Earl Kuhn

Earl was born in Hays, Kansas in 1947.  He grew up in rural Plainville, just north of Hays, around horses and cowboys and his passion for them helped him discover his talent and love for art.  In grade school he was always doing sketches of horses or cowboy scenes.  High school allowed him to further develop his talents in several mediums but his favorite was watercolor.

Earl attended Fort Hays State University majoring in art education and participating in rodeo club doing numerous commission paintings and drawings for many of his cowboy friends and acquaintances.  After college he taught high school art for nine years while continuing to develop his own artistic talent.  Earl opened his own studio, The Sagebrush Gallery of Western Art, in 1979 and has been painting full time from there ever since. 

Since opening his own studio, Earl has focused on working mainly in watercolor but also enjoys using pencil.  Most of his watercolor paintings start out as pencil sketches.  He paints strictly on rag illustration board.  The more traditional technique using watercolor paper is loose and fluid but Earl has found that the illustration board allows for much more control in creating the subtle textures and intense details for which he is known. 

Earl met Kaye Lukens in rodeo club during college.  Kaye was from Medicine Lodge, Kansas and had been participating in rodeos and showing horses her entire life.  Earl and Kaye were married in 1970 and soon moved back to Kaye’s hometown where her father, Dale Lukens, became a major inspiration for Earl’s paintings.  Dale raised registered paint horses and day-worked for many of the local cattle ranchers.  He was a well-respected horseman who would go on to be inducted into the American Paint Horse Association Hall of Fame.  Earl would often accompany Dale to many of these ranches to help work cattle by horseback and gathered an abundance of great subject matter for his paintings.  Several of Earl’s sons and grandsons have continued this tradition becoming great horsemen themselves and served as subject matter for many of his recent works including Preschool, Packin’ Two and Elm Creek Crossing, among others. 

Many of Earl’s paintings continue to depict realistic scenes of contemporary ranch cowboys and their horses and livestock on picturesque landscapes.  His stunning detail, incredibly accurate depictions, and prevalent use of light and shadow have helped him to receive numerous honors and awards over the years, including a number of commemorative works and magazine covers and features.  His paintings hang in numerous private and corporate art collections throughout the United States.  “I love the cowboy way of life and enjoy the challenge to make each painting as realistic and lifelike as possible.”  -Earl Kuhn 

 Honors and Awards

  • Artist of the Year at the American Royal Western Art Show
  • Best of Show at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo’s Best of the West Western Art Show
  • Best of Show at the Chuckwagon Art Show in Albuquerque, NM
  • Gold, silver and bronze medals at the National Western Artists and Texas Cowboy Artists shows in several years
  • Inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, KS as the Kansas Cowboy Artist of the Year in 2010
  • Mercedes Boot Award for Best of Show in painting at the Texas Cowboy Artist show
  • Signature artist for America’s Horse in Art sponsored by the AQHA

 Commemorative Paintings, Prints and Posters

  • Kansas Livestock Association’s 100th Anniversary Commemorative Painting “Yearlings”
  • Cheyenne Frontier Days Poster
  • World Paint Horse Show Program Cover and Poster
  • World Championship Ranch Rodeo Program and Membership Print
  • Poster for the Chuckwagon Art Show
  • El Paso Southwestern Roundup Rodeo Program Cover

 Magazine Covers and Features

  • America’s Horse (cover and feature)
  • Angus Journal (cover)
  • Art of the West (feature)
  • Hereford World (cover)
  • High Plains Journal (cover)
  • Inform Art (feature)
  • Kansas Cattleman (cover)
  • Kansas Horseman (cover)
  • Kansas Stockman (cover and feature)
  • New Mexico Cattleman (cover)
  • Paint Horse Journal (cover and feature)
  • Super Looper (cover)
  • The Cowboy Magazine (cover)
  • Western Horseman (cover and feature)

 Art Galleries and Corporate Collections

  • Sagebrush Gallery of Western Art in Medicine Lodge, KS
  • Ella Carothers Dunnegan Museum in Bolivar, MO
  • High Plains Journal in Dodge City, KS
  • Kansas Farm Bureau in Manhattan, KS
  • Kansas Livestock Association in Topeka, KS
  • Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS
  • Saddle & Sirloin Club in Kansas City, MO

 Art Shows

  • America’s Horse in Art Show by the AQHA in Amarillo, Texas
  • Governor’s Invitational Art Show at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Mountain Oyster Club Show in Tucson, Arizona
  • Empire Ranch Foundation Show in Sonoita, Arizona
  • NEBRASKAland Days Western and Wildlife Art Show in North Platte, Nebraska
  • Peppertree Art Show in Santa Ynez, California
  • Western Heritage Art Show in Littleton, Colorado
  • Winter Gala and Benefit Art Show and Sale in Ardmore, Oklahoma