A Cowboy's Artist

Bill OwenWestern artist Bill Owen leaves behind more than 40 years worth of paintings that preserve contemporary cowboy life in Arizona. PHOTO BY WALTER WORKMAN

If there ever was an artist made to create paintings for Western Horseman covers it was Bill Owen. Magazine readers can feel the warmth of his sunsets, hear the sound of a lariat slicing the air, and experience the emotion and partnership between a cowboy and his horse. One can’t help but appreciate the honesty and authenticity Owen incorporated into each painting.

Owen died suddenly on Saturday, June 15, as he was packing up to head home to Kirkland, Arizona, after spending time on the Diamond A Ranch in Seligman, Arizona.

The 71-year-old artist was inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America in 1973 and served three terms as CAA president. Since 1975, 31 of his paintings have appeared on Western Horseman covers.

“He honors the cowboy way of life,” Owen’s friend Red Steagall told Western Horseman in 2011. “When you look at his paintings and sculptures, you’re fully convinced he knows his subject matter and can portray it in a way that will live on forever.

Just as Charles M. Russell painted the time period and cowboys of the northwest with unparalleled authenticity, Owen conveyed on canvas what he saw during his lifetime of cowboying, ranching and painting in his native state of Arizona. Admired by cowboys and collectors, alike, Owen leaves behind a cowboy legacy and a body of work that chronicles contemporary cowboy life.

Watch 30 Cowboy Covers Part II here.