Art conversation features paint and pen team

ST. GEORGE – Cowboy poet Roger Conrad and Western artist Bonnie Conrad, who refer to themselves as the “Paint and Pen Team,” will be featured presenters for the St. George Art Museum’s third Thursday Art Conversation on June 18, 2015. Beginning at 7 p.m., Roger Conrad – the evening’s main attraction – will share his poignant, hilarious and heartwarming cowboy poetry along with a narrative about ranching and cowboy life.

Like most rural kids born in the mid-40s, Roger grew up in the country where livestock, land and machinery sustained life and self-reliance and independence were the way of life.

After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, Roger went on to earn an MBA then spent his career managing large ranches around the western states. It was at a Cattleman’s Convention in Worland, Wyoming where Roger was introduced to the medium of poetry while being entertained Baxter Black. The veterinarian-turned-cowboy poet expressed deep-seated feelings about the people, the land, the livestock, and the values of the agricultural community. About the experience, Roger Conrad said:

“I determined to use the same medium to get my personal thoughts onto paper so my posterity might someday know me better.”

That very evening during a long night-shift on calving duty, the St. George resident wrote “No Second Chances,” about people being responsible for their own performance.

“It was February of 1989. Bonnie was regularly painting western works and when she finished one she would ask my opinion about the painting.” Roger Conrad said. “This process turned into one of me writing a poem about some value or trait from our rural life her painting invoked in me,”

For the museum program, the Conrad’s will combine art and poetry to inform the audience about what he believes to be the real reasons behind the mythical legend of the American Cowboy “which draws people to participate to one degree or another,” he said.

Bonnie Conrad will join her husband in reflecting on their ranch life, her rural heritage, life experiences and how these influences have impacted her work.

Bonnie Conrad’s large body of work represents more than 20 years of painting professionally. She is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America and American Women Artists as well as American Plains Artists. Several of her works are currently on display as part of “Ride On In: Cowboys Come to the St. George Art Museum” as well as in the St. George Art Museum’s permanent collections.

Among many prestigious recognitions, she was awarded the American Plains Artists First Place Oil 2009 and Best of Show 2004, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 2008 Poster artist, St. George Arts Festival Best of Show 2004, Zwei Tu Color Award Oil Painter’s of America 2003, First Place Oil American Academy of Women Artists 2003, and Best of Show Western Spirit 2003.

The third Thursday Art Conversation is an adult gathering of art lovers interested in more information about the artist and her medium. The art conversation program is free-of-charge.

The St. George Art Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 47 E. 200 N., in St. George. According to the museum’s mission statement, the city-owned and operated facility exists “to educate … through quality exhibitions from all periods, cultures and media … and to collect, conserve, inventory, exhibit and interpret art and artifacts from Utah and the West.”

For more information about this and other Art Conversations, the current cowboy art exhibit or about how the local community can support the programs of the St. George Art Museum, call 435-627-4525.


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