Cowboy Artists of America, Phoenix Art Museum, Silver Medal Award, 1983
Phippen Museum, A Collector’s Dream: The Walter E. Kessler Collection, 1999
Every Howard Terpning painting begins with a strong drawing, which is then transferred to his canvases to wait for paint. As a former illustrator, his drawings are key to everything that follows, which is what makes mixed-media works such as Buffalo Runners so special—the drawing is right there in plain sight. This work was created for the 1983 Cowboy Artists of America show. It would win the silver award in the drawing category, while his painting Medicine Man of the Cheyenne would win gold the same night.
“Howard understands the basics of design and color along with the mastery of drawing. At the same time, he readily admits to the honored method used by all artists over the centuries, trial and error. He meets each painting on its own terms rather than rely on a formula…Each part of a painting has its own integrity. Nothing is done by memory or guesswork but rather he always goes to the source,” writes Harley Brown in
Howard Terpning: Tribute to the Plains People. “This uniqueness is driven home through the intent study of any of Howard’s paintings. You will see a fierce involvement with his subject; unique attention within each painting that is not repeated in any other of his works. Each painting is a brand-new experience for both Howard and the observer. Howard thinks of himself as a storyteller and in that role he can make the viewer feel the range of emotions from ironic humor, to tense conflict, to heartbreaking loss and defeat. Often the action in the scene hangs in the balance. What does the sound of the distant bugle mean? Is the gesture of the hand raised in peace telling a true or deceitful story? What will sustain the People after the last buffalo is gone? We are fully sharing the story through the gestures and expressions of the characters. From his earliest days, Howard never had a problem knowing when a painting was finished. Without doubt or hesitation there’s an ultimate, final slash of the brush. Howard sits back on his studio chair, exhilarated, then leans forward one more time for... the signature.”