Mikel Donahue, b. Tulsa, OK, (United States)
Mikel Donahue is best known for his impeccable depictions of cowboy life. His colored pencil drawings and paintings portray ranchers and their livestock during the day-to-day ritual of sun-up to sun-down work on the ranch. What may seem as mundane chores are captured and translated through his artistic style into moments of meaning and reflection.
As described in a 2011 issue of Southwest Art magazine, "A pensive, almost dream-like sheen emanates from most of Donahue's canvases, a result of both his informed approach toward his subject matter and his technical proficiency." A past career in commercial design helped Donahue perfect his sense of composition and understanding of the principles of design and form.
His knowledge of the subject matter is aided by time spent on ranches, hundreds of photographs, and numerous sketches and field notes to remind him of certain moments. Donahue, who was born and raised in Tulsa, was taught about life on the ranch by his paternal grandfather who raised cattle in north central Oklahoma. It was Donahue's maternal grandfather who exposed him to western art at an early age with memorable trips to Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum and what was then the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (now National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum) in Oklahoma City.
Fascinated both by life on the ranch and the iconic art by the likes of Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, Donahue has become a perfect amalgam of his influences with a life breeding quarter horses with his wife Christie on their place outside Broken Arrow and an award-winning career in the arts.