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Texas: Western Artist Inspired by Museum in Kerrville

Jason Scull fell into the art scene by accident.

The Kerrville Daily Times reports a friend was in town, so Scull took him to the Cowboy Artists of America Museum, which is now the Museum of Western Art.

While perusing the library, Scull got into a conversation with one of the workers about adult art programs.

A few months later, he found himself in an introduction to sculpting class, hosted by the museum.

"I had done a few art pieces, but I wasn't pursuing it," he said. "But after I took that class, I got the bug, and I couldn't help myself."

That was in 1987.

More than 30 years later, Scull's passion has transformed into a career, turning him into a world-renowned Western artist.

Throughout his time on the scene, Scull has been able to study Western art under Jack Swanson, Mehl Lawson and Cynthia Rigden -- all well-known Western artists.

"I spent time on Cynthia Rigden's ranch, studying cows," said Scull, whose pieces can be found in various museum collections across the U.S., Canada and England.

He also works on commission, creating life-sized and larger-than-life sculptures. Those include an equestrian sculpture of early Texas Ranger John C. "Jack" Hays, which is on the Hays County Courthouse lawn in San Marcos, and an equine group of three running horses and a colt for Gaylord Hotels.

Scull, who is a member of the Cowboy Artist of America, an organization made up of elite Western artists, lives in Kerrville.

His studio is on the MOWA property, by the backyard pavilion.

"It's good for me, and it's good for the museum," Scull said. "They send visitors down to me, and I can visit with them."

He estimates he sees an average of 800 people a year.

"It's such an amazing thing for the community, to have a museum like this," Skull said. "It's not big, but it's a fine museum."

He currently is working on a life-sized cow, which he has been working on since January. He estimates he has put in 160 hours on the beast.

"I don't keep track of how long I've been working on something," Scull said. "I'd have to quit."

Born and raised on a ranch in San Marcos, Scull said he is inspired by his surroundings.

"I grew up in it, and I've always had a love for art, which was nurtured by my mother," he said.

He specializes in livestock, such as cows and horses, and other scenes from the American West, including cowboys.

"I do it because I love it. And the subjects interest me, and I feel akin to them," he said.

Scull was further inspired by the rising popularity of Western movies and the tales of the Wild West.

"There was a lot of public interest in it," he said.

When it comes to sculpting animals, it's important to make sure it's anatomically correct, Scull said.

"You're creating something that's alive," he said.

When creating a sculpture, the first step is creating a framework out of wire. That resembles the skeletal system, Scull said.

He hopes to work with Darrell Beauchamp, the new executive director of MOWA, to bring back adult art classes.

"I have a desire for some sort of adult education, but we need to find qualified people," he said.

There's a need for continued education, because there's always the question of what the next generation of Western artists will bring to the table, he said.

"How do you create historical work if you're not living 150 year ago," he said. "You have to do research and know the subject matter."

He hopes to one day give back and share his knowledge the way Swanson, Rigden and Lawson did with him.

"Time was generously given to me by these people, and I am responsible for sharing that knowledge," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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