A Biography of John Coleman – The Cowboy Artist

John Coleman - The Cowboy ArtistJohn Coleman, an Arizona-based sculptor, is one of the most prominent artists in western art. His paintings and sculptures have provided a deep insight into the vital aspect of the American past. Moreover, they are a combination of stunning visual detail with simplicity to give a realistic view.

John Coleman’s artwork follows the path of Lewis, Clark, and George Catlin. And he recorded the historical significance of the culture long lost, much like them. This article brings you the biography of John Coleman, his awards and achievements, paintings, charcoal drawings, sculptures, and more.

Here are the main topics we’ll be considering:

John Coleman – The Cowboy Artist

John Coleman said: “I am fascinated how music can convey a mood without lyrics and have often thought sculpture lends itself to that idea. I have always loved history and mythology and feel they are the lyrics to my sculpture; the musical interpretation that engages the emotions. Just as music has a beginning, a middle, and an end, so does sculpture.”

Born in Southern California in 1949, John Coleman is a well-known sculptor and painter. John Coleman has a great love for history which flows through his art. Following the footpath of Bernini and Canova, John Coleman believes in mythology. An understanding of mythology and its influence on civilization is the anchor for spirituality. His idea of art is to put a physical face on a spiritual idea.

John Coleman is one of the highly regarded Western sculptors of recent times. But in the process, he had to overcome many obstacles to pursue his fine art career. He had undiagnosed dyslexia and attention deficit throughout his childhood.

John Coleman had a passion for art at a young age. He did his early art studies at the Art Center for Design in Los Angeles. Despite that, John went into real estate development with his wife, Sue. He put all his artistic dreams on hold and built a string of businesses in Prescott, Arizona. Later at the age of 43, he registered for sculpting classes at the Scottsdale Artists School. Thus he started to pursue his lifelong dream of being an artist.

The artist became a full-time sculptor in 1994 at the age of 44. Since then, he has immersed himself in the field of fine art. He is known for his ability to capture the complex emotions of every sculpture. At 70 years of age, he has been drawing, painting, and sculpting for more than 25 years now.

Awards and Achievements of John Coleman

“My favorite type of art is the kind that tells a story that is deeper than what you see on the surface. As an artist, I try to provoke the viewer’s imagination and participation into my sculpture, to get them to question what is going on.” – John Coleman.

Though John Coleman’s journey as an artist began in his middle age, he has many awards to his name. In addition to that, he has numerous awards, gold and silver medals from the CAA.

In 2001, John Coleman was voted into the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America. Later he served as the president of the organization and is also the Emeritus member. Apart from that, he was also voted into professional membership of the National Sculpture Society in 1999.

John Coleman got the Jackie Coles Buyers’ Choice Award at the Prix de West for his life-sized sculpture, The Healer. He was also the recipient was the Artist of Excellence Award by The Booth Museum in Cartersville. Furthermore, John is the Signature member of the California Art Club. He is also a fellow member of the National Sculpture Society. He also served on the board of The Phippen Museum and the Preservation Commission. Furthermore, he is the board member of The Granite Mountain Hotshot Memorial Partnership.

As a pinnacle of his art career, he held a demo at the first FACE event in Miami Beach, Florida. John Coleman always has been an ardent supporter of traditional art. As such, his work has been held in permanent collections in museums across the world. Few museums that maintain a permanent collection of John Coleman are:

John Coleman Artwork

“Creating an object means little to me unless I can portray an underlying emotion or analogy. Each piece tells a story in the three-dimensional, visual mythology written by my hands and spiritual imagination, somehow linking us to the past and bringing us to a greater understanding of our ancestors.” – John Coleman.

John Coleman CA is a multi-faceted artist adept in three mediums. They are oils, charcoal, and sculpting. According to the artist, he generally has six or seven works in progress every year. Till now, he introduces four to five new editions every year.

John Coleman Oil PaintingsOil Paintings

Though Coleman, John is a renowned bronze sculptor, he is also a painter. His oil paintings are a realistic depiction of the figures, much like his bronze.

Communion with the Tall People

The painting portrays a young woman seeking guidance from the Aspen trees.

Monarch of the Buffalo Nation

A limited-edition painting that depicts an old warrior or an elderly chief.

Holy Man of the Buffalo Nation

A painting that represents the Sioux Medicine Man of the Great Plains, circa 1870

Bronze Sculptures

John Coleman has the ability to capture the spirit and emotions of a culture long lost. Each bronze depicts the past (as close as it can be) and creates a link to the days gone by.

Here are some of the famous bronze sculptures by John Coleman:

The Healer

The mesmerizing bronze sculpture is representing a healer in action. It is currently on display at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

The Game of Arrows

This bronze depicting a warrior with a bow and arrows won a gold medal and the Kieckhefer Best of Show Award.

