CANYON, TX.-Coming full circle from the two historic pillars of art of the American West, Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington, to present day Western artists, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum will feature the work of Jim Ward this fall and winter. Beginning November 12, “Jim Ward: Texas Cowboy Artist” will be shown in the museum’s Foran Galleries.
A former rodeo cowboy, clown, ranch hand, and charter member and past president of the Texas Cowboy Artists Association, Ward works in oil, pastel, and bronze, emphasizing the cowboy and Western wildlife.
Ward was born at Ft Worth, Texas and later moved with his family to rural Austin.Ward’s grandfather homesteaded in Quay County, New Mexico, and his father worked and traded horses and cattle. Ward and his brother broke horses for their father.
He enrolled at Oklahoma State University, where he played football until a knee injury ended his football career. Ward then turned to rodeo, riding broncs, bulldogging, and fighting bulls during summers to earn tuition and book money.
After graduation from OSU, Ward continued rodeoing in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and began painting windows for businesses to advertise the rodeos. In 1957, Ward became manager of the Muleshoe Ranch and began painting seriously.
He became staff artist for the Quarter Horse Journal, with his work reproduced in True West, The Cattleman, Ranchman, and Paint Horse Journal. Later, he became art director for Irrigation Age; then, turned to easel painting full time in 1967. Ward and ten other artists founded the Texas Cowboy Artists Association. Books of their work were published in 1975 and 1986.
Galleries in Austin, Dallas, Amarillo, New Mexico and Wyoming have handled Ward’s work. Recent accomplishments include selection as one of the top 100 artists in the “Art for the Parks” nationally-touring exhibition. From his Canyon studio, Ward has sent his work to numerous national exhibitions including the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition; the Mountain Oyster Club; the George Phippen Western Show; and Nature Works. “Jim Ward: Texas Cowboy Artist” will remain on exhibit at PPHM through February 19, 2006.