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Rockport Book Chronicles Texas Sporting Art


Since the 1940s, the creative spirit of Rockport has nurtured a colony of artists, attracted to the area’s open skies, beaches and abundant nature such as migrating birds, wind-sculpted live oaks and redfish in the bays.

The Rockport scene was home to many of the state’s great sporting artists, who produced paintings focused on hunting, fishing and being in nature.

Jack Cowan, Herb Booth and Al Barnes moved to the area in the 1960s and 1970s and created their own chapter of the Rockport art story, as documented in the book The Story of the Rockport-Fulton Art Colony: How a Coastal Texas Town Became an Art Enclave, published in 2022 by Texas A&M University Press.

The artists were sportsmen themselves, and they became some of the state’s foremost chroniclers of Texas hunting and fishing as well as seascapes, bird life and more.

They were conservationists, too. In addition to celebrating wildlife in their artwork, they often donated paintings and prints to raise money for groups such as Ducks Unlimited and the Coastal Conservation Association.

“Kay Betz and Vickie Moon Merchant’s new book on the history of the Rockport-Fulton art colony is a wonderful new addition to the literature on Texas art,” says Texas art expert and author William Reaves. “Much of the material, especially their documentation of the Texas sporting arts scene that emerged there, is deeply connected to Texas Parks and Wildlife conservation efforts.” 

 TPWD staff;  Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

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