Characteristics of Art of the Western US

The art of the Western US is distinctive and immediately recognizable for its themes, colors, and styles. Although artists in the Western states explore countless schools of art, art that is considered to be Western depicts the colors, landscapes, and people that are native to that portion of the country. The Western Art Association is dedicated to preserving art from this region that reflects these traditional characteristics. Here is a closer look at the features of the art of the region.


Landscape painting is enormously popular in Western art. Artists who came to the Western US were taken with its large mountains, vast deserts, and expansive blue skies, and they featured them frequently in their works. Many works of art from this region reflect the colors that are common in landscape, including browns, yellows, and blues, mixed with puffy, white clouds. A frequent feature in Western paintings is to have the sun shining from behind the clouds or highlighting specific features of the landscape.

Native Americans

Native Americans and Native American culture also feature prominently in Western art. Paintings depict Native American communities, customs, and lifestyles, and many Western artists showed Native American culture with great reverence. Tribe leaders were portrayed as strong and regal. The relationship that Native Americans have with the land and the natural life in the region is also a prominent theme of Western art.

Cowboy Culture

Some Western art relies heavily on depictions of cowboys who moved to the region from the east and who built ranches and ran livestock. Cowboys are shown as rugged and brave and were almost always shown riding their horses with speed and skill.

Immerse yourself in the art of the Western US at the Western Art Association & Goodey Gallery in Ellensburg, WA. Find out more about openings, exhibits, and how you can get involved by calling (509) 962-2934.