Western Artist – Sheila Schaetzle

Story by Piper Whelan

Calgary artist Sheila Schaetzle will be featured at this year's Calgary Stampede Western Art Gallery.

Calgary artist Sheila Schaetzle will be featured at this year’s Calgary Stampede Western Art Gallery. Photo by Emily Exon Photography

Sheila Schaetzle is wild about nature. It’s evident in her art: in how she paints radiant autumn leaves in a distant valley, in the way she creates light on a snowy path. This Calgary-based artist uses her Maritime roots and Alberta home for artistic inspiration, both of which will be seen in the six paintings she’ll have on display at the 2015 Calgary Stampede’s Western Art Showcase.

Schaetzle grew up in the Restigouche region of New Brunswick, the subject of many of her paintings. “A lot of my work is inspired by the colours in the fall and just nature in general,” she says. “My dad was a hunter and a fisherman, so we were always outdoors, whether we were on the beaches or we were camping out somewhere. As far back as I can remember, I have really loved being out in nature, amongst the trees.”

"Early Snow" will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

“Early Snow” will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

Schaetzle admired many artists featured at the Western Showcase in the past, but never imagined that she would be among them today. “Going to the art show was always a big part of attending the Stampede,” she says. She’s exhibited in the Western Art Gallery for three years; prior to that she volunteered by giving demonstrations in the Artists’ Window booth. She is proud “to be part of that now and have my work on exhibition next to some of these great Calgary artists.”

Her love for art began at a young age, filling sketchbooks as a child and studying art throughout school. She decided to pursue art more seriously in 1998 with night classes, as well as learning from books and experimentation. Schaetzle works with oils, acrylics and mixed media, and loves exploring different techniques. Her goal is to create a “painterly” view, “something that’s not necessarily what you’re going to see in a photograph, but something that’s more original and on the creative side,” she explains.

"Rocky Mountain Sketch II" was exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

“Rocky Mountain Sketch II” was exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

“I’m thinking more in terms of big shapes and concepts that aren’t necessarily based on realism [when beginning a piece]. I’m not thinking about painting a tree, or painting a house; I’m more interested in creating content and creating a structure that is more about shape and value.”

She describes her process as “freeing,” and often works from sketches rather than photos. “Even in the sketching stage I’m working out a lot of what needs to happen, eventually, when I get the paint on the paint brush. So I journal about the thoughts and ideas that I have about what I want to achieve,” she explains. These are broad ideas on the feeling she wants to convey. “Often it’s based on something that I’ve seen or experienced, or a memory that I’m working from … I believe in painting what you know.” This way, each painting tells a story connected to the place or experience it depicts.

"It's a Beautiful Day" will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

“It’s a Beautiful Day” will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

When creating artwork to submit to the Western Art Gallery, Schaetzle focuses on what will suit the venue, and also considers the Stampede’s international audience. “It’s an opportunity for artists to share all of the wonderful things that we have in the west — our mountains and our foothills. Our scenery is just full of beautiful landscapes, from our rolling hills to our green pastures, so there’s a ton of content that artists can use.”

"Million Dollar View," a new painting that is part of the Rocky Mountain Series exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

“Million Dollar View,” a new painting that is part of Schaetzle’s Rocky Mountain Series exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

When she’s not at work in her studio, Schaetzle gives weekly art classes at the Calgary School of Art, and volunteers in her local arts community. Her work is on exhibit at Calgary’s Leighton Art Centre. Visit her website to check out more of her artwork and her blog on an artist’s life.

2015 Calgary Stampede Poster Artwork Unveiled

Dr. Gordon Atkins, chair, Chuckwagon committee, left, and Bill Gray, vice-chair, Calgary Stampede Board, unveil Stavrowsky's original artwork for the 2015 Calgary Stampede poster. The piece will be auctioned off during the Western Art Auction on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

Dr. Gordon Atkins, chair, Chuckwagon committee, left, and Bill Gray, vice-chair, Calgary Stampede Board, unveil Stavrowsky’s original artwork for the 2015 Calgary Stampede poster. The piece will be auctioned off during the Western Art Auction on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

The 2015 Calgary Stampede poster artwork, created by artist Oleg Stavrowsky, was revealed at the annual Canvas Auction taking place on Thursday, March 20. The annual auction of chuckwagon tarps used for business advertising, proved to be a suitable venue for the chuckwagon-themed painting. The artwork pays homage to the chuckwagon drivers and horses that have been an integral part of the Stampede for the past 91 years.

