He left Oklahoma with $20 in his pocket. Wayne Cooper came back with a world wide reputation for his western art.

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DEPEW, OKLAHOMA -- He sits amidst the gifts, props, and pictures gathered over 75 years of travel.

"I'm always thinking about something," says Wayne Cooper. "All these things come together and you get an idea, and you do little, quick sketches."

He draws them, and draws from them as he paints.

Cooper continues, "About half way through, everything goes away and you're let the painting do itself."

This painting might be a rendering of a bull elk bugling, but the setting is a social one.

Pointing to a grouping of female elk in the background, Wayne chuckles, "You like all those pretty girls around there."

That sunset might as well be right outside his door.

"It's like the light is shining right through it," he says. "If you watch you get this little bit of orange shining through stuff."

He left Depew after high school with $20.00 he borrowed from his parents and the idea that if he got to Chicago he could make it in the art world.

"So I got better at what I did," he says.

Wayne was right.

Over the past 50 years his western art has traveled to every corner of the globe.

He has 20 pieces hanging in the Oklahoma State Capitol alone.

He came home to take care of his ailing mother, but, really, his art never left.

Cooper continued to paint the cowboys he knew including 'Pistol Pete', the oil rigs his dad worked on, and the sunsets he continues to watch when the sky is clear.

"What I'm looking at," he says, "Is the light outside, maybe a shadow across the ground."

Light and shadow play across his courtyard, and across his creations now.

Those Oklahoma sunsets cast golden light to everything he touches.

Cooper is hosting a one person show at his studio and home on May 26, 2018.

For more information go to his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Wayne-Cooper-Art-Gallery-146322522046273/

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