Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council has a new exhibition featuring western artist Bill Chappell at the River North Gallery. The free exhibit is open to the public through the end of August.

Chappell was a prolific western artist and sculptor who developed a love of art at an early age. He began with clay sculptures, painting, wood carving and leather carving.

Eventually, Chappell would turn his love of leatherwork into a successful saddlery where his attention to detail and craftmanship caught the attention of rodeo organizers who commissioned him in 1951 to create the first World Champion Rodeo Cowgirl saddle.

“Mr. Chappell’s story is inspirational,” said CTFAC Executive Director Whitney Lee. “His son, Gene, has worked to preserve his father’s legacy since his death in 2010. Not only can we appreciate the talent in Mr. Chappell’s work, but his story reminds us that life is the culmination of our choices.”

Chappell was born in 1919 and grew up as a ranch hand, only completing school through the sixth grade. But Chappell continued to study and develop his love of art, using leatherwork as occupational therapy during his time in the Navy.

Chappell’s artwork includes impressive works in oil, bronze sculpting and leather carving. He has been highlighted in publications such as the Western Horseman, Paint Horse Journal and Wild West Magazine.  Collectors from across the nation have sought his original creations and his work has even been featured in the Cowboy Hall of Fame. 

Chappell’s son has also opened a gallery in Hamilton.

The Bill Chappell Western Art Exhibition will be on display at the River North Gallery until Aug. 30.  

Many of the pieces are available for purchase, including original oils as well as reprints of previously sold works. 

A reception with Chappell’s son Gene is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the River North Gallery. 

CTFAC has three other exhibits currently on display, including a collection of acrylic canvases by artist Carolyn Gartman at the Stephenville Senior Citizens Center; Student art by Danika Garcia at the Stephenville Public Library; and photography by Rafael Sanchez at Clark Field Regional Airport.