August Art

While the beginning of autumn appears imminent, I’m enjoying these last few days of summer. I trust you are as well.

I have a few things to share with you.

First of all, great news! Fabulous news!

Our good friend and fabulous artist, Shannon Lawlor, has recently had a piece accepted into a prestigious international exhibition and sale.

Read on:

“The American Plains Artists has accepted artwork by Shannon Lawlor for inclusion in its 26th Annual Juried Exhibit & Sale to be held at the Great Plains Art Museum, Lincoln, NE, Sept. 3-Nov. 28, 2010. Four hundred fourteen entries were received from 154 artists from all across the USA and Canada. One hundred thirty-six artworks from 98 artists were accepted into this Show. Shannon Lawlor’s artwork  titled “Heading Home” was accepted into this prestigious show.”

Congratulations to Shannon! Her artwork has graced the covers of several issues of Western Horse Review, most notably our end of year Championship Editions.

I also have some good news to share from this gal. Photographer Kim Taylor.

We’ve had the honor of having Kim’s unique and cowgirl poetic photography gracing the cover of Western Horse Review on numerous occasions, most recently, her gorgeous shot of a spade bit on the cover of August.

A showing of her work begins August 21 and runs through September 21 at the Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alberta. The opening reception is this Saturday, August 21, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Hope you can plan to attend either or both of these events!

Send your art or photography-related announcements to me at [email protected]

D.C. Lund Honored at Taber Rodeo

“When you change, it takes a while for others to get on board,” says Randy Fajnor of the Taber Pro Rodeo committee.

For more than 25 years, the three-day rodeo in southeastern Alberta was held during the month of May. In 2008, the committee changed the date, a move that had some repercussions, mainly on the number of contestants showing up to compete. But those numbers are starting to climb once more and Fajnor couldn’t be happier, especially with the latest installment starting July 15.

“Everything has gone up, compared to last year,” he beams, adding that the rodeo has now also moved outdoors, a change he thinks that contestants and fans alike will enjoy.

“It’s a little bit funner,” he nods, adding that in spite of that, the main highlight this year will be a little less forward thinking, and more of a look to the past.

Former committee member and rodeo athlete DC Lund will be presented the Ranchman’s Legendary Achievement Award during the opening ceremonies on July 17. 2010 Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee Phil Doan will be on site to present the award to Lund on behalf of Ranchman’s.

Corb Lund's dad, D.C. Lund honored at Taber Rodeo.

“We’re looking forward to that,” Fajnor smiles. “What it means to the committee is you know for sure that there’s going to be quite a few more fans there that know him, because he’s well known in the community, and he was on the rodeo committee for years before, so it’s real nice for us to have the opportunity to give him tribute like that.”

In northern Alberta, kicking off July 17, is the Harmon Valley Pro Rodeo in Peace River. The two-person committee of Doug Hogbin and Ken Gour have been working hard getting everything ready for the event.

“Ready or not. I think I’m 99 per cent ready,” Gour jokes.

Like Fajnor in Taber, Gour has also been watching their numbers climb.

“This is our third year and one thing we’ve found is that, during our first year, we had roughly 140 contestant. The second year we had roughly 180. And this year we’re at 230,” he estimates. “It’s looking promising.”

Of course, when the rodeo draws near each year, the committee enlists the help of Hogbin’s wife, Jean, and a small army of volunteers for the big stuff, like when they recently made some improvements to the grounds.

“We put together a group of volunteers to help paint,” Gour says. “And we changed all the old wood in the corral, close to 400 feet. Our outside rail was all wood, so we changed it all to a nice solid pipe, made it another foot higher, and got it all painted up for the rodeo. So that was a lot of work!”

The folks at nearby Teepee Creek have also been doing a little construction to get ready for the Teepee Creek Stampede on July 17 and 18.

“We try to do a few projects every year,” says committee president Mack Erno. “We’ve been putting in some new bathrooms and doing some work to the track and infield, some new fences, just trying to keep up on things.”

“We want to keep growing and we can’t keep growing without better infrastructure,” adds secretary Lacey Stark.

They’ve also taken some bold steps in upping their advertising and marketing.

“We have a set up at the airport; we’ve done brochures,” Stark reveals.

