Originally Published: August 2, 2015 12:32 a.m.
Hold your horses. No, really. Hold your horses because the Phippen Museum is holding theirs with the annual "Hold Your Horses! Invitational Exhibition & Sale" featuring artwork that is completely focused on the aforementioned equine. Running from Saturday, Aug. 1 to Thursday, Sept. 27, the exhibit has 33 artists known for "horsing" around in their artwork.
One artists, Jerry Bingham, said he is fairly new to the Western art world, having spent about 40 years as an illustrator. Originally, Bingham said he started out with comic books and that the progression to Western art seemed like a natural thing.
Speaking about the background to his piece, "Flight" Bingham said he enjoys looking at the backstory behind history and for that piece, he was doing research on the Navajo. The Navajo people, he said, were migratory and took what they could find. Further, during the Civil War, Bingham said that the Native Americans tried to get their land back.
"It was a tough time for all sides," Bingham said.
Another featured artist is Sheila Cottrell, who mentioned that she is "from an old Arizona pioneer family" and that she "likes painting ranchers." One of Cottrell's three pieces, "Monsoon II" shows a painted version of her mother's father, using an old photo as a source.
There is also Steve Atkinson, who had three pieces in the exhibition. Atkinson said he also started as an illustrator, but decided to get into Western art so he could leave a legacy. He says he tries to tell a story through his paintings.
One of Atkinson's paintings, "Pickpocket" was originally named something entirely different.
"Originally, I wanted to call it 'Horse Thief,' but I wasn't sure everyone would get it," he said drawing to attention the horse reaching for an apple in a cowboy's sack while the man is focused on feeding another horse.
Atkinson also had a drawing at the exhibit and he said that he usually does drawings beforehand to see if they'll work out as paintings.
The exhibition also has some painted metal artwork as well as some impressionistic pieces. The former is from Wei Tai, who had four pieces and said that he was very honored to be in his second show. Tai's work includes oil on copper, oil on foil and some charcoal rubbings, one of which is colored. Tai said the color on one charcoal rubbing is to make a contrast.
The impressionistic pieces were painted by Barbara Meikle, who said that "I love the color of the Southwest," and that she incorporates it into all of her work. Meikle has three paintings, including "At Sunset," which she said shows "how beautiful the West is with wild horses" as well as a bronze sculpture.
The Phippen Museum is located at 4701 N. Highway 89 North and admission is $7 for adults, $6 for AAA members, $5 for students with ID and is free for museum members and children under 12.
For more information, visit www.phippenartmuseum.org.