Joan L. Buckles

Joan L. Buckles

August 6, 1937

Joan (Burress) Buckles was born August 6, 1937 six miles east of Gordon, the second child of Howard and Lucille Burress. Her siblings are Janet Walker, Bill Burress, Judy Hanna, Shirley Besco and Marty Burress.

Joan's country schoolteacher encouraged her at the young age of 5 to pursue art. After attending Chadron State College, Joan taught first grade in the Gordon Public Schools. She also taught intermittently in several country schools. Joan and Buck were married in 1957 and have 3 children: Jerry, Julie and Joni. Joan is also "Mimi" to she and Buck's grandchildren, Emilee and Jake Elwood and Ursula Anderson.

Joan and Buck worked on different ranches, the last fifty years at the Shadbolt Cattle Company west of Merriman. During several summers in the late 60's and early 70's Buck and Joan contracted hay at the U Cross Ranch south of Merriman. Despite cooking for 12 men 3 times a day all summer without electricity or plumbing, Joan made time for her art. One of her most famous works, "Buck's Blacks" depicts a sweep team at the U Cross Dutch Henry tank after a long day of haying.

Through the years, Joan has been asked to display her art at shows throughout Nebraska and South Dakota. Her art adorns many homes and offices throughout the United States. She and
her friend and fellow artist, Charleen Hare, have had a Christmas Art Show in Gordon going on 31 years! It is an annual tradition that the local community enjoys.

Even though Joan never rode the range, she spent 50 plus years at the "kitchen range" cooking for cowboys and hay crews. During this period she has been busy as a ranch wife, a mother, and in later years a grandmother. The creation of her art has always been interwoven throughout her life. She is also a great supporter of other regional artists. One sees that her and Buck's home, it is furnished with various works from artists throughout Nebraska and the West. Joan has an eye for detail and seeking out the beauty of all things. Joan, now, focuses all her time on art.

Over the years, Joan's numerous paintings have been known for the high detail she has used in portraying western life, specifically in the Sandhills of Nebraska. From the way a harness realistically rests on a draft horse, to the time consuming work on numerable western themed Christmas ornaments, Joan's work reflects the way of life that she thoroughly enjoys in the Sandhills. Windmills, horses, colts, cows, calves and cowboys are all depicted in her work. Every scene Joan paints, we have all seen in our everyday life of inhabiting Western Nebraska. Words cannot explain the excellence of her work and after seeing one of her numerous pieces of art, they don't have to say "a picture is worth a thousand words". There are volumes of culture and western legacy written within the borders of her work.

Oil on canvas is Joan's preferred medium. Horses are her favorite subject to paint. She is constantly looking for new scenes to capture. Joan has spent many hours at rodeos and team ropings watching her son, Jerry and husband, Buck rope. She has supported events such as these by donating her art for prices and fundraisers.

Recently Joan has painted horse statues for the Cowboy Museum in Gordon. Several of her paintings hang in the museum.


– Joan was honored in 1993 by Nebraska Ducks Unlimited for her painting "Mom's in Charge"

– In 1994 and 2003 Joan's Christmas ornaments have adorned the White House Christmas Tree in Washington D.C.

– In 2017 Joan was part of a two-man show at the Carnegie Art Center in Alliance, in which 30 pieces of her art were showcased.

– An article was published on Joan in the December 2, 2017 Tri-State Livestock News titled "Remuda Roundup Painting Spirits Bright" by Yvonne Hollenbeck.

– Joan has been in other publications through the years.

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