Have you ever had a part of your life become so special, so unique that you couldn’t imagine your life without it? Artist Ride is that slice of my life. The piece that has been present since the day I was born.
We are approaching the 32nd anniversary for Artist Ride, a milestone for an event with very little publicity, yet is the art worlds most well-known secret! Lately I’ve pondered how have we managed to come so far. How has a seemingly small gathering continued for 32 consecutive years successfully? Well of course, because we host America’s greatest western painters and hands down the best western models is how.
This is definitely a “how,” but when I got to thinking about it my thought was, “Why?” Why have artists and models continued to return to the Artist Ride year after year? The answer, because our “why” is the same.
For my family and myself we want to share with the world our way of life and to let it know the west is still alive and well and we live it every day. It’s the hard work and deep appreciation and love we have for the work that we do that makes Artist Ride so unique. This IS real life. This is a working ranch, a culmination of several generations of hard work, love of the land, and deeply profound respect for the traditions of ranch life that have been passed down through the years.
Artist Ride provides a very unique opportunity to bring together those who share this passion for keeping the west, then and now, alive. Artists and models create scenes that touch the heart, that reflect not only the serenity and the beauty, but also the trials and triumphs of the past and the present. Models don’t don 1800s clothes because they like to dress up and artists don’t just brush paint on canvas for the heck of it. There is a passion there, a respect, a desire to bring to life that spark of imagination which makes a person stop and take a moment to reflect on the hard work that has gotten this country so far.
I recently asked artist Virginia Coudron, who has attended every Artist Ride since the beginning, why she continues to attend Artist Ride after thirty-two years.
“It allows me to be apart of a historical life. I’ve dreamed of being apart of the western life ever since I was a little girl. To get to see it, touch it, hear it, be apart of it. It brings me back down to the freedoms, hard work, right to do what you want when you want. By going back you realize the hard work it took and helps to appreciate what you have today. I like to relive that and get away and appreciate the past to understand the present to look forward to the future.”
If you’re passionate about your artwork and your heritage ask yourself why? What is behind the why that drives your dreams and passions? Take a step back and reflect and I think you’ll be surprised and invigorated with what’s behind the why.