Born in 1956, Jeff grew up in Alabama watching Gene Autry, The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, and Flipper. He always wanted to be a cowboy (or dolphin wrangler) as a kid. In 1977 he got the opportunity, sort of. Jeff took a job as a cowboy in a living history program on a large ranch in Northern New Mexico teaching thousands of young people and adults about the history of the cattle industry in the 1880s American West. That living history program was 24/7, teaching about everyday working cowboys, cattle barons and all characters in between. He worked the job for seven years and learned a lot about the details of everyday life of an 1880’s Northern New Mexico cowboy. That experience was the real foundation for Jeff’s passion for cowboy art.
During the same period Jeff began painting professionally, particularly cowboy subjects. He signed on with galleries in Ft. Worth and Santa Fe and began doing shows around the Southwest.
Over the years Jeff maintained his relationship with that ranch in Northern New Mexico. To this day, he participates in their cattle drives into the high country, brandings, roping and rodeos. It provides continual inspiration for his paintings. Jeff, his wife and two children split much of their time between the family ranch in West Texas and their main home on the edge of the Nambe River north of Santa Fe. He just moved into a new studio and gallery on the outskirts of Santa Fe.
Jeff’s art inspiration and influence includes N.C. Wyeth, Frank Tenney Johnson, Sir Frank Brangwyn, Frederick Remington and the action of Charlie Russell. A few of the Taos Painters: Victor Higgins, W. Herbert Dunton, and E. Irving Couse have also been a continual influence. His technique is a traditional approach employed by many of the old European Masters, beginning with a good drawing, then a monochromatic underpainting to establish patterns and values. Next, he lays in color and finishes up with some glazing. Jeff’s paintings are technically involved and usually take days or weeks to complete. According to Jeff, each image needs to be developed around a tight drawing, good composition and design principles, a little atmospheric romance, hopefully a little action and drama, engaging color, good strong brushwork and a little bit of storytelling. And as Harvey Dunn would say, “a little less about the details and a little more about the spirit.”
For the past three decades, Jeff has been working to become a better painter. He has taken a few detours, but never stopped painting. His experiences teaching young people about the history of the American West, as well as the family ranching activities has given him a unique opportunity to develop as a cowboy artist.
Jeff graduated with a Fine Art degree from the University of Alabama, and over the years has continued to take workshops from other great artists he admires. And of course, there is nothing like standing in front of, and studying a great painting. As an artist, Jeff strives for a better eye, and an awareness and understanding of the great paintings that have come before him.
Until recently, Jeff has been a member of the prestigious Western Artists of America. In 2012 he moved on as one of eight founders of a new group, The Artists of the American West, whose home will be at The Pearce Museum In Corsicana, Texas. He is represented by Trailside Galleries, Scottsdale, Arizona and Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Southwest Gallery, Dallas, Texas, and Mountain Trails Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In 2015, Jeff was honored to be chosen as the Official Artist of the Boy Scouts of America. Jeff is only the Third Official Artist ever behind Norman Rockwell who served for 60 years & Joseph Csatari who served for the past 40 years.