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Bloomfield artist puts Sleeping Ute Mountain on exhibit in Oklahoma

The man was invited to participate in the Prix de West Art Show
In Tim Cox’s oil painting, “In View of the Sleeping Ute,” two cowboys gaze out over the land at Sleeping Ute Mountain in the distance. The painting will be on exhibit at the Prix de West Art Show in Oklahoma City. (Courtesy of Tim Cox)

FARMINGTON – Art from a local Bloomfield artist will be on display until Aug. 8 at the Prix de West Art Show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Tim Cox will have his oil painting, “In View of the Sleeping Ute,” on display at the invite-only Prix de West Art Show. Guests are welcome to come and go, but artists must be invited to display their work. The painting depicts the iconic Sleeping Ute Mountain outside Towaoc, south of Cortez.

This won’t be the first year for the artist. Cox has participated since 2000, and in 2003, he won an award at Prix de West. In 2007, Cox was able to mark off a bucket list item he wrote about in a 1975 English class essay – he was invited to join the Cowboy Artists of America, where he served on the board of directors and as president for three years. He has painted professionally for 46 years, including a special calendar line he started selling in 1986.

Cox grew up on the countryside, and his grandparents had a ranch in Arizona. He has worked on ranches since he was 8.

Tim Cox works on one of the ranches where he gets his inspiration to paint. His painting, “In View of the Sleeping Ute,” will be on exhibit at the Prix de West Art Show in Oklahoma City. (Courtesy of Tim Cox)

“My earliest memories were of me lying on the kitchen floor drawing horses on whatever material was available,” Cox said. “I have always drawn Western subject matter, and my mom saved a great part of them and put them into a huge scrapbook from the time I was about 5 years old.”

Cox said he sold paintings to friends, classmates and people who worked with his father.

When he got to high school, his supporters grew so much that the school decided to allow him to exchange his typing and industrial arts classes for two extra years of art.

While Cox spends most of his time painting, he rides and works on various ranches throughout the West on a regular basis. By combining “the basic ingredients of color, value, perspective and pleasing design with desire to be a perfectionist in portraying the real working cowboy,” Cox has painted numerous scenes of cowboys, horses and landscapes.

Cox’s inspiration for his painting was Sleeping Ute Mountain in Montezuma County, Colorado.

“I had the opportunity to help gather the cattle off the summer range on this ranch,” Cox said. “A couple of other cowboys rode out to the edge of a bluff. The view of the Sleeping Ute took my breath away.”

Cox said the legend of the mountain involves a “great warrior god” who came to “help fight against the evil ones.” Cox said the god laid down to rest from the battle and fell asleep. While he was sleeping, “his body turned into a mountain and the blood from his wounds became the rivers and streams that nourish life today,” Cox said.

The process he uses for painting involves drawing out his paintings on canvas. He uses hundreds of photographs he has taken in addition to “a lot out of my head.” He blocks out the basic shapes and colors and then adds details later. It can take him six weeks to two months of 10 to 12 hour days, every day of the week to finish a painting.

Cox said his goal in life is to keep getting better as an artist.

“I work at it every day,” Cox said. “I hope that people can see the beauty of the American West and experience a little of the lives of the cowboys that I have portrayed. I would like them to feel as if they have stepped into a frozen moment of time.”

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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