“This year, I wanted the insert some action into the poster — and nothing speaks of action more than the chuckwagon races,” says Calgary Stampede Vice-Chairman of the board, Bill Gray.

“The chuckwagon races have been a part of the Stampede since 1923 and are one of the most exciting events during the 10-day Stampede. To capture this iconic event, I chose an artist who has a particular talent for bringing his subjects to life.”

Gray commissioned Stavrowsky to create the piece himself, as it is the official duty of the incoming president to choose a potential artist, and Gray will become Calgary Stampede president and chairman of the board in May 2015.

Stavrowsky’s original artwork depicts the thundering chuckwagon races of the Calgary Stampede. The stunning detail in the piece was achieved through Stavrowsky’s three-part process. Initial pencil sketches were completed then he built a wooden “scale model” of wagons for an accurate reference for the painting the figures and horses in the piece are painted from life, real life and real people.

In August of 2013, Stavrowsky was one of the first artists to become a member of the Russell Skull Society of Artists, a new elite group of contemporary western skills.

“Being granted the opportunity to create the artwork for the 2015 Calgary Stampede poster was an honour,” says Stavrowsky. “Western art is my passion; there are so many aspects of western heritage that I could capture. I chose to paint the chuckwagon to represent the spirit and action of the Calgary Stampede.”

The Calgary Stampede has been creating posters for more than 100 years. Although they have now become a collector’s piece, they were originally used as the primary form of promotion for the event.

The 2015 original artwork will be on display at the Western Oasis until it is sold during the Western Art Auction on Thursday, July 10, 2014 in the Palomino Room, BMO Centre. Tickets for the auction can be purchased from the Western Art Sales Desk located in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre.

A Visit to Wickenburg


Photos by Deanna Kristensen

About 60 miles northwest of Phoenix and nestled into the Sonoran Desert lies the cowboy town of Wickenburg, Arizona. With a population hovering around 7,000, this town is all about good country living, with a healthy measure of Wild West thrown in. We visited just this past week to deliver a few of the issues containing our first Snowbirds Guide to Riding in Arizona.

While there we decided to pop into the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. The space is small and intimate with the first floor housing one of the most impressive collections of western art. Just about every iconic western painter and sculptor of the 20th century is represented here in original work, including works by George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, Joseph Henry Sharp, Oscar Berninghaus, Joe Beeler, Harrison Begay and several stunning bronzes by the likes of Earle Heikka and Gib Singleton. Right next to Charlie Russell’s iconic The Navajo, is Frederic Remington’s 1890 Vaquero. That sort of thing. It took our breath away.

Heading out of town we stopped at a recommended and local favourite – the Cowboy Trading Post. Another worthwhile stop, it’s a divine little mix of gear and cowboy accruements.

“We call it Cowboy Ecletic,” said owner Connie Lynne, who explained the town of Wickenburg really comes alive with horse activity from late October to March. Known as the “team roping capital of the world,” the town is buzzing all winter long with ropings every day of the week. Connie and her partner Tim Pearce, know their clientele well. Pearce is a local farrier, horse trainer and roper, who has been involved in the local horse community for 30 years. With all the staff combined, Lynne notes the store has a century-plus worth of experience among all of those who work here.

By the time I left I was privy to some local western trivia, had a rundown of the incredible western performance talent in the area, such as cutter Todd Adolf, Buddy Uldrickson, and new talent in the area like Jaton Lord, Ray Hunt’s grandson,  who had just returned to his place at nearby Skull Valley from this years Legacy of Legends in Las Vegas.

Finally, I made a sweet birthday present purchase. All in a day’s work. (smile)

Cowboy Trading Post

Owner Connie Lynne, left, and one of her knowledgeable crew.

Rancho Rio

Team Roping at Rancho Rio in Wickenburg.


