Two paintings by Poncha Springs artist Judy Sprague, “Ancient Pueblos” and “Apples,” have been accepted into the 39th annual Western Spirit International Art Show and Sale to be held March 7-April 19 at Old West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The show will kick off with an opening reception March 7 featuring a quick-draw, live entertainment and hors d’oeuvres. The juried show features more than 400 original pieces of Western art from artists all over the country.

“I’ve been accepted into this show about 10 times over the last 13 years,” Sprague said, “and I always feel honored to be included. It’s a fantastic high-end show. The work is beautiful and over 800 people attend the catered reception. These are people who love and purchase art, and the ambiance is wonderful.”

Sprague has a bachelor’s degree in art and education, a master’s degree in art in education and counseling and post-master’s academic work in psychology, with a background in education and mental health, but she said art is her calling.

She taught art at high school and college levels as well as graduate-level art courses at Adams State College Extended Studies and Western State College Summer Institute and was a guidance counselor in high schools and a mental health therapist at the Center for Mental Health in Montrose.

Retirement from education in 2002 opened the door to a second career in art. She has participated in and won awards in a long list of juried national and international fine art exhibitions as well as numerous Colorado and regional shows, the last local show being at Collegiate Peaks Realty in 2019.

“I enjoy creating emotion and color in my oil and pastel paintings,” Sprague said, “and I especially like capturing old weathered buildings, rodeo action and Native American aspects as well as landscapes of beautiful places I’ve loved.”

After living 28 years in Gunnison and 19 years in Greeley, she decided to retire in the Salida area in 2017.

“Salida is a beautiful area and I’ve always loved it,” she said.

Tickets to Western Spirit International Art Show and Sale can be purchased at westernspiritartshow.org. More of Sprague’s art can be seen at judyspragueart.com.

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