Spirits of the West

Two staples of the cowboy way of life — horses and rodeos — are part of a new Western Spirit art exhibit that opens on Saturday, June 27, at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Left: Hangin’ High

Two staples of the cowboy way of life — horses and rodeos — are part of a new Western Spirit art exhibit that opens on Saturday, June 27, at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Rodeo is depicted as an epic struggle between humans, animals and nature in paintings by Jan Howden-Paul, of the Alix area. Ruth Moore, of Innisfail, will also have lively rodeo pictures exhibited, as well as ones showing the more contemplative side of horse ownership, such as taking a trail ride through the mountains.

Howden-Paul said she’s always been inspired by the theme of people and animals interacting. “It’s truly amazing how the powerful animals, people and nature, each in their own right, (are) trying to control the situation.

“Some win and some lose. Whatever the case, each and every one of them are back to challenge the other again,” said Howden-Paul, who has displayed her mixed-media works for the last five years at the Canadian Finals Rodeo art gallery in Edmonton.

“Man, animal and nature. It’s all a wonderful way of life and one that I am proud to portray.”

Moore, who paints in oils, said she was always fascinated by horses, by their faithfulness and devotion. “I guess I’ve just been horse-crazy. . . .”

Like women, horses were once downtrodden and taken for granted, and have only lately been given respect for all that they achieve, Moore said with a wry laugh.

She enjoys watching working horses just as much as feral animals because “they actually love what they do. They were born to run and buck.”

Horses were used as four-legged transportation when Moore was a child growing up on a mink farm near Calgary, and are now the perfect companion for recreational rides through a field or forest. “They’re always glad to see you, with their welcome whinny.”

The Western Spirit art exhibit will continue to Aug. 16. An artists’ reception will be held Sunday, June 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., also at the MAG’s Parkland Mall outlet.

For more information, see the artists’ websites or www.reddeermuseum.com

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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