Gordon Snidow, CA
In 1959, after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from the Art Center College of Design, in Los Angeles, Gordon Snidow had a career decision to make, whether to go into advertising art or to follow his dream of painting the West. At the time, no market existed for realism, let alone Western Art. He decided to follow his dream.
He believed it was important to record the American West as he witnessed it. Being an eyewitness to a period of the history of the west, he portrayed real cowboys, working on real ranches. He accurately showed their lives and times.
Snidow eventually saw the West as more than ranching and the American Cowboy. He began to do paintings which included American Women, Graffiti, the Homeless, Wildlife, Vietnam Vets, and others, while still painting the American Cowboy. For over fifty years, he has painted the Contemporary American West as it is, unvarnished.
As a charter member of the Cowboy Artists of America, Snidow served in every office of the organization, including three times as President. After 25 years of active membership, he retired from competition to become a Member Emeritus. At that time, he was CA’s top medal winner, with 27 Gold and Silver Medals, including three Best of Show. He also co-founded and served on the first board of directors of the CA museum in Kerrville, Texas.
His work has shown around the world including, Russia, France, England, China, Germany, and many more. In the United States, his paintings hang in the permanent collections of numerous museums. Retrospective shows of his work have appeared in museums in New Mexico, Texas, and the prestigious Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
Source: Gordon Snidow
Artist: Gordon Snidow, CA (b.1936)Description: Pencil | Image Size: 14”h x 20”w; Framed Size: 22”h x 27 ½”w
Snidow shows his skill at drawing the human figure in this depiction of a modern cowboy leaning against an iron rail in a corral. The drawing catches the cowboy in a quiet moment and is filled with skillfully drawn details such as the weathered cowboy hat and the work-weathered hands of the ranch hand.
Artist: Gordon Snidow, CA (b.1936)Description: Gouache (1991) | Image Size: 18”h x 36”w; Framed Size: 32”h x 48”w
In this painting of a cow camp set against the grandeur of a panoramic landscape, Gordon Snidow accomplishes a number of things. For one, he has beautifully captured the vast sweep and textural changes of the landscape as he allows the viewer’s eye to travel from the short grass of the foreground across a tree-covered valley and on to distant hills in the background. One literally gets the sense of looking across miles of a beautiful landscape. He also presents a vignette from modern ranch life with his grouping of a cowboy and two horses standing a little apart from a canvas cook tent. Finally, he adds an expert interplay between light and shadow by placing his light source, sunlight, in a position that casts interesting shadows on the walls of the glowing tent. Once again, Snidow has taken an ordinary scene and made it unique.
Artist: Gordon Snidow, CA (b.1936)Description: Gouache (2007) | Image Size: 34”h x 28”w; Framed Size: 42”h x 39”w
Gordon Snidow masterfully contrasts bright sunlight and dark shadows in this painting of a grizzled ranch hand working on a fence. The painting effectively captures the day-to-day environment found on a ranch where the work is rarely reminiscent of the romantic images of cowboy life from days gone by. Cowboys in Snidow’s world perform routine tasks, such as fixing a broken gate, that keep the ranch operating.
The dark gate with its wide variety of shapes formed by its boards -- squares, triangles, and rectangles, which are either brightly illuminated or deep in shadow -- provides the focal point of the painting. The gate’s geometric shapes are juxtaposed with the very unsymmetrical wire fence, just behind it.
“Daybreak” made its debut at the 42nd Annual Cowboy Artists of America Show & Sale at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2007. It was later exhibited in 2015 at the Sedona Arts Center and Western Spirit Scottsdale’s Museum of the West in celebration of the 50 Year Anniversary of the founding of the Cowboy Artists of America.