowgirls Magazine, and Cowboys & Indians. Buchholz was also selected as both a winner and finalist in the 10th Annual ARC Salon competition and as a finalist in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and most recently, the 15th ARC Salon competitions.
For more information and tickets, please visit our website at https://ranchingheritage.org/nrhc-events/summer-stampede/
Michael Tittor was a welder in the oil fields when he first learned how to make buckles and spurs. Eventually he devoted himself to his silver work and began crafting saddle hardware, knives, jewelry, guns and bits. Within the last few years, he has made awards and custom pieces for Texas Christian University’s Ranch Management Program, South Texas College of Law and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
A real cowboy turned artist, Mike Capron uses memory drawing and traditional pen and ink techniques as a mode for translating the scenes and events of West Texas ranching onto paper. Capron has always had a passion for horses and the cowboy way of life. While working primarily as a cowboy, he has searched constantly for art instruction and describes himself as fascinated by “ridin,’ ropin,’and paintin.’”
In the early 1960s, Capron worked on ranches after high school but was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1965. Prior to going to Boot Camp, he saw an advertisement for art classes by correspondence. He passed the entrance test and was several months into the lessons when he went to boot camp. His art lessons were postponed while he was overseas, but he describes himself as “doing double time” with his lessons when he returned to the United States. “It was great and I had a perfect start to learning how to draw and compose pictures,” he says. “I had great instructors from all the commercial art profession, from Norman Rockwell to Harold Von Smidth.” Capron was able to follow up with other opportunities to study art, but these initial art lessons opened the doors of opportunity for him.
Capron’s art now reflects 50 years of living in the Southwest and spending those years illustrating his experiences and feelings as he moved and worked in the Western landscape. Capron uses oils, pastels, watercolor and pen and ink to draw the portraits, action illustrations, landscapes and animals of the Southwest.
After living many years in Salt Flat, Texas, he and his wife now live in Sheffield, Texas, where he works out of his own art studio but stays connected to the open and spacious West Texas landscape. View his website at http://mwcapron.com.
Born and raised in Tulsa, Mikel Donahue was taught about life on the ranch by his paternal grandfather who raised cattle in northcentral Oklahoma. It was Mikel’s maternal grandfather who exposed him to Western art at an early age with memorable trips to Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum and what was then the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
Fascinated by both life on the ranch and the iconic art of masters such as Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, Mikel has become in his adult life a perfect amalgam of his childhood influences with an award-winning art career and a life of breeding quarter horses with his wife Christine on their property outside Broken Arrow, Okla.
Donahue was inducted into Cowboy Artists of America in 2016 and is best known for his impeccable depictions of cowboy life. His drawings and paintings portray ranch life during the daily rituals of sunup to sundown work. Fascinated both by life on the ranch and the iconic art of Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, Donahue has become a perfect amalgam of his influences.
In May 2017, Donahue was inducted into the Will Rogers High School Hall of Fame, an honor that includes musicians Leon Russell, David Gates, and Elvin Bishop, designers Paul Davis, and Joe Johnston. Donahue’s numerous awards include the John Steven Jones Purchase Award from the Bosque Art Classic at the Bosque Arts Center in Clifton, Texas, the Academy of Western Artists’ Will Rogers Award for Artist of the Year, and the prestigious Premier Platinum Award and the William E. Weiss Purchase Award at the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale in Cody, Wyo.
He has shown in the Prix de West and Small Works, Great Wonders at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City; Quest for the West at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art; and Night of Artists at the Briscoe Museum. His work hangs in many museums, galleries, and private collections throughout the country and has been featured in Art of the West, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, Western Horseman, American Cowboy, America’s Horse, and The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal.
Mikel is a graduate of the University of Tulsa and a 33-year veteran and multiple award-winning
designer within the advertising/graphic design business. Visit his website at www.mikeldonahue.com.
