Don Weller drew horses and cowboys and roped calves in high school and college rodeos. After graduating from Washington State University, he sold his horses and moved to Los Angeles where he spent decades doing graphic design, and illustration (posters for the Hollywood Bowl, Warner Bros. Records, the NFL, covers for TV Guide, Time magazine, stamps for the U.S. Post Office and more). He also taught, first at UCLA and for a decade at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The Los Angeles Society of Illustrators gave Don their Lifetime Achievement Award. That was the final straw. With his children grown and gone and realizing he had seen all the cement and palm trees he could stand, he and his wife moved to rural Utah. Now Don creates western paintings and rides his cutting horses.
His paintings are images of today’s West as he knows it. He paints his cowboy friends and their adventures. He wants his work to be realistic enough that the horses, people, and scenes are recognizable and the details are correct and tell a true story.
Concerned with the subject and the sense of story, Don also cares about interesting shapes, texture, pattern, and the abstract quality of the composition. He does not want the paintings to look photographically rendered. He prefers the viewer sense the hand of the artist in the brushwork, the frisky colors, and the design.
His paintings have received many awards including The Jones Award from the Bosque Art Center in 2009. Recently he won the Artists’ Choice Award in the Western Artists of America Exhibition, the Steel Dust Award from the AQHA Museum and Hall of Fame, the Best Watercolor and the Patron’s Purchase Award at the Bosque Art Center, Best of Show in Traces of the West (twice), and recently received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Academy of Art University of San Francisco.
His work has been the subject of two books and several magazine profiles, the most recent in Art of the West magazine.
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