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Capturing the grandeur and grit of the west with spectacular realism, contemporary expressionism, or a style somewhere in between, The women of the western art world keep the romance of the cowgirl lifestyle alive in galleries, homes and museums worldwide. Here, our 2016 collection of innovators, traditionalists, and living legends as diverse as the west itself.ANN HANSON Ann Hanson is a masterful realist who works in oils and pastels. Her goal: to give viewers the sense that they could step through the painting and find themselves in the scene portrayed. On her website, Ann states “I love capturing the subtleties of day to day life and portraying the small snippets that look into the lives and hearts of my friends and neighbors. I’m having a great time doing what I love. I feel truly blessed.” Hanson’s paintings have been in numerous art shows, and she has been featured in multiple publications, including a piece for the Star Wars Art: Visions book. annhanson.com KATHLEEN FRANK Kathleen Frank’s surreal landscapes and billowing brush strokes transport the viewer to a phantasmal paradise, depicting the rugged mountain and desert locations of the American West as radiant dreamlands. Kathleen primarily paints California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, as these are where her homes are located, although she has also produced numerous paintings inspired by her international travels. Frank’s paintings are on display at La Posada de Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at Hotel Madeline located in Telluride, Colorado. kathleenfrankart.com CAROL HAGAN Carol Hagan, a Contemporary Expressionist, creates spirited paintings with a burst of colorful style that immediately catches the eye. Her work gives a sense that the subject might leap off the canvas at any moment. Carol is self-taught, having never taken any formal classes or training, with the exception of two workshops taught by the late Joe Abbrescia. Recently, she has developed a new style (shown at left). “Painting on sheets of thick glass allows me the opportunity to incorporate the dimension of light, and the works to be viewed from both sides…there are four paintings in each piece: a front and a back on each sheet of glass works with the front and back sides of its’ counterpart. Shadows cast from the horses themselves, through their positive and negative spaces, gives them a three-dimensional presence.” carolhaganstudios.com BARBARA MEIKLE Ever since childhood, Barbara Meikle has held a deep love for painting and drawing. Pursuing her passion, she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Denver, Colorado, specializing in painting and printmaking. Later, she completed her studies—this time in England at Cambridge University—choosing to improve her oil painting and watercolor skills. Her hard work paid off, eventually culminating in the opening of her own art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she currently displays her art, as well as other artists’ work. barbmeikle.com, meiklefineart.com MARY ROSS BUCHOLZ For over eighteen years, Mary Ross Bucholz has been drawing and painting the world of the working cowhorse. She is dedicated to preserving and recognizing the values and traditions of days long past, showcasing them with her revered charcoal and graphite portraits, and colorful oil paintings. Mary lives with her husband, Bob, at a ranch in Texas, where they carry on the customs of her ranching family. Bucholz has won numerous prestigious awards and her work has been featured in True West, Western Horseman, and multiple other art publications. maryrossbucholz.com CAROL HAGAN Carol Hagan, a Contemporary Expressionist, creates spirited paintings with a burst of colorful style that immediately catches the eye. Her work gives a sense that the subject might leap off the canvas at any moment. Carol is self-taught, having never taken any formal classes or training, with the exception of two workshops taught by the late Joe Abbrescia. Recently, she has developed a new style (shown at left). “Painting on sheets of thick glass allows me the opportunity to incorporate the dimension of light, and the works to be viewed from both sides…there are four paintings in each piece: a front and a back on each sheet of glass works with the front and back sides of its’ counterpart. Shadows cast from the horses themselves, through their positive and negative spaces, gives them a three-dimensional presence.” carolhaganstudios.com LESLIE KIRCHNER Leslie Kirchner’s oil paintings seem to come alive, with each animal’s personality and presence shining through. With masterful