Even as a boy in Washington, renowned American illustrator and painter, Don Weller, was already drawing
horses and cowboys.
When he was out, exploring on his horse, he rode along the banks of the Palouse River or over the rolling hills that surrounded his home near Pullman. He roped calves in high school rodeos and sold cartoons to Western Horseman magazine. His passions have always been horses and art. In college, he continued to rope in college and amateur rodeos in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
When Don Weller graduated from Washington State University with his Fine Art degree, he sold his horses and moved to Los Angeles, where he spent decades working in the field of graphic design and illustration. His work appeared on album covers, on posters, in advertisements, and on hundreds of magazine pages. His art graced the covers of Time Magazine, and TV Guide. He illustrated stories in Readers’ Digest, Sports Illustrated, Boys’ Life, and many others. Don created posters for the Hollywood Bowl, The National Football League, The National Cutting Horse Association, The Rose Bowl, and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He has illustrated three children’s books and published a coffee table book about cutting horses, Pride in the Dust, which he both illustrated and photographed. To date, he has created five stamps for the United States Post Office.
Along with working in illustration and graphic design, Don Weller taught school, part-time, for three years at UCLA (where he met his wife, Cha Cha), and eleven years at the Art Center School in Pasadena. Eventually, Cha Cha and Don moved to Utah, near ParkCity, where a book project for the National Cutting Horse Association introduced him to a neighbor who trained cutting horses, and the west of Don’s childhood came flooding back to him. The cutting horse book project took him to Texas, California, Arizona, and Montana, where he was frequently in arenas and on ranches and soon began to wonder what it would be like to ride those cutting horses. It wasn’t long before he found out, and he’s been addicted ever since.
Nowadays Don and Cha Cha Weller live in rural Oakley, Utah, with Buster the border collie, and five horses who are bred to cut. This is where Don creates his cowboy and western watercolor and acrylic paintings and rides and competes on his cutting horses. In the summers their animal menagerie grows to include an occasional buffalo, and cattle for practice and for training younger horses.
Over the years, Don Weller has received numerous prestigious art awards, including most recently:
2011 Bosque Conservatory: First Place Watercolor, Patron’s Award
2011 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum: Steel Dust Award
2011 American Plains Artists: Golden Spur Award (APA Member’s Choice),
Arrowhead Award (Director’s Choice), Second Place (Overall) Award
2011 Western Artists of America: Artists’ Choice Award, Editor’s Choice Award, Third place watercolor
2011 Western Artists Association, National Western Art Show: Best of Show Water Media
2010 American Plains Artists: Exhibition Award
2010 Art of the Horse: Best of Show
Don’s work has of course, been featured in many of the highest caliber western arts shows around the country, including exhibitions at Cheyenne Frontier Days – Old West Museum, Cheyenne, Wyoming, the Mountain Oysters Show, Tucson, Arizona, the Pearce Museum, Corsicana, Texas, and the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana.
Don Weller is currently exhibiting his cowboy action watercolors featuring working ranch and desert scenes, at Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona, where he will be a guest on the National Day of the Cowboy July 27, 2013. The Don Weller exhibit runs to October 6, 2013.
When the National Day of the Cowboy approached Don about contributing a piece of original artwork to their limited edition National Day of the Cowboy Hatch poster series project, not only was he willing to contribute the art for the 2013 commemorative poster, but he was elated to participate in the project. As a former graphics artist, he was already very familiar with Hatch’s historic letterpress work and he is also friends with Jim Sherraden, the previous owner of Hatch and co-author of the Hatch coffee table book, “Hatch Show Print – The History of a Great American Poster Shop.”
The National Day of the Cowboy organization is extremely proud to have one of America’s premier Western artists, Don Weller of Utah, join the six cowboy and cowgirl artists who have previously contributed their original art to the National Day of the Cowboy Hatch Show Print collectible poster series. Those artists include Jennifer Ward – AZ, Teal Blake – TX, Zane Mead – NM, Christina Holmes – CA, Jim Harrison – FL, and Jim Clements – KS.