New Exhibition Reveals the Artistic Process of Award-Winning Watercolorist

Exhibition highlights the mind and methods of Lowell Ellsworth Smith and his belief in the power and potential of creative energy.

OKLAHOMA CITY, May 20 – The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum presents Lowell Ellsworth Smith: My Theology of Painting on May 27. This new exhibition is drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection featuring more than 20 watercolor studies by award-winning Lowell Ellsworth Smith. Born in Canton, Ohio, in 1924, and educated at the University of Miami-Ohio, Ellsworth worked many years as a commercial illustrator, but was well known as a Western landscape watercolorist. He died in 2008. The exhibition is on view in the National Cowboy Museum’s Brodkin Gallery through July 9, 2017.

The exhibition explores the award-winning artist’s deeply personal artistic interpretations concerning his varied subject matter, often including town-scapes, churches, and other public spaces where society gathered. The watercolor and pencil studies were a 2004 gift to the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center at the National Cowboy Museum from the artist. The exhibition includes photographs, quotes, and personal observations made throughout Smith’s eminent career.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

· More than 20 watercolor portrait and landscape studies inspired by the American West and Mexico
· The 1983 Prix de West Purchase Award winning painting: Church Façade, Plaza del Oriente
· An intimate glimpse of Smith’s approach to art and life

During an interview in 1982, Smith said, “I try to be honest in painting the West. I’m painting my emotional response to it. I try to simplify it and get down to the real essence of it.” Smith’s approach earned him a Prix de West Purchase Award the following year when the Museum purchased Church Façade, Plaza del Oriente, for its permanent collection in 1983. Hundreds of art collectors, including former Texas governor John Connally and oilman T. Boone Pickens, have also purchased his paintings.

“He lived for the moment and painted what he saw, and, as importantly, what he felt, leaving something of himself in each of his works,” said Kimberly Roblin, Curator of Archival and Photographic Collections and the Smith exhibitions curator at the National Cowboy Museum. “I hope that visitors will learn to recognize this gifted artist.”

About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located only six miles northeast of Downtown Oklahoma City, at the junction of Interstates 44 and 35, the state’s exciting Adventure Road corridor. The Museum offers annual memberships beginning at just $40. For more information, visit

For high-resolution images related to the Museum or this exhibition, visit