Jeff St. John moved to Stephenville last December so he could be close to his subjects.

“I moved here because it’s the Cowboy Capital of the World and I’m a western artist,” St. John said.

St. John will soon turn 59, but didn’t find his niche until he was 42, when he began painting in oil part-time. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1972 with a Fine Arts Degree, majoring in advertising art with a minor in illustration, but never used his art degree.

“I did everything before that,” he said. “I made a huge change in order to feel good and secure everyday about doing what I’m meant to do. This is so fulfilling. You can’t put a dollar sign on what I do; the fulfillment factor is priceless.”

Now, St. John is painting fulltime.

St. John said he grew up in a farming community and those experiences have influenced his art. As a child, he always drew and his talent was well known.

“In elementary school the librarian would pull me out of class to help her with setting up her drawings and room,” St. John said. “In sixth grade my teacher told the class if you have any questions about art just ask Jeff.”

“My people were farmers,” St. John said. “I spent all my time as a young man on the farm in Odessa.”

St. John said he had many fond memories of his family and especially appreciated their “integrity and humor.”

“I hope to bring that integrity and humor into my artwork and want it to be convincing, powerful, strong in composition, and spark an emotional response,” St. John said. “I strive for maturity in art, and plan to pursue it for the rest of my life.”

St. John’s work can be viewed at the Riverbend Fine Art Gallery in Marble Falls. Most of his work can also be seen on the gallery Web site at www.riverbendfineart.com.

St. John will be at the gallery for “Night on the Riverbend Trail” a birthday party honoring Frederick Remington and western art exhibit from 5 - 8 p.m. Oct. 6., to personally show off his work. For more information call (830) 693-6632.

ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at angelia.joiner@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124,ext. 238