Ghost Dancer

The bronze is a bust of a Native American woman. Ghost dance is a tradition born at the beginning of the reservation period. It was believed that following it protects the warriors.

Two Ravens

This bronze is a depiction of Crow Chief Pariskaroopa. He is displayed as wearing his ceremonial Raven headdress.

Honeymoon at Crow Fair

This bronze portrays a newlywed couple participating in the annual Crow Fair Parade.

Glories Past

The painting depicts an old warrior reflecting on his victories of the glories past.

Charcoal Drawings

John Coleman Charcoal DrawingsBefore taking the world away by storm, John Coleman started his career with charcoal. He still appreciates the art form and has a collection of figurative drawings. You can see them alongside his sculptures and oils. Here are a few charcoal drawings as mentioned in his portfolio:

  • The Oracle
  • Wild Horses
  • Powwow with the Little People
  • The Oracle II
  • Sun Priest
  • Sunrise Dance
  • Aspen at the Powwow
  • Night Hawk

Generally, they follow a specific theme and complement the other sculptures.

Bodmer-Catlin Series

The Bodmer-Catlin series is a line of sculptures that pay tribute to the explorer artists Karl Bodmer and George Catlin. The sculptures are a three-dimensional interpretation of the paintings by Bodmer and Catlin.

The first in the line is a life-size sculpture of “Addih-Hiddisch, Hidatsa Chief” as painted by Karl Bodmer (1809–1893). It won a gold medal in the Cowboy Artists of America show. The same bronze sculpture also won the Kieckhefer Award for Best of Show in 2004. It is currently in the permanent collection of the Phoenix Art Museum.

Other bronze sculptures from the series include:

  • Hisoosanchees, Little Spaniard
  • Keokuk, Sac, and Fox Chief
  • Mato-Tope, Four Bears
  • Pachtuwa-Chta, Arikara Warrior
  • Pariskaroopa, Two Crows
  • Pasheepaho, Little Stabbing Chief
  • Pitatapiu, Bowlance Warrior
  • Wahktageli, Big Soldier
  • Wunnestow, The White Buffalo

The series includes ten standing figures and a document of several tribes. If not for John Coleman, Karl Bodmer, and George Catlin, we would not have records of these tribes.

Conclusion

Night Hawk Painting John Coleman is one of the leading artists representing the mythology and history of western subjects. He works in diverse disciplines creating bronze sculptures, oil paintings, and charcoal drawings. His style of capturing the emotions and the nuances in each sculpture is like none other.

John starts every sculpture with clay. Then, he molds it and carves with his tools giving it life. Rather than being an artist, he sees himself as a communicator or a messenger.

John Coleman’s artworks are sold at auctions in top galleries. You can also see them in a few museums across the world.

Cowboy Paintings

Cowboy PaintingSome of the trending art right now are cowboy paintings, rodeo paintings, and generally, the art of the west. The adventurous spirit of the western genre has attracted one too many.

Notable western art painters have delved into the heart of the old west and created images of the time gone by. But, then, the wild west was a time of danger and romance for the men and women working in the harsh terrains of the open range. It was a time when “have the saddle, will travel” was the way of life.

Discover the new world of cowboy paintings, southwestern art, masters of the American frontier, and much more.

Famous Cowboy Paintings by Masters of Western Art

The subjects of the cowboy paintings were a working cowboy, sometimes cowgirls, horses, and cattle in a real-life situation and rodeo. They show the cowboy’s love of riding, roping, and wrangling.

Here are some of the famous cowboy paintings of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • True Love – This undated masterpiece by AR Mitchell is one of the most popular and highly evocative illustrations of the 19th century west.
  • Cowboy Singing – The 1892 painting of a western banjo player is by American artist Thomas Eakins. He is known for his style of realism and seated portraits in low light.
  • Vaquero – This historic 1890 oil painting by Frederic Remington brings to view the ruggedness of the western landscape, the cowboy on a horse, the blazing sun, and the clear sky.
  • Cullin’ the Herd – This undated oil painting is by Charlie Dye, a cowboy turned illustrator and painter. He helped found the Cowboy Artists of America. His works were mostly of cowboys and life in the rough terrains.
  • Rounding Up the Herd – In the mid-20th century, self-taught artist Olaf Wieghorst emerged as the heir to the Remington and Russell style of historical art. The Danish-born artist’s love for painting western history, horses, the American cowboy, and Indians.
  • Incident Near Square Butte – A cowboy’s day is filled with accidents and sudden death; such is the harsh reality of life. This 1897 oil painting by America’s most significant, working-cowboy artist, Charles Russell, clearly reveals the dangers for the viewers.

Original artwork of the masters is generally found in various museums, namely Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art, Trinidad, Texas Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg. In addition, however, high-quality recreations and prints of the originals are available for purchase in galleries across the country.

Which Great American Artist Painted the Old West?

