I like a lot of Western artists, but one stands head and shoulders above the fray. His name is Bill Owen. Bill has been a member of the Cowboy Artists of America since 1973, and in my opinion, he has continually produced the highest caliber body of work.
Bill has shown at everything from the Grand Palais in Paris, France to art shows in Beijing, China. He has participated in every great Western Art show in the States, including the Prix de West and the C.A. shows.
The first time I ever met Bill was at the Cow Punchers Reunion in Williams, Arizona, about 4 or 5 years ago. Bill and I were in the same empty bucking chute, photographing cowboy bronc rides. We both took the same photo of Cody LaSeur sailing headfirst over a big black bronc. (Truth in advertising laws require that I admit Bill’s painting sold for fifteen times mine).
I found out several things that day. Bill Owen is a nice man and a class act. I also noticed that Bill immersed himself in his subjects. Bill has owned cattle ranches and knows cowboys and their craft intimately. But the image that stands out in my mind is one of Bill shaking hands and strolling through friendships that were many years old.
I think that Bill teaches us that we must strive for perfection in our craft and know our subject in every possible aspect.
Visit Bill’s website and look at the quality of his work. I especially enjoyed reading about how a painting titled “Leading In A Maverick” came to fruition. (Click on the Journal tab). This alone should give any young new artist great insight on how to develop a painting, and the work and research that are required to execute such a difficult painting.
His work, as all good work usually is, is rooted in fundamentals: good drawing, good composition and good stories. Bill Owen is not only a cowboy’s artist, but he’s an artist’s artist. And that is no easy feat.
Images © Bill Owen. Content © Mark Kohler Studio.