The Pearce Collections at Navarro College main page | How the Collection Began
New Acquisitions | New Acquisitions | Artists Represented | Contact Information | Resources

Buck McCain

Spirit Painter, Oil, 30" x 24"©

The Invocation, Bronze,©

On display in front of the Cook Arts, Science, and Technology Center

Buffalo Dancer, Oil, 48" x 30"©


Buck McCain is and always will be a westerner. He grew up as a fifth generation cattle rancher on a large spread located between San Diego and El Centro. He acquired his love of vast landscapes, native people, and nature’s moods early in his life. A profile on him in Cowboy’s and Indians magazine said he has “western life running through his veins”. He knows the people, their spirit and natures, having paid his dues in the hot sun of a sprawling family ranch.

He studied pre-med and philosophy at the University of San Diego and Imperial Valley College in El Centro. He later attended the University of Guadalajara Insituto de Artes Plasticas in Mexico. However, when he turned to art in his 20s, he was basically self-taught. He has been painting since 1968, and in 1971 visited Santa Fe as part of a crew for a movie that never was made. He fell in love with New Mexico and its opalescent light and lived there for nine years.

During that time his subject matter included cowboy life, Indians, landscapes, and classical nudes, inspired by a year spent painting in Europe.

Although critics in Santa Fe tried to pigeonhole his work, they never could. Winning the prestigious Franklin Mint Gold Medal Award for painting in 1974 marked a turning point in McCain’s career. In 1976, McCain began sculpting and critics say switching from oils to bronzes seems to lend his work vitality and freshness. He says, “Thank God I get to paint the West.” He adds, “I would be just half an artist without both sculpting and painting in my life. I paint the world as it should be and I strive to reach universal truths in all I create by exploring timeless themes and emotions.”

McCain’s work has been profiled in Southwest Art, Sculpture Review, Sunset, Western Horseman, The Equine Image, and Architectural Digest, among other numerous publications. In the Cowboys and Indians profile he was quoted as saying, “The American West is a world class phenomenon. The ethic of the cowboy is so profound – hard work, honesty, stewardship of the land, and patriotism. The fascination of the non-Indian for the Indian will always exist, because the Indians and their cultures are just so magnificent and beautiful.”

He believes his work is compelling to people, not just those who grew up in the West, and says it all goes back to mythology. “We are in the process of living and inventing our own mythology, and it’s still new, still growing. Our western experience just isn’t past tense yet. The interesting thing is that it’s not cowboys and Indians who are inventing it, but rather artists and writers. The West is being passed down from real life into legend.

Source: , available online from






©Navarro College Library and Learning Resource Center
Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas. Site last updated January 2004.