5 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

One of the real gratifying perks of my job is the pleasure of meeting the western artists and artisans whose work I’ve admired from afar, as over the years, we’ve structured the content of the magazine to include more of a cultural bend and showcase the vibe of art and crafts in the western world. Consequently, the scope of my Christmas shopping list takes a considerable dabble into this, and we’re all the better for it, supporting our local economy, leaving a gentler footprint on the world, and often gifting pieces bound to become family treasures in the generations to come.

Here’s a few the interesting paths we’ve wandered down lately.

Though the Calgary floods temporarily closed The Van Ginkel Art Gallery – housed in one of the oldest buildings in historic Inglewood – the work of artist, Paul Van Ginkel can again be viewed in all of it’s breathtaking beauty, now that the gallery is open again.

See Paul’s Facebook page for a glimpse of what he’s been working on (horses!), and while you’re visiting be sure to purchase one of his calendars, illustrated with his work. Only $20 and 100% of the donations go to Calgary based charity HOPEthiopia (www.hopethiopia.com).

The Van Ginkel Art Gallery has limited hours, be sure to check before you go.

Nanton, Alberta, western artist, Shannon Lawlor has a great Christmas idea – custom hand painted brands. Here’s a collage of several brands shown here on different colours of hide. Hand painted on 4″ x 4″ squares, they make a unique gift idea for those with brands of their own.

Artist Gena LaCoste brings the Living West to life through her watercolors – horses, cowboys and cowgirls, flowers and heifers, and other gorgeously interpreted western expressions. For your little ones, she’s reprinted her books, “Horses” and “Living in the West” just in time for Christmas giving. They are full colour, about 40 pages, 8 x 10 inch soft-cover books, brimming from cover to cover with Gena’s beautiful paintings.

A perennial favourite in the Western Horse Review offices, western photographer Kim Taylor’s 2014 day planner is just as perfect as every year preceding it. I’ve a stack of these in my office, and often find myself flipping back to find a date or notation I need from a previous year.

Wanda Whaley’s beautiful slate paintings continue to awe me. She also paints on buffalo hide, birch bark and clay, working with organic hand-made paints. It’s about as close to 50,000 years ago as art can be. Check out her new work here. 

Finally, add a little western Christmas music to your day, with the Jeremy Neal Willis CD, Remembering Christmas, available at the Horse Barn in Kamloops, B.C., and Cowboys Choice in Vernon, B.C., or on cdbaby.

Postscript: Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s 6 Weeks to Christmas Contest. We have a winner: Missy Merrill-Davies, contact us at [email protected] by next Friday to retrieve your beautiful Paige Albrecht hand-crafted cowhide belt.

Artisans of the West – Jan Daley

Our March 2013 issue featured the Ultimate Artisans of the West. Over the next few months, we’ll profile some of the talented artisans we met, and whose work we fell in love with. To see the full feature, order the back issue.

Back home, with a studio window that faces the western hills, Daley draws inspiration from her surroundings on the ranch.

Jan Daley

Granum, Alberta

Jan Daley is a relative newcomer to the business of being an artisan, with her Juniper Creek sign hanging just a scant two years. Yet the craft didn’t emerge as an epiphany of middle age, but more like a coming of age for a long-harboured passion.

A freehand native etch wrist cuff.

“From a wee girl I’ve always had an interest in metal, wood, and stone and all the artistic avenues I’ve explored through my life have absolutely led to this right here, right now. About 25 years ago I picked up some goldsmithing textbooks and not understanding a word they held, they were set aside. Perhaps the timing wasn’t right. A few years ago I ran across those books and away I went. Fortunately, everything has fallen into place and each of the other artistic avenues has played a contributing factor.”

An oxidized flower concho.

Jan and her husband Mark Daley are deeply immersed in the ranching community. If you were to drive into the foothills of Southwestern Alberta west of Granum and into their ranch, you would most likely find her helping out on the family ranch or in the practice pen working her cutting horse. Her father, Kerm Stav, was the first cutting horse champion of Canada and she’s carried on the torch, with a fierce competitive edge in the same sport.

Combining silver with such natural elements as stone, wood, bone and horsehair she creates pieces that compliment both contemporary and western lifestyles.