According to Stark, “We had a really nice weekend last year and a very successful rodeo and we still didn’t really make any money, so we thought, rather than trying to cut budgets we’d ramp up the marketing and hopefully get some more people through the gates.”

They’re hoping to see 1,000 to 2,000 more rodeo fans through the gates this year to help celebrate 94 years.

“Every year is a celebration when you’re this old, at least that’s what they tell me,” Erno chuckles.

Kidding aside, “Years and years of blood, sweat and tears have gone into the rodeo,” Erno says. “It’s a real community event and there are a lot of tireless hours by volunteers that have gotten it to where it is.”

Please visit for more detailed event information.

The information within this release is provided as a courtesy by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.

Calgary Stampede Poster Unveiled

“I wanted an image that celebrated the long-standing relationship between the Treaty 7 First Nations and the Calgary Stampede,” says Casey. “I saw Nikkole Heavy Shields dancing at the 2010 Indian Princess pageant and immediately knew what I wanted my first poster to capture the beauty, the elegance, the tradition, the life and the spirituality of her dance.”
The very first Calgary Stampede in 1912 included over 2,000 native people of the Treaty 7 First Nations who received special permission to gather off their reserves. The IndianVillage gathering has continued ever since and has remained an important opportunity for the Treaty 7 First Nations to reinforce, celebrate and share their cultures. The stunning image of an aboriginal dancer is meant to evoke the meaningful relationship between the Calgary Stampede and the Treaty 7 First Nations.
Casey said he was pleased to work with Zach who has displayed his work at the Stampede’s western art showcase continuously for 33 years. “I asked Vilem to create a painting that reflected the passion, pride and energy that I saw in Nikkole’s dance which is such a wonderful expression of First Nations’ culture.”
Zach’s oil paintings, sculptures and pastels have placed him among the elite of western artists. Earlier this year he was inducted into the Western Art Show Hall of Fame.
“The poster creation process was collaborative,” says Zach. “Like piecing together a puzzle, we created an image inspired by the dancer that captures the beauty of the tradition.”
Zach has captured the beauty and moment in this traditional dance in the 2011 Calgary Stampede poster.

Roy Rogers Memorabilia Up for Auction

For those who grew up on Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and of course, the famous palomino, Trigger, today marks an historic day as New York Auction House, Christie’s began this morning to auction off most of the memorabilia which was once housed in the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, now closed.

Included in the auction is such pieces as this toy sculpture of Roy and Trigger, found atop a General Store in the museum. Christie’s estimates the selling price at $600-$800 U.S.

Or, this framed LIFE magazine, with Roy on a rearing Trigger dated July 12, 1943.

Classic car buffs may have a hankering for Roy’s Bonnyville, which displays his own sense of incredibly wild style, as well as his hankering for . . . firearms. Turn signals and door handles were converted into guns, and silver dollars were embedded into the side walls and dash board. (Christie’s wants you to know that “all firearms attached onto or inside of the “Roy Rogers Bonneville” have been rendered inoperable through alteration, modification and/or extensive chrome plating. They should no longer be considered firearms but decorative pieces. Furthermore, the cartridge belts are adorned with safe, non-functioning bullets made from real components.”) Good to know!

Legend has it Rogers had an eight-track machine installed under the seat, and kept it loaded with an eight-track of a cattle drive. He’d drive up to an intersection at a four-way stop, then project the sound of the eight-track through a bull horn he kept in the car. People nearby would hear this stampede going through and look around in confusion.

Bit of a practical joker, our Roy.

Of course, most likely to cause the greatest commotion at the auction is the original, stuffed Trigger. You might remember Roy’s sidekick, the palomino Quarter Horse, Trigger. Rogers and Trigger spent the better part of two decades together and the movie star became indelibly attached to the horse. So much so, that when the horse died, one day short of his 31st birthday, Rogers was unable to “put him in the ground,” and amid some true controversy of the day, elected to have the horse stuffed and put on display at the Roy Rogers – Dale Evans Museum, then located in Victorville, California.

Christie’s estimates the life-size stuffed Trigger will auction off for between $100,000 and $200,000.