lighting, breathtaking coloring, and authentic movement, Leslie captures the true spirit of the animal portrayed—sometimes from first-hand knowledge. Leslie worked at a nature center, where she trained and cared for various animals, including birds of prey, three types of rattlesnakes, and even arachnids. She has also volunteered at an animal rehabilitation center, where she helped care for animals such as wolves and foxes, cougars and bobcats. She lives in the Angeles National Forest, where many of the animals she paints reside. lesliekirchner.com DONNA HOWELL-SICKLES Donna Howell-Sickles’ whimsical and vintage-style art evokes a feeling of familiarity and comfort, while hiding an air of ethereal enigma deeper within. Her style was originally inspired by an old postcard circa 1935, depicting a cowgirl on a horse. Howell-Sickles has been inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame, and has created cover art for the May 2006 EDS Bryan Nelson Championship. Donna’s art is displayed in Davis & Blevins, The Main Street Gallery, located in Saint Jo, Texas, and in the homes of devoted collectors throughout the West and beyond. donnahowellsickles.com SHEILA COTTRELL Sheila Cottrell’s art is born of a long and colorful family history, documented all the way back to the 1800s. Cottrell’s ancestors settled in Texas before it was claimed, and then later took a covered wagon train to Arizona—before it was even a state. Most of Sheila’s paintings encompass the stories and lore of her Old West heritage, depicting the everyday struggles and spectacular scenery of the newly settled West. Her works are not only artistry, but a way of preserving her family history. Sheila paints exclusively in oil, and strives for beauty in each and every one of her works. sheilacottrell.com HELEN BAILEY Helen Bailey’s love for horses shines through her stunning realism and masterful coloring. She bought her first Quarter Horse, Nifty, in 2004, and he has been the inspiration for her art ever since. Helen’s tools of the trade are simply suede mat boards and colored pencils. Her works consistently wins awards across the nation—which is no surprise to horse lovers who are enchanted by her talent for capturing equine moments. Horses remain Helen’s main focus, although she does draw other subjects as well. In her own words, Helen says, “I draw what I love… And I hope other people see what they love in my drawings.” helenbaileyart.com THERESA PADEN Acrylic on hand and canvas at the ready, Theresa Paden creates her charismatic horse and wildlife paintings with bright, rich colors—and detailed textures—infusing each animal with life and a sense of being. Theresa earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and originally worked with the NFL, designing Super Bowl tickets, VIP invitations, logos, and posters. Her work can be seen at Kasum Contemporary Fine Art in Oklahoma City and Simon Gallery of Fine Art in Tucson, Arizona. With each painting sold, she donates a portion of the sales price to horse and animal rescue centers. theresapaden.com SHAWNDELL Shawndell’s paintings weave a tale of wildness, appealing to collectors and designers who seek a contemporary take on classic western heritage. Primary subjects include the western horse, in all its variety, as well as the Native American ponies of history. Her vast depictions of the Colorado Mountains, where she herself is a native, are another favorite subject. Despite the plentiful, colorful accents that define her work, Shawndell describes her painting style as monochromatic (choosing one color, and then adding either white or a darker color to create a full spectrum of tints, shades, and tones.) She then adds texture, and, for a final touch, coats each canvas with a clear glaze giving it a finished, earthy effect that is precious, but never pretentious. moderncountryart.com SUSAN BELL Susan Bell’s oil paintings portray scenes that feel as if they were frozen in time. Painting exclusively subjects she has personally seen or experienced imbues her impressionistic work with a sense of gritty realism. She spends most of her time painting en plein air, allowing her to capture the full movement and energy of the subject, as well as any surrounding influences. In addition to current and available works, several videos that show her painting process are available on her website. susanbellfineart.com UPCOMING WESTERN ART SHOWS Cowgirl Up! March 18 – May 9th Wickenburg, Arizona westernmuseum.org The Russell at the C.M. Russell Museum March 17 – 19 Great Falls, Montana cmrussel.org The Briscoe Western Art Museum 13th Annual Night of Artists March 28 – 29 San Antonio, Texas briscoemuseum.org