Back home, with a studio window that faces the western hills, Daley draws inspiration from her surroundings on the ranch. Combining silver with such natural elements as stone, wood, bone and horsehair she creates pieces that compliment both contemporary and western lifestyles.

Camelite lattice garden wrist cuff.

A ranch gal for all of her life she carries a strong opinion on what western culture means.

“We could spend days talking about this one. It’s keeping your promise on a handshake, which, unfortunately seems to be fading.  It’s respecting and getting to know your neighbour as you would have them respect and get to know you. When people offer to help its because they really want to help, don’t deny them. It’s long days in the field whether on horseback or on tractor. It’s sleep-deprived stormy days and nights calving cows. But when the heat from the sun starts to inject its power into the spring days, it’s hearing the cows rip the new blades of grass as their calves lay soaking up the rays. It’s a newborn colt finding its first legs. It’s the joy and pride of watching the next generations carry on the western tradition.”

Ribbon rock scarf slide.

See more of Jan Daley’s work at Juniper Creek.

~ Ingrid Schulz

Art, Whisky & Cake Contest

A few weeks ago we announced the Art, Whisky & Cake Contest. It was your chance to nominate an up-and-coming artist as Alberta Whisky Cake’s newest Unbridled Spirit selection. It’s been fun working with the Whisky Baker, Kamla McGonigal, and her company’s mission of promoting the western culture, especially in light of the recent flooding devastation in Alberta. The theme fits beautifully with the “unfolding the real West” mission statement of Western Horse Review, and besides, who could resist partnering with such an enthusiastic entrepreneur as Kam.

Check back here for the original post, but the gist of the contest is that each Alberta Whisky Cake comes with an exclusive AWC Unbridled Spirits certificate, which can be presented directly to a select list of AWC artists to receive $35 off of your purchase price, on an individual piece of art valued at $100 or more. Viewers were charged with nominating their favorite artists to be the next Unbridled Spirit. These artists are folks who are involved heavily in the arts, and have not yet become renowned or rewarded for their exceptional dedication to their creative work.

Kam was charged with choosing three finalists, and via this post and Facebook, you get to determine one final Unbridled Spirit winner.

When she wasn’t testing out new recipes in her kitchen, Kam poured over all the nominations and began to make her choices. I could tell she was having a difficult time; given all the amazing talent that had been dished up, choosing three finalists was going to be difficult.

Sometime during the process she wondered in an e-mail to me. . . ” if I should just go with using ALL of these (love them all!)”

No, Kam, you have to choose three. Those are the rules.

So, she did. She picked three artists, and I’m going to show you a piece of each of their work here. In the comment section, go ahead and vote on your favorite. The bonus: all original nominations notes and all votes will go into a hat and we’ll draw a winner for an Alberta Whisky Cake.

I suppose I can’t really vote, but if I could, I would be all over this for that reason alone.

Meet the finalists:

Take Your Eight and Shove It by Karen Coe.

Karen Coe is a Lethbridge, Alberta artist who recently received the distinction of having two of her pieces juried into the prestigious Calgary Stampede Art Auction.

Ranch Branding by Julia Palmer.

Julia Palmer is a photographer and rancher who lives in southern Alberta. Her subject matter is primarily cattle, cowboys and the changing seasons.

Between Classes by Heather Gessell.

Heather Gessell is a fine artist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with a focus on pets, horses and vintage cars.

There you have it, three talented western artists. Vote for your favorite in the comment section below and be entered to win an Alberta Whisky Cake!

Artisans of the West – Scott Hardy

Scott Hardy, of Longview, Alberta is one of Canada’s most renowned silversmiths and founding member of the Traditional Cowboys Arts Association.

Our March 2013 issue featured the Ultimate Artisans of the West. Over the next few months, we’ll profile some of the talented artisans we met, and whose work we fell in love with. To see the full feature, order the back issue 

Hardy’s designs push the limits of his craft, but he stays true to the tradition of the art of silversmithing.

Some of the most fateful things happen in the most unlikely ways. For Traditional Cowboys Arts Association (TCAA) silversmith Scott Hardy, it all started with an advertisement in the paper.

