Ron Morris, Sr. - Will James Society

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By Sharon DeCarlo

Ron Morris, Sr. is one of our own! Yes, besides being a great longtime fan of Will James and an accomplished western artist, he is our Vice President of the Will James Society.

Ron's inspiration to be the phenomenal artist he is today started when he was, as he states it, "a little guy". Thank God for parents that used to read to us before bedtime. “Dad would read Will James books, especially ‘Smoky the Cowhorse’, to my sister and me before we went to sleep." Before he could read, Ron was visually soaking up those wonderful illustrations in James books and trying his hand at drawing the images of horses and cowboys. "I got in some trouble from time to time drawing on the walls and anything that was handy”, remembers Ron.

Born in Delta, Colorado, Ron Morris has always lived in the country. He feels fortunate that throughout his life he has been around his favorite subject matter. Cattle ranches, cowboys and all kinds of horses have been right there at his fingertips. He spends a lot of time at local ranches owned and operated by his good friends and experiencing their daily tasks as cowboys. He photographs much of what he draws and personally experiences the long days in the saddle, the exhaustion, harsh elements, dirt, dust and spirituality of the cattlemen. This is always evident in his work.

Ron doesn't miss much, if anything, when he puts his interpretation down on paper. His drawings tell a story with great detail of a moment or an event many of us never get to experience. I personally rate a piece of art on how it grabs my attention and pulls me into the situation it portrays. Ron's work is at the top of my list of drawings that tell me what has passed, what will take place and the immediate feeling the situation is communicating.

Ron's horses are all knowing and the unsaid is always stated with his perfect understanding of light, shading, human expression and understanding of cowboy tack, clothes, and equine conformation. Ron's work is exceptional at leaving you with insight and understanding of what takes place every day in this dying way of life that is gradually galloping away to become the past. It also serves as a lasting recording of our American Cowboys, Cattlemen, women and children. Just as Will James could draw a horse to come alive and rear off the page at you, Ron's subjects invite you into the situation and you feel a part of it. Both artists share that wonderful ability of old fashioned western storytelling.

Ron chose pencil as his medium right from the start. "I feel comfortable with pencil; there is so much you can do with the values, shading, contrast and complicated light. I keep finding out new things I can do and I am constantly intrigued by the hidden possibilities that I discover while drawing with pencil."

Besides being influenced by Will James in his early years, Ron recounts his chance of a lifetime was when he attended an AH workshop and was able to study under Bob "Shoofly" Shufelt in the early 90s. "This, he states, was the real beginning of my serious career as an artist. Our friendship continues today and Bob still influences my art."

Ron's' Awards and Commissions:
Featured artist in Western Horsemen in June of 2000.
Featured drawing twice on the cover of the Rocky Mountain Rider out of Montana.
Ron has achieved many first place and best of show awards at several local competitions.
Commissioned to do a drawing for the cover of a historical published book, "Murder and Mystery on the Grand Mesa." "As the Fishing Feud Begins", authored by Jim Wetzel.

Ron Morris, Sr. was invited to exhibit his work at the 2012 Will James Society Gather in the same room alongside the Will James original art exhibit at the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko, Nevada. Morris's work remained through Elko's National Poetry Gather 2013. This was my first opportunity to view Ron's work and I was so impressed and delighted that his art was a presence at our Gather; it added real class and quality to the WJS Gather event.

This Ron states, "was such a great honor"!

For more information on Ron Morris, Sr., Western Pencil Artist
Contact him at: PO Box 85 Naturita, CO 81422

See his work at:

This is an excerpt from the Spring 2013 issue of Cowboys North & South. A paid membership will get you the magazine with all the full articles.

First Day on the Job
First Day on the Job
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Sortin' Pairs
Sortin' Pairs
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Paitent Teachers
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Fixin' To Get Wet
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