Santa Fe Artist Wins Prix de West Award

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The painting 'La Luz' was the Prix de West winner for 2012.
Artist Terri Moyers won the hightest Prix de West award for her painting entitled 'La Luz' depicting a young Mexican woman.

Prix de West Weekend

BY M. J. VAN DEVENTER

 Terri Kelly Moyers, a Santa Fe artist noted for paintings of
beautiful ethnic women attired in elegant Spanish-style clothes became
the second woman in the history of the Prix de West Invitational to win
the coveted Prix de West Purchase Award. The oil painting, titled La
Luz de Fe ~The Light of Faith ~ sold for $58,000 and included an
additional cash prize of $5,000 and the coveted Prix de West medallion.

Accepting the honor at the Prix de West’s Saturday, June 9
luncheon, Moyers said, “I can’t tell you what this means to me. I am
overwhelmed.” La Luz captured the major award of the weekend
and now becomes a part of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage
Museum’s 38-piece Prix de West Collection.

At the Saturday night awards banquet, Moyers explained the 45-
inch square oil painting was one of the most difficult she has painted in
her 22-year career as a PdW artist. It depicts a young Mexican woman,
beautifully attired in a dark flowing dress and wearing a tiara and long
earrings, lighting a series of beautiful brass candelabra. Overlooking
her is a weeping Virgin Mary Spanish santo.

The santo resembles a statue of the Virgin Mary that stands in
Moyers’ studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Moyers found it at a popular
Santa Fe flea market about five years ago and the statue has been a
studio fixture ~ and an inspiration to her ever since.

Painting La Luz was challenging, because she painted it with the
available light in her studio and wanted to create a feeling of silence
and reverence. The lighted candles are the painting’s only light source.
However, Moyers said it also brought her great joy to depict this sacred
scene, which happens so often in the homes of Mexican families.

Winning the Prix de West Award put Moyers, 58, in a special
category of being only the second woman to win this nationally
recognized art prize.

She joins the late Bettina Steinke, who was the first woman to win
the honor in 1978 with a painting of a young Indian girl atop a horse,
headed to a fair. Moyers knew Steinke, one of the early members of the
National Academy of Western Art ~ NAWA ~ forerunner of the Prix
de West. Moyers knew Steinke, also of Santa Fe, and greatly admired
her artistic talent. Moyers also won the Frederic Remington Painting
Award at the 2011 Prix de West.

At the Saturday night banquet, the awards turned into a family
affair for Moyers, 58, and her artist husband John, 53, who has been a
PdW artist for 21 years. He won the Express Ranches Great American
Cowboy Award for a $48,000 oil painting titled A Fish Out of Water.

Set on a bustling street corner in New York City’s Times’ Square,
the central figure is a confused cowboy, dressed in a cowboy hat and
boots, trying to find his way in the Big Apple with the aid of a tourist
map. A large crowd of impatient people stand behind him as he pores
over the map while waiting for a light to change. It’s a familiar scene
many NYC travelers often encounter.

La Luz is one of 351 works of art in the largest Prix de West
exhibition the Museum has mounted since the show began in 1974 as
the National Academy of Western Art. She is one of 114 participating
artists in the 39th anniversary exhibition and sale.

Other award recipients included Richard Loffler, 56, a Canadian
artist who received the James Earle Fraser Sculpture Award for a
$42,000 42-inch high spirited bronze bull titled Top Knots and Tails.
Loffler, who loves rodeo, is a 20-year PdW artist.

Taos, New Mexico artist Walt Gonske, 70, received the Frederic
Remington Award for an oil painting, Waiting for Spring. Set in
Gonske’s beloved northern New Mexico, the snow scene features old
homes and out buildings accented with roots and earth peeking beneath
the snow in Gonske’s traditional impasto style. He has been in Prix de
West shows for 36 years.

Ross Matteson, 55, an Olympia, Washington sculptor and 20-
year PdW participant, won the Major General and Mrs. Don Pittman
Wildlife Art Award. His $25,000 black Belgian marble sculpture
features a bufflehead duck moving gracefully along the calm surface of
the water, creating a gentle, rippling wake.

George Carlson, 71, a Harrison, Idaho sculptor turned painter,
won the Robert Lougheed Memorial Award, which honors the artist
with the best display of three or more works in the show. The award is
chosen by the participating artists and named for the NAWA founder.
The honor represented a multiple win for Carlson, who won the Prix de
West Purchase Award in 1975 and 2011, the Remington Award in 2010,
the Lougheed Award in 2011 and has twice designed the PdW souvenir
bolo.

Doug Hyde, 66, a Prescott, Arizona sculptor, won the Nona Jean
Hulsey Rumsey Buyers’ Choice Award for a mammoth, intricately
detailed sculpture titled People of the Red Tail Hawk, priced at $55,000.
The sculpture shows the hawk hovered over all the Native families it
protects.

All of the winners, aside from the Prix de West recipient, receive a
$3,000 cash award, in addition to the purchase price of their art.

Prior to the actual awards presentation, a live auction brought
in $71,500. Total sales for the opening night were $3 million, compared
to 2011 sales of $3,318,993. The show runs through August 5 and sales
continue through the summer.

The highest priced work in the show was Curt Walters’ oil
painting of the Grand Canyon, Star of the Storm, selling for $131,000.
The lowest priced artwork ~ an engaging small sculpture by Gerald
Balciar titled Cotton Tails, sold for $850.00, with numerous castings
available.

Among the 114 artists are six who are newcomers to the annual
western art show: Carolyn Anderson, Scott Burdick, Brent Cotton,
Thomas Aqiunas Daly, Jeremy Lipking and William Shepherd. Burdick
is no newcomer to the Prix de West Society members. He hosted them
for an event at the Palette and Chisel Club when the Society toured
Chicago art venues several years ago.

The 2012 signature bolo ~ the “ticket” for admission to the
weekend events ~ was designed by sculptor Tim Cherry,47, of
Branson, Missouri. Winner of the 2001 James Earle Fraser Sculpture
Award, Cherry chose a highly-polished bronze bison head for the
commemorative piece.

The exhibition provides a visual feast for the eyes for Museum
visitors. While all of the paintings or sculptures represent some facet
of the West, the subject matter presents a pleasing diversity of artistic
themes and ideas.

From landscapes that show every aspect of the West’s geography
to cowboy scenes that include historical and contemporary perspectives,
the show offers an incredible range of viewpoints on the great American
West.

Included in the 2012 weekend schedule were seminars that
focused on topics about Hawaiian cowboys, the art of illustration and
landscape painting. Among artists stepping up to the podium to talk
about their work were Blair Buswell, Edward J. Fraughton, Kent
Ullberg, Robert “Shoofly” Shufelt, G. Russell Case, Francois Koch,
Wayne Wolfe and George Carlson. Presenting Saturday afternoon art
demonstrations were Sherrie McGraw and Sandy Scott.

What was particularly evident in the artists’ comments was the
relationships they had established with other artists through the years.
Some became mentors, others friends, many professional colleagues
whose advice and critiques they have come to trust and value. It’s easy
to understand why the artists consider this annual event at the National
Cowboy Museum, a true “family reunion.”

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