“I had cowboyed in the mountains, shoed horses for years and welded, all trying to find a way to make a living so Leslie (Scott’s wife) and I could buy some land to raise cattle and horses. I came across an ad for a Continuing Education course at Mount Royal University in Calgary for beginning silversmithing. After completing the night course, I started creating pieces for family and friends in my basement and in 1981, I opened my silver shop.”

Now, over 30 years later, the rest is, indeed, history. Although he doesn’t travel to trade shows to exhibit and sell his work, he does attend the Traditional Cowboys Arts Association Exhibition and Sale held at the National Cowboy & Western Museum in Oklahoma City every October. Hardy’s work is displayed in a handful of galleries, and as with all artists that grow with the times, he gets a fair amount of traffic through his website.

Hardy’s pieces are all works of art, with a lead time of 2-3 months for each order.

“I am a founding member of the TCAA. Their mission statement is simple – the TCAA is dedicated to preserving and promoting the skills of saddle making, bit and spur making, silversmithing and rawhide braiding and the role of these traditional crafts in representing the cowboy culture of the North American West. Over the years, we have taught over 300 craftspeople in workshops, personally mentored over 235 craftspeople, have given out over $70,000 in scholarships and now host an Emerging Artist Competition and a fellowship. But the most important learning tool we have is our annual Exhibition and Sale at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum every October. For this event, our members are required to bring their best works, creating pieces that push their artistic and technical abilities further than ever before.

This is important for many reasons; it inspires artists and craftspeople to move ahead with their own work and show the public buyers and collectors what can be achieved. It also makes the TCAA members strive each year to expand their abilities, which flows through to their everyday work. For me personally it has opened a world of knowledge. Western silversmithing is my passion, pleasure and profession.”

A founding member of the TCAA, Hardy’s work goes above and beyond what would be expected of a bit and spur maker.

After such a lengthy career in the industry, Hardy’s biggest challenge now is time. Although he is happy with his work, he humbly adds that he still feels he has a lot to learn and accomplish. Regardless, he feels a passion for what he does.

“Silver work always fascinated me. Growing up, there were always a lot of buckles and horse gear around, but what really amazed me was a silver tea service set my great Grandma had brought from England. It was hard to believe a person had created those pieces. It is important to carry on this art because it is the culture of the West; the equipment we use, the way we embellish them, the buckles we wear were all created in the North American West. They came from cultures all over the world, brought here and morphed into what worked best for us. The North American West, the way we work stock, the areas we cover in that work is truly unique in the world. We should be proud of that!”

See more of Scott Hardy’s work at www.scotthardy.com.

~ story by Dainya Sapergia

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.

Rodeo Poster Unveiled

If you're Ponoka-bound for the 77th edition of the Ponoka Stampede next week, you might want to take a bit of collectible memorabilia home with you.

Kicking off a series of original paintings depicting a significant person or event in Ponoka's rich rodeo history, the 77th year poster features World Class Saddle Bronc Rider Rod Hay. Among too many accolades to mention, (he captured the Ponoka Stampede Saddle Bronc Riding Championship title three times) his natural riding ability and classy style is considered to be a defining career achievement by rodeo cowboys and fans alike. Rod Hay's effortless-looking style is skillfully portrayed in watercolor by artist and rodeo entertainer Ash Cooper.

These two cowboys have shared the rodeo arena spotlight for many years and Ash Coopers' first hand knowledge culminated into a true to life painting of the famous rodeo athlete. Saddle bronc riding is often described as a true art form and through his paint brush Ash Cooper has captured the action. This year there are 77 limited edition high-quality artist prints available for purchase, each individually signed by Ash Cooper and Rod Hay. These highly collectable poster sized prints give rodeo fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to seize a single moment where rodeo, art and history intertwine. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these prints are donated to the Tom Butterfield Creating Cowboys Scholarship Fund.

The original painting will be made available for viewing during Stampede week at the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Ponoka Stampede Western Art and Gift Show and will be sold with the artist present at the 3rd Annual Ponoka Stampede Live Art Auction set for June 30th at 4 pm in the Stagecoach Saloon.