Artwork inspired by the annual California Trails Hike will go on sale at the Cowboy Trails online event July 14-16.
You can’t saddle up with the elite Cowboy Artists of America on their invitation-only ride, but you can purchase the paintings inspired by them.
The 48-hour online Cowboy Trails sale begins at 12:00 p.m. on July 14 and ends at 12:00 p.m. on July 16. You can preview the artwork here (don’t forget to check back as more paintings are added).
For the past 55 years, the Cowboy Artists of America have gathered on a working ranch to ride, work and bond. The annual event builds camaraderie and provides members with inspiring experiences and perspectives for artistic creation.
This year, a dozen guys met at the Kimberlin Ranch in Graford, Texas. Chuckwagon cooks Homer Robertson and Charlie Ferguson served steak and cobbler.
“The Kimberlin Ranch is a nice place to gather because it’s historic. Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight kept cattle there. Loving’s old farmhouse was there. Going to camp there was really cool,” says CA member Teal Blake.
“John Kimberlin had chosen a great place: at the back of the ranch on the Brazos, under a large cliff. It’s a beautiful place. We hung out and camped, had a cart. The location was beautiful and the weather was great. The first night it blew pretty well – there was a thunderstorm in the distance. It was early April, so not your typical 110 degree Texas weather.
For Teal, the annual walk is a great opportunity to see the other members. “We live in different places and we’re all very busy, so when we visit together, talk about art, what’s going on in the world, it’s really nice,” he says. “And it was our first big date since COVID. It was a nice homecoming and really nice to see everyone.
The Kimberlin Ranch is a nice place to gather because it’s historic. Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight kept cattle there. Loving’s old farmhouse was there. – Turquoise Blake
Teal’s Cowboy Trails painting captures a moment from the ride. “We stopped at the edge of a beautiful lake,” he says. “We tied the horses to the trees and broke for lunch. I took some photos. One shot was a horse in silhouette with a shadow – a beautiful, simple hobbled horse. I do this with an old windmill register and an 1899 register for Texas Windmills. This corresponds to the period and to what was happening there then.
Funds from the Cowboy Trails sale – featuring works by big names in Western art like Phil Epp, Wayne Baize, Mikel Donahue, Teal Blake and Michael Dudash – are split between the artists and the Joe Beeler Foundation, the organization at non-profit for developing artists.
“Hikes on the California trails are filled with learning, camaraderie, and sometimes adventure,” says Phil Epp. “There were lots of all three on the recent ride at Kimberlin Ranch along the Brazos River in Texas. One thing I love about Texas is the large prickly pear cactus. countless examples, and it was a visual feast.The cactus lit by the sun against the stormy Texas sky was a product of this adventure.
Phil Epp, Storm on the Brazos, acrylic on panel, 14″ x 18″, $1,800
“While hiking at the Kimberlin Ranch this spring, I was struck by the beautiful high cliffs that overlook the Brazos River that runs through the ranch,” says Michael Dudash. “Spring was in full bloom, and there’s nothing prettier than a bunch of cowboys riding through a lush green landscape. I added the red scarf as a focal point for the painting. For me this painting captures the spirit of a few wonderful days with cowboys and friends.
Michel Dudash, Spring on the Brazos, oil on linen, 16″ x 12″, framed retail price: $5,000.
“An April moon lights up the tree-lined trail along the Brazos River as a cowboy returns to camp,” says Mikel Donahue.
Mikel Donahue, April Moon on the Brazos, acrylic, 9″ x 12″, $2,300
“We stopped at the edge of a beautiful lake,” says Teal Blake. “We tied the horses to the trees and broke for lunch. I took some photos. One shot was a horse in silhouette with a shadow – a beautiful, simple hobbled horse. I do this with an old windmill register and an 1899 register for Texas Windmills. This corresponds to the period and to what was happening there then.
Teal Blake, western windmill, original ledger from 1906, 8.5″x11″
Read the plaque: Kimberlin on the Brazos Ranch
Kimberlin on the Brazos Ranch, established in 1855 by Oliver Loving, Dean of Texas Trail Drivers and Pioneer Cattleman
“Settled this Loving’s or Big Valley Ranch in 1855 and was granted a Homestead Patent by Texas in 1859. Taking advantage of the many free-ranging Longhorn cattle and terrain on this ranch, Loving and Family rounded up wild Texas cattle – driving many here where the cliffs and their few rocky fences provide a cheap place to herd and graze cattle, while building up a sizable herd for the walk.
“Loving’s first trips were in Louisiana. In 1858, he tracked the first great cattle drive north through Indian Territory to Illinois. In 1866, Loving and 54-year-old Charles Goodnight, a younger but experienced neighbor rancher and friend, teamed up with 18 cowboys to drive some 2,000 Texan cattle down a barren Indian-infested trail from this southeastern region. west to the Pecos River. then north through New Mexico to Denver – later known as the historic Goodnight-Loving Trail.
“In 1867, Oliver Loving was wounded by Indians and died of gangrene on the New Mexico Trail. Honoring his last request, his partner Goodnight and others returned Loving’s body to Weatherford for burial. Larry McMurtry’s epic novel and now-famous TV movie lone dove were based on this legend of Texas and the West.
“After Loving’s death, this ranch passed to his heirs, including his eldest son, James C. Loving – who in 1877 at Graham, with Captain C. C. Slaughter, formed the Texas Cattle Raisers Association to deter theft. According to Loving’s notes, the Magnet brand book was later produced, documenting over 1,500 original legitimate regional cattle early owners and brands.
“This historic ranch has been owned by the Kimberlin family since 1941 – the year the first dam on the Brazos River was completed here and Possum Kingdom Lake was filled. Coincidentally, scenes from lone dove of the creation of their “Montana” ranch were actually filmed in northern New Mexico at a ranch owned by the Kimberlins, now known as Hat Creek Ranch.
Photography: (All images) courtesy of Cowboy Artists of America