An award-winning member of the Cowboy Artists of America, Mikel Donahue is best known for his impeccable depictions of cowboy life. His drawings and paintings portray ranchers and their livestock during the day-to-day ritual of sun-up to sun-down work on the ranch. Seemingly mundane chores are captured and translated through his artistic style into moments of meaning and reflection.
As described in Southwest Art magazine, “A pensive, almost dreamlike sheen emanates from most of Donahue’s canvases, a result of both his informed approach toward his subject matter — of composition and understanding of the principles of design and form.” His knowledge of the subject matter is aided by time spent on ranches, hundreds of photographs, and numerous sketches and field notes to remind him of certain moments.
Mikel, who was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was taught about life on the ranch by his paternal grandfather, who raised cattle in north-central Oklahoma. It was Mikel’s maternal grandfather who exposed him to Western art at an early age with memorable trips to Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum and what was then the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Fascinated both by life on the ranch and the iconic art by the likes of Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, as an adult Mikel has become a perfect amalgam of his influences with a life breeding Quarter Horses with his wife, Christie, on their place outside of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and an award-winning career in the arts.
In May 2017, Mikel was inducted into the Will Rogers High School Hall of Fame, joining musicians Leon Russell, David Gates, and Elvin Bishop, designers Paul Davis and Joe Johnston, and many other renowned notables. Mikel’s numerous awards include: the John Steven Jones Purchase Award from the Bosque Art Classic; the Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Award for artist of the year; and the prestigious Premier Platinum Award and William E. Weiss Purchase Award from the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale. He has shown in Prix de West at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and his work hangs in many museums, galleries, and private collections throughout the country. He has been featured in such publications as Art of the West, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, Western Horseman, American Cowboy, America’s Horse, and The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal.