1959, after receiving a Bachelors Degree in Art from the Art
Center College of Design, in Los Angeles, I had a career
decision to make, whether to go into advertising art or to
follow my dream of painting the West. At the time, no market
existed for realism, let alone Western Art. I decided to
follow my dream. Again I had a decision to make. The choice
was whether to paint the Old West of the past,
I had no first-hand knowledge, or to chronicle the story of
the Contemporary West. I chose the Contemporary West.
If I painted the people and my experiences while visiting
ranches, then the ideas and subjects of the paintings would
be mine and accurate. I thought it was important to record
the American West as I witnessed it. Being an eyewitness to
a period of the history of the west, I portrayed real
cowboys, working on real ranches. I accurately showed their
lives and times. I realized that their story continued after
the settling of the Old West. I wanted to tell their story.
I eventually saw the West as more than ranching and the
American Cowboy. I began to do paintings which included
American Women, Graffiti, the Homeless, Wildlife, Vietnam
Vets, and others, while still painting the American Cowboy.
Because of this, I am now better known as a painter of
Western Americana means the expanded reality
of the Contemporary West. A West that is not romanticized in
art, as is the Old West, but the real West of today. Why
realism? Since I was painting real people and animals, I
wanted to show various types in order to better express my
painting ideas. For over fifty years, I have painted the
Contemporary American West as it is, unvarnished.
It was quoted about me in the 1997 National Cowboy Hall
Of Fame and Western Heritage Center’s Prix de West catalog,
“He is a historian who records his time
in pictures rather than words, and as Russell and other
in-their-time “contemporary” chroniclers of the West are
seen today as painters of the “historic West”, so Snidow
will be seen in the future. And as his philosophical
perceptions of the work he does and his place in the world
of western art have evolved and changed, so have the
subjects of his paintings. Although still painting the part
of Americana that has brought him recognition – the
contemporary American cowboy at work and play – Snidow is
recording other aspects of his time.”
As a charter member of the Cowboy Artists of America, I
served in every office of the organization, including three
times as President. While an active member, I had the
privilege of competing with such artists as Clymer,
Lockheed, Lovell, Warren, Reynolds, Terpning, McGrew, Riley
and Ryan. After 25 years of active membership, I retired
from competition to become a Member Emeritus. At that time,
I was CA’s top medal winner, with 27 Gold and Silver Medals,
including three Best of Show. I also co-founded and served
on the first board of directors of the CA museum in
Kerrville, Texas. I am no longer a member.
In my career, I have been lucky. Coors Brewery responded
positively when I created the famous Coors Cowboy Collectors
Series. This Series has appeared as part of the sets in such
movies as “RAINMAN” and “WINTER’S BONE”. I have three books
written about me as well as being the subject of a BBC film.
In 1998 I was awarded The New Mexico Governor’s Award for
Excellence in the Arts. The 2003 New Mexico Legislature
honored me as Artist of the American West. Most recently, I
was honored as the guest artist at the C.M. Russell Show in
Great Falls, Montana. I was requested to exhibit my work at
the Norman Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY.
My work has shown around the world including, Russia,
France, England, China, Germany, and many more. In the
United States, I have been invited to many major shows and
my paintings hang in the permanent collections of numerous
museums. Retrospective shows of my work have appeared in
museums in New Mexico, Texas, and the prestigious
Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
I was born in Paris, Mo. in 1936. I now reside in
ABOUT THE PAINTING MEDIUM - GOUACHE (Pronounced,
Grr-wash) as used by Gordon Snidow.
Gouache is a watercolor medium. The binder and the
non-drying chemical are the same as transparent watercolor,
however, the pigment is slightly larger. White can be added
to the paint. The finest watercolor paper or illustration
board is used on which to paint. These are 100% rag, ph
neutral, they will not yellow. Snidow feels this is a
superior combination of materials. The oil in oil paint will
turn yellow with age. There is no oil in gouache. The
pigments are the same in both mediums, so the permanency of
color are the same or better in gouache.
Gouache can be applied in light transparent washes and/or
mixed with white. It is a very difficult medium to master,
since the value of the paint that is wet is darker than the
paint when it dries on the paper.
Once the painting is finished, Snidow applies several
coats of top grade varnish to the painting for protection.
The advantage to using varnish, is to eliminate the use of
glass and to return the color to the original intensity the
artist saw when the color was wet.