As written in the Christie’s lot description:

“Entertaining the masses so thoroughly for over two decades, Roy Rogers and Trigger were one of America’s most recognizable duos, becoming instant classics in people’s eyes, hearts and imaginations. Trigger also reached legendary status in his own right, and is undeniably one of the most memorable horses that ever lived.”

Apparently, Roy never used spurs or a whip on Trigger, and the horse was trained to respond to simple movements and cues.

“He seemed to know when people were watching him,” Rogers once stated. “He recognized applause and ate it up like a ham!”

Trigger became known as one of the smartest horses in the history of show business, performing hundreds of “tricks” on request such as doing the hula, untying ropes, shooting a gun, knocking on doors and walking on his hindquarters.

Although Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger were a bit before my time, I’m as familiar with them as if I had grown up watching them on the television. We’ve simply heard, read and been told so much about them. They are an unforgettable timepiece in our western culture, signifying an era when boys and girls held such characters as their heroes, and dreamed of growing up to be just like Roy, and owning a horse just like Trigger.

It must be a bit sad for many, seeing this bit of western – albeit Hollywood history – disburse today.

See the collection and watch the live feed at Christie’s.

And in the meantime, enjoy this look back at Roy Rogers and Trigger, starring in the movie, Son of Paleface.

The Art of the Calgary Stampede

It was only earlier last week that I posted a note about a fabulous art exhibit at the Museum of Civilization, entitled The Horse.

Late last week I learned about another exhibit which is equally exciting and impressive. Western art lovers, history buffs and Calgary Stampede fans, you will love what I’m about to let you in on. Personally, I can’t wait to take it in.

The exhibition and display of artwork related to the West has been as much a part of the Calgary Stampede as bucking broncs and cowboy lore, dating back even to the first Stampede in 1912. Recently I became aware of an exciting new exhibition of artwork on display at the Nickle Arts Museum – a collaboration of the Calgary Stampede and the University of Calgary, where the Nickle Arts is located.

A press release I received from the Nickle Arts Museum elaborated on this history of the Calgary Stampede’s support of the visual arts:

“In the early days, artists such as Edward Borein and C.M. Russell presented works evocative of the West, works that were also used in the promotion and visual presentation of the Calgary Stampede itself. From the 1930s to the early 1960s, the growth in local arts institutions such as the Alberta Society of Artists and the Glenbow Museum was reflected in the works exhibited at the Calgary Stampede and around the city. By the 1970s, the Stampede’s own Western Art Show had become a sought-after venue for western artists and artisans to display their works.”

As you might imagine, the course of nearly 100 years has given the Calgary Stampede an impressive permanent collection of artwork. The Art of the Calgary Stampede draws on this collection, as well as works from the the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Collection of the Government of Alberta, Government House Foundation, Glenbow Musuem, the Galt Museum & Archives in Lethbridge, The Nickle Arts Museum, and private collections to bring together an incredible selection of artwork illustrating the history of the Stampede.

Such as, for instance, this vintage Edward Borein.

Edward Borein – I-SEE-U, c. 1919 lithograph, Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada.

Edward Borein came recommended to Guy Weadick by the great C.M. Russell for the design of advertising. He completed many pen and ink sketches for the Stampede which were used in newspaper ads and souvenir programs between 1912 and 1919.

Apparently the “I-See-U” title has been understood variously to refer to the title of the image, the name of the bronc, or a warning given by the rider to the horse. Weadick may have found the original sketch appealing because the “IC” brand on horses was common and meant an animal had been Inspected and Condemned . . .  which would make, I guess, perfect bronc material back in those days.

You may be familiar with Alberta sculptor Richard Roenisch’s bronze commemorating this image.

Gerald Tailfeathers – Opening the Gate, 1956 watercolour on paper, Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada.

Gerald Tailfeathers’ painting, “Opening the Gate” completed in 1956 is a recent acquisition by the Glenbow. Tailfeathers, from the Blood reserve in southern Alberta had his artistic abilities recognized as early as nine-years-old while attending St. Paul’s residential school.

Jody Skinner – Celebrating – A Load off the Shoulders, 2009 oil on linen, collection of the Artist

More contemporary pieces are featured as well, including this stunning oil painting by Jody Skinner, a regularly-featured artist of the Western Art Showcase. This artwork was chosen as the 2008 Calgary Stampede poster.

