An intimate and accurate image of a subject is what two Prix de West artists — painter Andrew Peters and sculptor Doug Hyde — strive for in every completed artwork.
Hyde and Peters are among the 103 artists who will participate in the 41st Annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale on Friday and Saturday at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
In recent telephone interviews, both artists said the annual June exhibition is always a much-anticipated event on their calendars.
“On the Monday following the Prix de West show, I’ll begin working on what I’ll bring to the next show,” Peters said from his studio in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“It’s so I can be content that I’m honoring all the artists that I show with and that I so look up to. I want to be sure to bring my best work to each Prix de West,” added Peters, who is returning for his eighth time.
Hyde voiced a similar sentiment.
“Being invited to show your work at the Prix de West is the biggest honor of all for a Western artist,” he said, speaking from his studio in Prescott, Ariz. “It gives you a chance to see what other artists are doing and, at the same time, with only three or four pieces in the show, you have to be able to impress other artists and buyers with what you’re doing.
“I think it perpetuates the quality of the art that’s on display there each year,” said the award-winning sculptor, who is marking his 18th Prix de West appearance and has designed this year’s commemorative bolo medallion.
The great outdoors
Peters, who grew up in Iowa, fell in love with birds at a young age and quickly began drawing them from life and from Audubon prints.
“I loved looking at the ducks my dad would bring home from hunting,” Peters said. “Drawing became a way of looking deeper into birds and nature.”
He earned a bachelor of science degree from Iowa State University, with a minor in art, and at age 22, won the Iowa Duck Stamp competition, which launched his fine art career.
Peters prefers plein air painting whenever possible. “Painting outdoors you get to see everything. You get a very intimate experience with nature,” said Peters, who contends that light, not line, determines form. “A painting should read like a window onto a place.”
He is bringing four oil on canvas paintings to the Prix de West show.
“Evening Sanctuary,” priced at $11,000, shows pheasants scampering across an Iowa dirt road at dusk. “It’s about the beauty of light on the landscape in the moment before sunset,” Peters said. “It’s as if Mother Nature is putting on her evening gown. It’s beautiful and it’s fleeting.”
Peters’ charming barnyard painting, “A Place in the Sun,” priced at $9,000, shows a group of cats and three cows enjoying the warmth of a sunny day in a farmyard not far from Peters’ home.
“A Spring Morning,” priced at $7,000, is centered on a pile of large, round hay bales where a colorful rooster, the king of the hay mound, watches over his hens and his domain.
For his largest painting, “Notchtop at Daybreak,” priced at $22,000, Peters hiked eight miles up a trail at Rocky Mountain National Park, with his painting gear, food and sleeping bag on his back. The 40-by-50-inch painting shows a pristine alpine lake at the foot of some snow-covered craggy mountains. “Painting on site, that to me is the ultimate expression of nature,” Peters said. “Then as you hike down with a fresh painting in your backpack, you have the most unique kind of satisfaction. I feel fortunate to be able to do that.”
That’s the ticket
Hyde said his design for this year’s bolo was inspired by the American Indian vendors who sell their crafts and artworks year-round under the portal of the Palace of the Governors in downtown Santa Fe, N.M. Hyde’s tiny “Under the Portal” bronze is of an American Indian girl, wrapped in a blanket, showing only her face and the pot she’s wanting to sell.
“It’s a tribute to all those who sell their wares, their crafts, to make a living,” Hyde said. “That includes me and all the artists here at the Prix de West.”
The bronze bolo will serve as this year’s admission ticket for all those attending the entire Prix de West weekend activities.
The show opens at 9 a.m. Friday, with a group of art seminars during the day and an exhibition preview and cocktail reception at 6 p.m.
Saturday’s events will include morning seminars, an artists’ panel discussion, art demonstrations in the afternoon and announcement of the winner of the prestigious Prix de West Purchase Award during lunch.
The winning painting or sculpture will become part of the museum’s permanent art collection.
The evening’s action begins with the exhibition sale preview at 5:30 p.m., followed by the drawing for fixed-price artworks at 6:30 and the black-tie awards banquet and live art auction at 7:30.
All of the show’s artwork will stay on display through Aug. 3, and any unsold works will be available for purchase until then.
IF YOU GO
41st annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale