Paintings Tell Offbeat Story Of The West


Cowboy artist Conrad Okerwall tells a tale in each of his Western paintings.

"I always try to put a little story into the paintings," said Okerwall, whose logo is a steer's head. "I love to paint Western themes."


Painter Conrad Okerwall is a graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Ill.

Figures, whether people or animals, add depth to the Western landscapes of Okerwall's art.

"Raspberries," a painting of a birch forest in autumn, contains the extra element of a bear nibbling a raspberry bush.

Another painting details a man in a yellow poncho walking his horse to the Oxbow Saloon on a rainy night.

"If there are a lot of figurines like people or horses, it'll take longer to paint," said Okerwall, who uses acrylics, watercolors, pencil sketches and pastels. "Sometimes I work on three or four paintings at the same time. That's the way I like to do it."

Artist Reception: Conrad OkerwallWhen: 5 to 8 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Granny's Attic Antiques, 800 E. Highway 260Cost: Free. Refreshments will be served.Contact: (928) 474-0745

The contents of Okerwall's paintings arise from his imagination.

"I've got more ideas than I'll ever be able to paint," said Okerwall, former president of the Payson Art League.

A painting entitled "The Liar's Club" shows four men drinking and talking as they sit outside "Conrad Livery."

"I do some paintings that are humorous," Okerwall said.

Okerwall attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Ill.

After graduating, he worked in graphic design while owning an advertising business.

"I've been doing art all my life," Okerwall said. "I had painted before, but it became all Western when I moved to Payson in 1988."

Okerwall said the picturesque view of the Mogollon Rim from his studio provides inspiration for his art.

Reading Zane Grey drew him to the West and Payson in particular, Okerwall said.

"I started reading and collecting Zane Grey books in Illinois," said Okerwall, who has read about a dozen of Grey's novels. "My favorite is ‘Riders of the Purple Sage.'"

Okerwall sells Zane Grey books, along with prints and originals of his paintings at Granny's Attic Antiques, where he is a collectables and memorabilia dealer.

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