Tough by Nature, High Desert Museum

Photo © High Desert Museum

Artist Lynda Lanker from Eugene, Oregon, traveled throughout the West for 19 years pursuing a passion: capturing the invincible spirit of ranch women and cowgirls through sketches, photographs, paintings and interviews. Her exhibition of that work, “Tough by Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West,” runs at the High Desert Museum through January 10, 2016.

“The High Desert Museum is thrilled to bring such a high-quality art exhibition to the Bend community,” says Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Faith Powell. ”Lanker’s portraits expose a side of the Wild West that is rarely seen.”

As the American West transforms from ranching and agriculture roots, Lanker’s images document a vanishing way of life that affirms the role of these iconic contemporary women in the economy and ecology of the West. “Her lifelike paintings make you feel as if you’ve just met some of the talented women that she depicts. It’s a beautiful and inspiring show filled with vivid stories of ranchers and cowgirls that is not to be missed!” says Powell.

Featured in the exhibition are charcoal and graphite drawings, stone and plate lithographs, acrylics, oil pastels and egg tempera.

A hard-cover, fully illustrated book of the exhibition including contributions by Larry McMurtry, Sandra Day O’Conner and Maya Angelou will be available for sale. This exhibition was organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon in Eugene.

For information on this and other museum exhibits, visit To learn more about travel to Central Oregon, go to