Mike capron

Painter of the West

Mike Capron Mike Capron

After decades in the saddle punching cows and living on a ranch, Mike Capron approaches his art with genuine cowboy authenticity. His three passions shine from his oil paintings to his pen and ink artwork: ridin', ropin', and paintin'.

At the ripe age of 5, Mike knew he wanted to be a cowboy. After a semester in college, the desire to be a cowboy grew, and he chose to pursue his lifelong dream of working on ranches. He loved the long hours in the saddle working hard under the beating sun, and it was a dream he was glad to share alongside his beloved wife, Ann.

As a young man, he hoped to avoid the draft service while his passion for cattle continued to grow. In 1965, he worked at the Bow & Arrow Cattle Co. on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, making $125 a month and couldn't believe how much he was earning to ride and rope. However, in September of that year, Uncle Sam found him, and he was drafted to serve in the Marine Corps.

Man drawing Man drawing

While serving in Vietnam, Mike enrolled in their famous artist course. Throughout the program, he learned composition and technique from the greats like Norman Rockwell and Harold Von Schmidt. He took those lessons very seriously and enjoyed solidifying the foundation of his craft during all three years of his service.

Mike sitting on saddle in studio, painting Mike sitting on saddle in studio, painting

After returning from the war, Mike and Ann continued working at various ranches, and he would prioritize painting early and late in the day. He would jump on any opportunity to attend local painting workshops and study under new artists between buying and selling horses. In 1978, he met Jan Herring in Clint, TX. She helped him focus on still lifes and portraits and pushed him to not rely on photographs to paint as it would inhibit his long-term abilities.

Close up of men's boot Close up of men's boot

Mike is fueled by the challenge of his three passions and the art they entail. He says, "nobody rides every horse, nobody catches every cow, and nobody makes a masterpiece every time." It's important to him that all of his paintings are entirely believable for the viewer and that they can connect with that piece of art.

Mike on horseback in front of sunset Mike on horseback in front of sunset

His paintings detail men he's known, and he works hard to honor them in each of his brushstrokes that paint their unique stories. The stories of those people matter to him, so he focuses on historical accuracy instead of financial gain when planning a painting. It's a mental process of dedicating himself entirely to a painting, so he keeps six stations at a time. When he reaches a stopping point with one painting, he sets it aside for honest review at a separate time. Switching from painting to painting helps him feel refreshed.

Like respecting his mental process while painting, Mike is attuned to his body. Staying in one position while painting wears on him, so he often goes back to where he feels at home: in the saddle. His core is solid after decades horseback, and he finds comfort painting from the saddle.

Close up of brush painting canvas Close up of brush painting canvas

Mike Capron is an excellent example of a man fully pursuing his natural talents, and he imparts the same wisdom to others searching for that fire within their soul. He believes our passions are vital to building a life of purpose, and they can be found by following our divine guidelines. Mike encourages others to pay attention to the moment and not the mountain. Take care of this very moment and do the best you can right now to prepare yourself to climb the mountain ahead.

Mike pursues everything to the nth degree, whether he's training horses, painting, or working cattle. He tries not to identify with ease. Sometimes easy is okay, but often it's less rewarding in the long run.

And there's nothing more cowboy than that.

Close up of Mike drawing Close up of Mike drawing