Peter Robbins’ passion for the wilderness, horses and “the way of the cowboy” go back to his earliest memories of their small ranch in Oklahoma. Their one-eyed cutting horse was the embodiment of everything mythical and magical about a horse. He says that between the ranch and a steady diet of the Lone Ranger, The Rifleman and Bonanza, he was destined to pursue the romance of the West.
Robbins began his photojournalism career in 1978 after graduating from the University of Oklahoma. He freelanced for major U.S. newspapers and European and American magazines photographing everything from wars in Central America and the Middle East to fashion in Paris, Milan and New York.
In the 1990s he had the opportunity to photograph a West Texas ranch and reconnected with his passion for horses and the cowboy way of life. Since then he has put all of his time and effort into creating an incredible portfolio of Western art and photography. He has had the opportunity to work alongside and photograph many great cowboys in Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Robbins lives in Dallas with his wife, Kim, who also has a career as a painter. Visit his website at www.peterrobbinsart.com.
Rosie Sandifer is a Lubbock, Texas, native who lives and paints at her studio in Santa Fe, N.M. Sandifer’s career began with her training as a professional painter and evolved into a highly successful career as a sculptor. Her life-size sculptures appear in many states as public monuments at universities, corporate offices and sculpture parks. In 2020, Sandifer had a Retrospective Show at Brookgreen Gardens, home of the largest and most comprehensive collection of sculptures in the nation. Today Sandifer’s career has come full circle in a return to using pastels, watercolors, acrylics and oils to paint Western landscapes as well as pioneer and contemporary life in the West. Visit her website at http://rosiesandifer.com
Making spurs grew from a hobby to a full-time job for Russell Yates of Rotan, Texas. Although Yates still manages his family’s ranching and farming interests, he became a full-time spurmaker in 2000.
Once described by Texas Monthly magazine as “one of the state’s preeminent traditional cowboy artists,” Yates has garnered a prominent reputation among Western artists and collectors, partly due to his spurs receiving back-to-back Best of Show awards in metal works at the 2007 and 2008 Trappings of Texas exhibits at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, Texas. In addition, he is the past winner of the Adolph Bayers Spurmaker of the Year Award from the National Bit Spur & Saddle Collectors Association.
T.D. Kelsey grew up on a ranch near Bozeman, Mont., and rodeoed for many years in rough stock events and team roping. He trained and showed cutting horses for several years while also flying as a crop duster like his father. Between buzzing crops and breaking horses, he sketched and studied as a student at Montana State College.
When the Vietnam War caused a serious shortage of commercial pilots, Kelsey quit school and went to work as a commercial pilot for United Airlines in 1967. Several years later he bought a ranch outside of Denver. Despite wanting to quit flying to become a full-time rancher and artist, he found himself ranching during the day and flying 727s out of Denver’s airport at night. He finally quit flying in 1979 to devote all his time to his art.
After a few years of full-time devotion, Kelsey’s career as a sculptor took off in 1985. Now his sculptures can be found in private and public collections worldwide. He is an emeritus member of the Cowboy Artists of America and a fellow member of the National Sculpture Society. His works can be found on permanent display at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Okla.; Krindler Gallery and Nancy Draper Wing at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo.; Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont.; Owensboro Museum in Kentucky; National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyo.; Benson Park in Loveland, Colo.; the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri, and the ProRodeo Hall of Champions in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and two museums in Spain.
In 2019, Kelsey was invited to show at Masterworks of the West in Calgary celebrating the 100th anniversary of Charlie Russell’s Show at Calgary Stampede. In 2020, the National Ranching Heritage Center purchased 10 #1 bronzes from Kelsey.
Kelsey works out of his studio near Cody, Wyo., where he lives with his wife and fellow artist, Julie Oriet. Visit his website at www.tdkelsey.com.
Teal Blake was born in 1978 and grew up surrounded by Montana ranching country on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Growing up in his father’s studio looking at C.M. Russell paintings and reading Will James books inspired him to pick up a pencil and start capturing his own visions of cowboys and the American West.
Teal has been painting professionally since 2005 and believes he was predestined to become a Western artist. Teal has always liked to show what makes the traditional West: cowboys not always clean shaven, shirts not always creased, and their horses’ manes not always long.
His love for the tradition of ranching and cowboying is unparalleled—up before dawn gathering the cavvy, camping out on the wagon for weeks, and playing cards with the crew during a rainstorm. Blake’s portrayal of ranch life and the handful of people keeping it alive is authentic. He is able to capture his material and inspiration first-hand by simply being fortunate enough to work and ride alongside his friends and muses. No models, no costumes.
Teal’s labor talent and accomplishments earned him induction into the renowned Cowboy Artists of America in 2014. He has also been honored with several awards, including the Joe Beeler CAA Foundation Award and 1st Place Watercolor at the Phippen Museum. Teal has been featured in such magazines as Western Horseman, Western Art & Architecture, Southwest Art, Ranch & Reata and The Cowboy Way.
In 2011 Teal created “We Pointed Them North,” a Fort Worth art show celebrating the memoirs of Teddy “Blue” Abbott. Teal’s work appeared on the cover of Big Bend Saddlery catalogue in 2012 and 2013. His painting “Morning Gather” was used for the cover of Some Horses by Thomas McGuane.
Teal and his son Luca reside in Fort Worth, TX. View his website at https://tealblake.com/.
Tyler Crow spent his youth in the small town of Apache, Okla. In 2007 during his senior year in high school, Tyler entered a pencil drawing in the Oklahoma Youth Expo at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Winning a scholarship and Reserve Best of Show gave him a chance to attend a week-long summer painting workshop co-taught by Bruce Greene and Martin Grelle. That was the first time he had ever held a paintbrush.
Taking his art from talent to trade took time and development, but Tyler found his subject matter long before he ever picked up a brush. Cowboy culture and Western heritage have been part of who he is since his earliest days in Oklahoma. He has committed his artistic career to preserving the Western way of life and the contemporary cowboys who live it every day. Tyler feels blessed “to do something I love and to paint the American cowboy.”
Tyler lives in Hico, Texas, with his wife and son.
Wayne Baize has shown an interest in art since his school days in Hamlin, Texas. He grew up just a few miles from the famous Swenson SMS Ranch near Stamford, Texas. After high school graduation, Wayne set up a drawing table at Luskey’s Western Store in Abilene where he worked on portraits of people and horses.
On his family stock farm, Wayne learned the value of a good horse and helped break colts as a youth. As he developed his artistic abilities, his dreams began to materialize when he realized he could make a living by depicting his favorite subject matter—the life of the contemporary cowboy and his animals.
With encouragement and critique from Western artist Tom Ryan, Baize began to focus on oil painting. He prefers to paint Hereford cattle because more expression is visible on their white faces. He often includes his own cattle in his paintings. Although cattle are included in the majority of his paintings, Wayne’s favorite subjects are his horses. He is especially talented when portraying a horse and is known for his ability to accurately portray their muscling and structure.
Wayne has gathered subject matter from famous ranches all across the country, including the Four Sixes Ranch and the 06 Ranch. His artwork has been featured in galleries and shows from New York to California. Wayne was invited to become a Cowboy Artist of America member in 1995 and has served as a director, vice-president and president. At the annual CAA art show, Baize has won a silver medal in drawing, the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association Award for Best Portrayal of a Cowboy Subject, and a gold medal in mixed media. He has won numerous other awards and his art has been featured in major magazines such as Western Horseman, The Cattleman, Quarter Horse Journal, The Hereford Journal, and Texas Monthly.
Wayne and his wife, Ellen, live in far West Texas on a small ranch near Fort Davis where they reared four children and run a small herd of registered Hereford cattle. Visit his website at www.waynebaizeca.com.