Frederic Remington is famous for his paintings of the wild west. Additionally, he is also an illustrator and also sculptor. His works depict the cowboys, the harsh desert lands, and also US cavalry.

Another notable artist of mention is Charles Marion Russell. He has created close to 2000 paintings of Indians, cowboys, and the landscapes of the west. He depicted a picture of the mythic American West in his paintings.

Famous Artists of the American Frontier

Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington, and Thomas Moran are one of the few painters who captured the beauty of the wild west in their oil paintings. Their art explored the Western states, cowboys, ranchers, and Indian themes. They also chronicled the history of events (like the exploitation of the west) for future generations to see. The artists from this period didn’t mainly come from the western frontier.

Here are the well-known artists of the 19th century.

Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926)

Charles Marion Russell was one of the most prolific artists who painted western landscapes and also cowboy paintings. You can find his works in over 50 museums in the United States and around the world. He preferred muted color palettes with a sense of realism in his cowboy paintings.

His painting style included cowboys, landscapes, and Native Americans, generally inspired by his visits to nationals parks in Arizona, Colorado, and California. Charles’ favored painting mediums include oils, gouache (a type of watercolor), and sculpture. You can still find his bronze sculptures in different venues. However, there are only limited copies; these pieces are numbered like print and collectible items.

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

Albert Bierstadt, a German-American painter, is known for his romantic paintings of beautiful places like Yosemite, Californian landscapes Yellowstone, etc. He uses a technique called “chiaroscuro” to create romance and grandeur in his paintings. The technique manipulates the contrast between light and darkness to create a realistic look.

Albert Bierstadt’s work helped Easterners appreciate the lands that later became part of the U.S. National Park System. His works now appear in over 100 museums across the United States. In addition, they fueled the imagination of many Americans who settled in the West. He worked on many mediums, including oils, gouache, watercolors, pastels, inks, and charcoal.

Thomas Moran (1837-1926)

Thomas Moran is an English-born painter who is known for the western landscapes. His signature style of painting is the usage of intense shades of color, which captures the grandeur and the beauty of Yosemite and Grand Canyon national parks.

Moran’s preferred mediums include oils, watercolor, gouache, printmaking, lithography, and engraving. His paintings are in more than 100 museums and galleries across the globe.

George Catlin (1796-1872)

George Caitlin is known for his ethnographic portraits of 48 distinct Native American tribal groups. After traveling with them for more than eight years, he learned more about the culture of Native Americans than most other white people of his era. During this period, he painted over 500 portraits showing Native Americans in their full regalia.

These portraits have their spot in the history books for their historical/ethnographic content, as well as for their vivid depictions of hundreds of subjects. Other than that, he was also a painter and printmaker who worked in oils and watercolor.

Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

Cowboy Paintings Artist and Sculptor - Frederic RemingtonFrederic Remington is rightfully called the grandfather of Western art. He was fascinated by the “Wild West” and traveled in the West collecting subject material. However, he never lived nor experienced the western lifestyle. He was primarily a spectator preferring to be based in Newyork.

Being both a painter and a sculptor, his themes were often cowboys, Native Americans, and horses. His first sculpture (cast in bronze) and most famous work was “The Broncho Buster” (October 1895). Frederic Remington’s work is featured in over 80 museums across the U.S.

Things to Know Before Buying a Cowboy Painting

The web has been a haven for buyers and sellers alike from all parts of the world. You can sell or buy hard-to-find paintings that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Many people have successfully and happily purchased paintings and other art on the Internet. However, buying online, particularly artwork, comes with its own challenges.

Ensure that you thoroughly research the art and the artist before buying a cowboy painting. And also the legibility of the seller or website. Here are a few other points you may have to consider if you want a cowboy painting in your art collection:

  • Are you looking for originals? If so, you may want to make sure the item is original and not a recreation. If it’s the latter, you can find phrases similar to “like an original,” and they appear in the search results along with originals.
  • Look for the abbreviation OOAK in the description of the paintings for sale. It means “Original and One of a Kind.”
  • What is the medium of the painting? While canvas is standard, do not take this for granted. Cowboy paintings on a good quality canvas last long.
  • Is it framed or unframed? Does the frame add value to the painting? What is the condition of the frame?
  • If in any doubt, ask questions before you buy. It is safer to be informed rather than disputing the purchase.

Conclusion

Delving deep into the history of South Western art, you’ll discover painters who recreated images of an era gone by, places, and events of adventure. Cowboys and Indians are the two essential themes of western paintings. These paintings demonstrate the daily life and the activities of the cowboys and the Native Americans.

Cowboy paintings are still growing in popularity and inspiring artists. Many painters still seek this genre for the same reasons as the painters of the 19th century, the rough mountainous terrains, near-death experiences, and difficult circumstances. From Teal Blake to Jim Carson, various artists still capture the images of cowboys riding, bucking stallions, raging rivers, and more.

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