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 Bill Owen  (1942 - 2013)

About: Bill Owen


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Lived/Active: Arizona      Known for: western genre paintings, drawings, and sculpture

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BIOGRAPHY for Bill Owen
1942 (Gila Bend, Arizona)


Courtesy of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Often Known For
western genre paintings, drawings, and sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Living in Kirkland, Arizona, and born in Gila Bend, Bill Owen is a painter in realist style of western genre, a subject and method near to his family because his father was a cowboy and his mother an artist.  His painting skills have earned him membership and special recognition in western-art related organizations: the Cowboy Artists of America*, which he joined in 1973, and the National Academy of Western Artists* in 1991.  In 1993, he received the Frederic Remington Award* for Artistic Merit from the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and three years later, he was designated Rendezvous Artist by the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  At the Prix de West* Invitational Exhibition and Sale in 2003, he was the first recipient of the Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award*.

As a member of the Cowboy Artists of America, he served as a three-time President, and four times received the CAA Award, which is determined by membership vote for the best overall exhibition entries.

Owen's painting achievements are earned in spite of a 1989 rodeo-related accident, which caused him to lose sight in his right eye.  Before that time he had also been a sculptor, but the eyesight loss affected his depth perception, so he quit working in three-dimensional mediums.

In 1995, Bill Owen established The Arizona Cowpuncher's Scholarship Organization to pay for higher education for young people from ranching families in Arizona.

Cowboy Artists of America 44th Annual Exhibition Catalogue, 2009, Published by the Cowboy Artists of America for their annual exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Biography from Whistle Pik Galleries:
It's Bill and Valerie Owen's pursuit of open spaces that brought them to Kirkland, Arizona three years ago. Bill was born in Gila Bend, Arizona, and has lived all over the state, in hot and cool climates alike. As the towns kept growing, he kept moving in search of seclusion and land to call his own. Before building their home in Kirkland, which is nestled between Prescott and Wickenburg, the Owens lived on a ranch in a remote area outside of Globe, Arizona. In this rough country, they wouldn't see another soul for weeks at a time. There, they spent their days tending to cattle and enjoying the rugged vistas.

The time came for a change, and Bill and Valerie eventually purchased a parcel of land from the Bill Ruger Ranch and built their home from the ground up. It's in that quiet, open space that Bill can focus his attention on his art, without the distractions of a bustling city or a working ranch to divert him from his life's calling. Situated high on a ridge, the Owens enjoy clear views of mountains and valleys all around them. "I don't know where we could go and like it any better," says Bill. While he has had a variety of studios over the years, this time he built one inside the house. Although the studio has a north-facing window, he keeps that covered with a blackout shade and relies on eight Color Correct fluorescent bulbs for consistent lighting no matter the time of day or season of the year - crucial for consistent color. "With the correct use of color, a painting will look good under bright light or dim light," explains Bill. "I have been pulling my hair out for the past 20 years studying color and trying to get it just right."

Above all, Bill cherishes quiet in the studio. "I can't even let a dog in there with me," he laughs. "I get so engrossed in my paintings that two or three hours will pass in what seems like 15 minutes." That time spent in quiet contemplation of his art is something that his father ingrained in him from his earliest years. "My dad taught me, 'Take pains with it, son,'" remembers Bill. "He taught me to do things right the first time and the importance of learning patience." These life lessons rendered to him in his youth mingle with light and color on canvas for all to appreciate in his paintings.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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