Heavy Horse Love

It was pure heavy horse love last night at the Calgary Stampede’s Showcase Stir-up night.

Adeline Halvorson’s original artwork, unveiled during the special invite night, depicts a beautiful and kind-eyed gentle giant.

There have been few Calgary Stampede posters in the 101 year history of the Show as singular in theme. I thought Halvorson’s vision of the working horse for the poster, representing a noble animal at the heart of our western heritage, was both unique and brave.

Bob Thompson, Calgary Stampede president and chairman of the board, voiced it well: “While the painting celebrates all horses, it specifically pays tribute to the grace, nobility, and striking beauty of the heavy horse and all that the gentle giants have contributed throughout history, both at the Calgary Stampede and the world.”

While we walked across the Stampede grounds on our way to the Western Art Show, signs of the recent flooding were, of course, still everywhere.

Cleanup, most notably at the Big Four building, seemed to be taking place on a large-scale basis.

Still, under the glow of city lights, and the buzz of the clean-up crews and equipment, signs that the show will go on as planned, were abundantly evident.

And the Midway appeared nearly ready to greet the first of its fans for tonight’s traditional Sneak-A-Peak night.

At the Western Art Show, it was great to catch up and chat with a couple of Western Horse Review’s Artisans of the West, including Shawna Whiteside and Shelagh Blatz, two super talented ladies showcasing their work at this year’s event.

As well as clothing designer, Paige Callaway, also one of our Artisans of the West, pictured here with Shelagh. (Thanks, Paige for the use of your Instagram shot!)

I also had the chance to finally meet Doug Levitt, incredibly talented artist and storyteller as it turns out! This year, Doug was selected by the Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction Committee as the 2013 Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award Recipient, so meeting him was a special honor for me. One of Doug’s original pieces of artwork, (see it at this link), is up for Grand Prize of our Embrace Your West Photo Contest, the deadline of which (July 12) will soon be upon us, so enter your photo soon, if you haven’t already!

We enjoyed browsing through all of the pieces of Western Art Show, including two from our July/August issue featured artist – Karen Coe.

The various Artist Ranch Project’s also caught my eye, such talent and different takes on the subject of western heritage. And, so many pieces which would showcase beautifully at the log house. Sigh.

If you’d like to see it in person, Halvorson’s original artwork will be on display at the Western Oasis until it is sold next Thursday, July 11, during the Western Art Auction, which begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Palomino Room. Tickets for the auction can be purchased from the Western Art Sales Desk located in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre.

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