All these and another 100 or more spectacular pieces are now on display at this special collection until August 4 at the Nickle Arts Museum. What an incredible opportunity to view so many unique pieces of artwork related to the West. Hope to see you there!

Organized by The Nickle Arts Museum in collaboration with the Calgary Stampede and the University of Calgary Press, guest curated by Dr. Brian Rusted. Funded with assistance from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

The Horse at the Museum of Civilization

If I make it to Ottawa anytime before the end of 2010, one visit I won’t miss is to the Canadian Museum of Civilization for their newly installed The Horse exhibition, which premiered May 28.

The must-see exhibition follows the evolutionary path of the horse, both before and after it was domesticated by humans 6,000 years ago. In that time, we have developed more than 200 breeds whose size, shape, strength and disposition make them suited to specific activities.

But long before that, in fact some 10 million years ago, there were ancient horse breeds roaming the Great Plains, a good number of them are portrayed in this gorgeous diorama, including a small three-toed Nanippus and a herd of Dinohippus. (Pronounced just like it’s spelled for those of you who are wondering!)

The Horse showcases fossils and skeletons, prehistoric cave art and contemporary sculpture including this amazing piece by Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard. I was fortunate enough to catch a view of this sculpture at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary a number of years ago and I can attest it is incredibly awe-inspiring up-close and life-size. Fafard’s spectacular horses give us an exhilarating sense of speed and grace moving over the land. They capture the spirit of a creature that makes the human heart beat faster and makes us long to run with it.

Also featured are ancient toys such as this horse doll which originated from the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida.

Or, this toy brass horse with a soldier riding on top from India. Simply magnificent isn’t it?

I wouldn’t miss this vintage photo – the original of the world renowned series of photos where the gallop was first dissected. In fact, pioneering British photographer Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904) was the first person to freeze the movement of a running horse in a series of still photographs. He set up rows of cameras that snapped pictures as the horse moved past. In the gait known as the gallop, all four feet leave the ground, but not when the legs are outstretched, as you might expect. Instead, the horse leaves the ground as its hind legs swing closest to the front legs, as this photo shows (second row).

Here’s an incredible piece of history I knew nothing about, entitled Charge of Flowerdew’s Squadron. In 1918, to stop the rapid advance of a German force at Moreuil Wood near Amiens, Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew led a charge of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. They won the battle that day, but half the squadron was killed, including Flowerdew (who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross), and 800 horses.

Then there’s this amazing terra-cotta horse.

In the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, village potters create horse figures as offerings to Aiyanar and other local gods, who are said to patrol village borders and protect people from harm. Many village shrines contain hundreds of these votive horses, just imagine, some standing more than five metres (16 feet) tall. This horse is trimmed with garlands, like the stone horses in grand Indian temples. The face on its chest is Yalli, a spirit that protects Aiyanar.

My last piece of horse history eye candy for you today is this life-size German horse armour which includes: the chanfron, which covered the horse’s head and carried the rider’s family crest or coat of arms; the crinet, which protected the horse’s neck and was made of overlapping plates so the horse could move its head; the crupper, which shielded the horse’s hindquarters; the saddle, which kept the rider’s waist safe from lances, spears and arrows; and the peytral, which was worn over the horse’s chest and raised or flared outward to provide freedom of movement for the its legs.

Luckily we don’t have to worry about catching last minute trains, planes or buses to take in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. We have a bit of time as The Horse will be presented until January 2, 2011. Remember, it’s at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Gatineau, Quebec.

~ with media files from the Canadian Museum of Civilization

America’s Horse in Art

Wayne Baize's art features six Quarter Horses.

America’s Horse in Art returns to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in August, and a painting by renowned western artist Wayne Baize will be the signature piece for the third annual art show. 

The public is invited to the America’s Horse in Art opening, which will take place Saturday, August 14. Many of the talented artists will be at the opening and available to discuss the inspiration for their art work. The opening will be 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum and will feature live music, hors d’œuvres and cocktails.

America’s Horse in Art: The Horse That Settled the West show and sale will continue through November 13 in the Scharbauer Gallery in the museum. 

