Complete with demos, auctions, exhibitions, entertainment, cocktails, and more, the 2016 edition of Cowgirl Up! was one to remember.
Wrapping up its 11th year, the “Cowgirl Up!” exhibition and sale brings together much of the nation’s best Western painting, drawing, and sculpture — all by female artists. Hosted by the magnificent Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona, the event has blossomed into so much more than simply an exhibition and sale. In fact, it has become a movement over the years and provides a new home for women artists. Juried from hundreds of applicants, numerous awards are given for excellence in each category of art, including a prize sponsored by Fine Art Connoisseur, which was presented by our own Krystal Allen to the accomplished artist V…Vaughan.

Rebecca Tobey demos her ceramic sculpture process.

Gail Jones Sundell is seen working on her alabaster sculpture.

Events kicked off with great fanfare on March 18 and ran through March 20 — though the exhibition will continue until May 8. Rebecca Tobey demonstrated her creative sculptural process that uses unique ceramic and glaze techniques. Each sculpture is decorated differently so that no two sculptures are exactly the same. Gail Jones Sundell shared her process for carving alabaster sculptures; the artist’s family owns a quarry from which the stone is harvested.

Laura Koller of New Mexico poses with her first place award for her piece titled “Transitions.”

The famed cowboy boot mascot heads to the auction block

Also part of the event were several auctions. The first sale offered a selection of works that were donated by the artists. Then entries from the Quick Draw were auctioned. A large cowboy boot — which has been the event’s “mascot” for 11 years — became a focal point as well as a big moneymaker for the museum. The boot, which measures almost 4 feet tall and is made of fiberglass — was decorated by Judith Durr and her husband. Initially the boot was purchased by Dick DeVore’s family, only to be donated back to the museum and re-auctioned at the Quick Draw. — the stipulation being that $1,000 sponsorships would be sold and the boot will live forever at the museum.

Lisa Daniels with her body of work

Lisa Gordon works on her sculpture during the hour-long Quick Draw competition

To learn more, visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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