Cowgirl artist Shawn Cameron is blessed with an intimate connection to the way of life she portrays in her paintings.
It was one of the scariest times in her professional art career. In the spring of 1991, emerging Western artist Shawn Cameron was just days away from exhibiting her paintings at the prestigious Phippen Museum Western Art Show and sale in Prescott, Arizona. The event was her big chance to share her pieces with the public, but she was terrified at the thought of having to market her work.
Aware of her shyness, Shawn’s husband, Dean, thought of a way to help his wife overcome this occupational hurdle. He coordinated a “dress rehearsal,” at their ranch, displaying her artwork in the front yard and inviting the cowboy crew to view it.
“He made me stand beside my work as the cowboys looked at it,” Shawn recalls. “I was surprised at how they actually seemed to enjoy it. Some of them didn’t even speak English, but they pointed at it, commented on what they recognized and nodded to me in approval.”
With that boost of confidence, Shawn hesitantly confronted her insecurities and made it through her first major exhibition, selling every piece submitted. Almost two decades later, the artist admits that she still suffers from show nerves.
“I worry about each piece I send out the door,” she says. “Is it good enough? Will it sell? How will it be received? It’s as though I’m sending a little piece of myself into the world, and I don’t know how it’ll turn out.”
But Western art collectors praise Shawn’s ability to capture a realistic cowboy scene in a traditional, painterly style. The action and emotion created from her loose brush strokes,