The National Ranching Heritage Center is home to a life size sculpture On the Banks of the Bosque, sculpted by renowned Cowboy Artist Bruce Greene from Clifton, Texas.
At an early age, Greene knew western art was his calling. He started drawing horses before he was able to write. It was not until a family vacation to San Antonio when he was six-years-old that it became evident where Greene’s passion and skill was.
“They set me out on the patio with a French easel and a paint box. I was looking at the trees and started painting and I remember the light came on,” Greene said. “That day I thought, I get this. That makes sense to me.” Greene said.
By age eight, Greene’s parents enrolled him in a children’s painting class at the Dallas Museum of Fine Art.
“It was great training,” Greene said. “It was painting from life. Many years later I learned that was the best classroom a person can have.”
Bruce did not think he would be an artist for a living. Being a jobless college graduate with a family to raise, he resorted to what he knew best- painting. Greene made $6,000 his first year selling paintings and decided to try it one more year.
“My wife was just sure that was what God meant for me to do.”
“My wife was just sure that was what God meant for me to do, and it would work out,” Greene said.
Bruce sold his art for 10 years before being involved with the Cowboy Artist of America. For anyone pursuing a career as a western artist, the CAA was the pinnacle. In the 80s, the CAA held seminars a few times each year for artists. A collector of Greene’s artwork challenged him to attend the seminars. Not backing down from the challenge, Greene traveled to Kerrville, Texas, and participated in a weeklong seminar.
“I learned more in that week than I learned in four years of college,” Greene said.
He attended every seminar the CAA hosted for next seven years. During that time, Greene began to teach lower level seminars to help pay for the classes he attended. In 1993, after facing a tough panel of judges, Bruce was elected to be a Cowboy Artist. He was now among the best western artist in the nation.
A friendship with NRHC board member and country music artist, Red Steagall pushed Greene’s art to the next level. In 1998, Steagall invited Greene to a branding at the legendary JA Ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Greene was suddenly engulfed in the world he painted for so many years.
“That was when I got the dust in my nose,” Greene said.
By doing more than just observing, Greene was able to paint not from a picture he took but what he felt in those moments. By living, breathing and working in the atmospheres ranch cowboys are in every day, Greene instills those emotions in each piece of artwork he creates. His art takes viewers into that moment and makes them feel as if they are there living, breathing and working in that atmosphere.
Greene’s artwork has appeared in the top art shows in the nation, from the Prix De West to the Cowboy Artist of America, making his art work popular among collectors. In the near future, a Bruce Greene art collection will be residing at the National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock, Texas. Roland and Joyce Jones from Clifton, Texas, have built a collection of Greene’s artwork over the decades and are donating it to the NRHC. From making $6,000 a year in paintings to now having highly sought after art, Greene has become an iconic western artist from the support of his wife and a little dust in his nose.