Baize’s painting features six American Quarter Horses, animals that he is quite familiar with. At an early age, Baize learned the value of a good horse and as a youth helped break colts. Later, he and his brother, Arlon, raised American Quarter Horses. Wayne has been a professional artist for more than 35 years and has had his work reproduced on the covers of many magazines, including The American Quarter Horse Journal.

He was elected to membership of the Cowboy Artists of America in 1995 and has served as director, vice president and president of the organization. The Cowboy Artists of America began in 1965 with two goals – to ensure authentic representation of the life of the west (as it was and is) as typified by the late Fredrick Remington and Charles Russell, and to ensure western art continued to rise in stature in the fine art world. Since then the CAA has expanded to become the most prestigious and widely recognized group of western artists. The membership is highly selective.

Wayne and his wife, Ellen, live on a small ranch near Fort Davis, Texas. To see more examples of Baize’s work,  

“We are fortunate to have such a talented group of western artists display their work for the third annual America’s Horse in Art Show and Sale,” said Don Treadway Jr., AQHA’s Executive Vice President. “The American Quarter Horse has long been a focus of western art, and we appreciate these great artists joining together to support the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum and help to protect the history of these amazing animals.”  

Each piece of art – ranging from pencil drawings to sculptures – will be available for purchase. Proceeds from the sale of the art will go to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame to support its efforts to preserve the history of the American Quarter Horse, but due to IRS regulations, the art is not tax-deductible. The complete collection will be viewable in August.

America’s Horse in Art will feature works by: 

Ruth Andre,
Don Bell,
Mary Ross Buchholz,
Brenda Bruckner,
Buckeye Blake,
Teal Blake,
Steve Devenyns,
Mikel Donahue,
Dyrk Godby,
Bruce Graham,
Sheri Greves-Neilson,
Don Hambrick
Harold Holden,
Rick Jackson
Connie Johnson
Greg Kelsey,
T.D. Kelsey,
Mark Kohler,
Earl Kuhn,
Mehl Lawson,
Jan Mapes,
Gary Morton,
Lisa Perry,
Jason Scull,
Jack Sorenson,
Buck Taylor,
Karmel Timmons,
K.W. Whitley

The above list is a tentative list and continues to expand. Visit for the latest information on artists participating in the show.

An Image for the Century

The Calgary Stampede 2009 poster, the artwork of which sold for $135,000 at the Western Art Auction. 

The Calgary Stampede has issued a special invitation to 15 of the most renowned western artists in the world to show-off their talent for the opportunity to create what promises to be one of the most famous images in the history of the Stampede – the art for the 2012 Stampede poster. The poster will be used internationally to invite visitors to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.

For this special commission, the Stampede has researched the work of numerous well-known western artists, some of whom have been confidentially invited to submit their artwork for consideration and adjudication. The artist will be announced this fall and the 2012 poster will be unveiled at a news conference in early 2011.

“The search is underway for an artist to create the centennial poster – one that exemplifies our western heritage and values, proudly honours our past and builds excitement for our future,” says Mike Casey, vice-chairman, Stampede board of directors, who will lead the search along with the past chair of the Western Showcase committee, Toni Dixon. Casey has challenged the artists to create a centennial icon.  “How will you, our invited artists, capture all the excitement, energy, action, colour and western flavor of this authentic iconic event in a painting?”

Stampede posters have been used as a promotional tool for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth since 1912. More than 30,000 posters are now printed and distributed across Canada and around the world. In 2012, the poster will take on an even greater historical significance in helping celebrate the Stampede’s centennial. It’s believed this will be one of the most sought after Stampede posters around the world, and it will be the inspiration for authentic souvenirs including belt buckles, t-shirts, jewelry and mugs, just to name a few.

The original artwork will be auctioned at the Western Art Auction held in July, 2012.  Last year, the original artwork for the 2010 poster was sold for $135,000, a Western Art Auction record. Western art has been a component of the Stampede from the very beginning – the first Stampede poster in 1912 featured art by Charlie Russell, and by the early 1930s, regular art exhibitions were part of the Stampede. Since the early 1980s, the Stampede has included a live auction of the best in contemporary and historical western art.