Rachel Mellard Art
- April 6, 2018
- Tiffany Schwenke
Deep down in South West Texas is a lady, cowgirl, artist, mother, wife, photographer, and all around awesome person that I am excited to introduce you to! I find Rachel Mellard Art refreshing and enjoyable. I find the lady behind the art, Rachel Mellard herself, to be pure at heart and like a breath of fresh air. So it makes sense that the soft colors in her art reflect her characteristics and depict her beautiful western lifestyle.
I recently asked Rachel Mellard some questions about herself…
CS: Please tell us about your history… how and where you were raised…
RM: I was raised near Lovington, NM on what we call a stock farm, my dad grew feed for sheep mostly, a few cows and horses. Livestock were a big part of life growing up, when working sheep or cattle we all pitched in. My mama was involved in all that went on, too. We also grew a little bit of cotton, and we spent every summer hoeing weeds row after row. Some good, hard, yet rewarding work. Daddy always said “cotton fields make good cowboys.” We did it, but that didn’t mean we really liked it, my four brothers and I. And both Mama and Daddy were out there with us.
It wasn’t ranch life, but it was good. Lots learned!
CS: How did you and your husband meet and come to be ranching where you are?
RM: Damon and I met when he came to work for my uncles, they ranch and farm in Lea County, as well. We were friends for years, and in that time he moved back to the panhandle of Texas, then later back to far west Texas area, where we are at now.
His family has been in Presidio county since 1908. During all Damon’s wandering he still had a herd of cattle put together, so when we did finally marry, we then had a small bunch that we ran on the small share of the original Mellard ranch. We both had the same goal… we both wanted to be ranching and raising a family, working alongside each other.
We rode/started quite a few colts for some time, along with our little herd of cattle, and from there we grew our ranching business. We were able to lease 21 sections, as well as manage a cow/calf operation on the same number of sections, for two sisters. Then eventually leasing the place we were managing. We have another smaller lease, near the Mellard ranch, and have just worked our way up to where we are at now. Lots of hard work, faith and fun along the way! Raising beef, and bettering the production in our herd to fit what we feel works for our range land.
CS: Are there other artists and creative type in your family? Did you learn from them or how did you learn to paint?
RM: My mom was very artistic, she never shared much of it, that I know of, outside of the family. But she had a very amazing talent to her! She did pencil, charcoal and oil. I never did learn from her. I remember once her letting my brother and I use her oil paints. I still have the painting I did that day, it was a buckskin horse and that hangs in our boys bedroom. I was probably about 11 or 12 years old, maybe. I wish I’d have asked her more, that’s a fact. She passed 6 years ago.
I’ve just enjoyed sketching and piddling with artwork. I love to see a good piece, no matter the medium. I’ve just done most of my learning by doing, trying it out and seeing if I can.
Tyler Crow, a cowboy artist, has given me a few small pointers. I’d sure like to learn more from him sometime. He’s one of our favorite artists, and does several mediums himself. Mike Capron is another I really enjoy, and the older ones like CM Russell. There’s a lot of talent in this world, I could list others that truly inspire me. I will say God truly allowed us all a fine enjoyment of some form or another.
CS: Please tell us how raising a family, ranching, and your art all tie in together for you?
RM: I always wanted kids, and the Lord just happened to bless us with four ornery boys, but they’re more fun than not, so no complaint here! Ranching was another I always longed for, I remember telling my family that I wouldn’t marry a farmer, I wanted on a ranch way out and going with him wherever he’d let me go. Thankfully God sent me the perfect man, and while it’s not all perfect by any means, it’s a mighty fine life. Damon has allowed me to learn, showed me and we push each other to be better, and to better for our business. Side by side, everyday. We have worked our way into the industry from doing all we could to be where we are, allowing each other a back to lean on, involving our boys from the moment they came into this world and taking the time with them, even if it takes us a lil longer.
Homeschooling (on my 5th year teaching) has allowed me more time to sit, and with the time that I’m sitting in more, I started doodling. So, I started sharing my work, and doing more with it. That’s about the only time I do any art work, otherwise we are off horseback, or checking water and caking cattle, or fence work. Always something to do out here! Then there’s three square meals in between, all made from scratch! Just something I stick to, and strive for.
I may be old before my time, but my time will have been amazing here with my happy family and enjoying our way of life! God’s love for us is shown in the sights, smells and feelings we have. He deserves all the glory, in all we are and do. Couldn’t do it without His love and mercy to see us through each and every day.
CS: What are your future plans?
RM: Well, our boys recently jumped into the ranching world. They bought cattle and now all four are partners on 17 head of pairs and one braunveih bull. They have a small lease nearby that they run them on, so, in addition to our cattle and ranches, we get to help them along their way. Seeing them load their cake, and mineral up, ready to go check their cattle… sure makes us proud. Watching them string a cake line, it’s a sight. Plus watching them work their horses, learning more and more in that area, and just enjoy the fun of being way out, this ranch life.
I know we hope for much for them!
For Damon and I, I’d say the future looks great, we’d like to buy land, eventually, but keep the leases we have, they’re like home to us. Always bettering our herd genetics. Damon has AI’d small bunches of our cattle, and I’m sure we will continue to do that from time to time. We’ve gotten to the point in which we are very satisfied with our cattle, the feed conversion and weight our calves come off the cow, plus the bulls that can manage in the heat, rough terrain and just about every bush has thorns. Lots of factors for cattle to beat in this area. We use dogs, too, which helps with gathering in the brush, they’re a great, tough bunch themselves.
Raising beef and boys! Oh, and we can’t forget the horses, they are definitely enjoyed and used. The bloodlines we have work great for us. Gentle, yet willing, hard working ponies, that go all day and give 110%. And again, like the cattle they have plenty of odds against them, with rocks, rough terrain and thorns on pretty much every bush. The horses the boys have always ridden aren’t old, we’ve always let them ride horse in their prime, or younger, Damon or I have always been able to get on them and do anything we need(ed) to do, as well, and that’s the way we like it. The two oldest boys started a colt each last year, both were fillies we’ve raised. They have done a really nice job with them, lots of learning. We’ve been blessed with good horses! And can’t wait to see the ones yet to come.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Check out Rachell Mellard Art Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/rachellmellardart/
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...