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BellaOnline's Southwest USA Editor


Southwestern Art - Art and Artists of the American Southwest

Guest Author - Debra Conrad

Southwestern art is full of contrasts. It can be rough like the Rocky Mountains or smooth as a glassy lake. Is it cowboy or is it Native Americans that depict the southwest style? Texas artists have a different style than Arizona artists. Would New Mexican art blend with art from Colorado?

Canvases depict frozen snow covered mountains, hot dry deserts, and lonely forgotten trails. Horses with or without riders, landscapes with or without vegetation and vistas with or without signs of human interference are all painted with caring hands.

Clear star filled nights and dusty sun baked days are photographed. These photos capture the here and now of the southwest. Photos are available for those that have never seen a road side café, a cowboy branding cattle or a cactus in full bloom. Some of the photographers have hiked into areas rarely seen by the human eye, capturing the true, vibrant treasures of the southwest.

Pottery is an art form that appeals to a huge audience. It is the basis of many museums in the southwest area. It is found in modern form and as ancient artifacts. The beauty of some of the polished surfaces can’t be fully appreciated until the process is fully explained. The etched surfaces tell ancient stories. Clay is an art form that is both visual and tactile.

The jewelry of the southwest is unlike any other. A silversmith creates the distinctive wares worn and sold around the world. The look of American Indian Jewelry is easy to spot. The silver is polished until it gleams like a mirror, and usually paired with brilliant turquoise and red coral stones. It is both natural and elegant. It is worn by both Governors and stay-at-home moms, men as well as women. This jewelry is found in airports shops, art galleries and pawn shops.

Sculpture is also a huge part of southwestern art. Depicting the life of a tough old cowboy or an Indian maiden, it can stir your soul. The art of southwestern sculpture is contemporary in reality. The studios are full of different styles to match any taste. The size can be the most astonishing factor, as some of the artist work is very, very large.

Many artists work in a combination of mediums. Weavers are very plentiful in the southwest. Contemporary glass, fine crafts in paper and metal and baskets are all part of the southwestern American art scene.

If you travel the Southwest, be sure to look for local art. Emerging and established artists are likely to be featured in a gallery near your hotel or campground. A beautiful piece of local southwestern art is the best travel souvenir.

Buy artwork by Carol Grigg at

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Carol Grigg - Horse Cave Painting
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Content copyright © 2018 by Debra Conrad. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debra Conrad. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


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