Monday, December 23, 2013

Texas artist Mary Ross Buchholz honors the traditions of western life

Where the vastness of the flat West Texas landscape begins to ease into gently rolling hills, artist Mary Ross Buchholz and her husband, Bob, were walking a portion of ranchland 18 years ago, deciding where to build their home. They stopped in the shade of a live oak tree and looked around. It was a spot, they knew, where cattle liked to bed down, which meant it was more likely than other places to catch a cool breeze. So they chose that location for their house. “We were just thinking about how the old timers would know what to do,” Buchholz remembers, sitting in the neat, functional studio she and Bob later added onto their home. Time-tested wisdom about living on the land and raising livestock, passed down through generations, is part of what Buchholz cherishes about western life. It’s what she expresses in her remarkable pencil drawings, which document the animals, people, and everyday life of a working ranch—primarily her family’s ranch. Spread out over several West Texas counties and originally worked by various branches of her family and Bob’s, the ranch represents a continuity of tradition reaching back centuries in Mary’s mother’s family, and at least five generations on her father’s side. Steeped in such long tradition, Buchholz infuses her work with a sense of authenticity that clearly resonates with collectors drawn to a classic vision of western life—collectors with on-the-range experience and those for whom her art is a reminder of the beauty, history, and culture of the American West. Among the 44-year-old artist’s top awards in recent years are her selection as Signature Artist at the America’s Horse in Art Show; First Place and an Award of Excellence at American Plains Artists exhibitions; and the Artists’ Choice Award at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame’s Heart of the West show...more

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