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Meet Artist Lindy Cook Severns

Hello There ~

Pleased to meet you!

I'm Big Bend artist Lindy Cook Severns, seventh-generation Texan and painter of  landscapes steeped in color and imbued with my passion for nature. 

While I've painted professionally most all my adult life, there's nothing like not having a day job. In 2004, infected with Middle Age Crazy, Jim and I quit our jobs flying a corporate jet (yes, together!). We sold the country club estate we'd loving designed, landscaped and occupied for nearly three decades. Been there. Loved it. Done with that life. We moved into a big RV and meant to travel the continent (on wheels, this time) but the wild country of Far West Texas kept calling us home.

Old Spanish Trail Studio, my crazy artist space is tucked away in the Davis Mountains near historic Fort Davis and infamous Marfa.  We live in our fifth-wheel on a working high country ranch. Two rescued terriers and an African Grey parrot share our remotely beautiful world. Across from my rustic studio is Old Spanish Trail Gallery, a high-end southwestern art gallery where I'm the Artist-in-Residence and Jim acts as Chief of Hanging. (Jim claims he's done more hanging than Judge Roy Bean.) We're the ones who ran away to join the circus, and we’ve never looked back.

Our unconventional lifestyle has given me time to concentrate on creating and marketing art outside the normal channels. Jim calls me an Outlaw Pastelist because my style is unique and largely, self-taught through wild experimenting. I stay true to self, never allowing rules, expectations or show requirements to enter my studio with me. That artistic freedom has yielded successes I never dreamed of, including being honored as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni for the College of Arts and Sciences of Texas Tech University. I'm also featured in their Innovation Never Ends video series. Flying solo can be scary, but it's worked for me!

My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products. 

It's the West Texas Way.

Our African Grey parrot, Greystoke accompanies me to the studio and on hikes, and insists he needs mentioning here. He's been with us since 1991, when he was 18 months old. We rescued him from an abusive pet store, so his trust of humans proved hard to earn, but once we convinced him he was family, he relaxed into our adventures. He likes to carve out doors and windows in cardboard boxes while I paint, enjoys the dogs from a safe distance and scolds them if they bark too much, loves well-done burgers and is passionate about fries, football and bird-watching from his tree stand in the bay window.

Follow BigBendArtist on Instagram and Facebook to see Grey at work.

MY History As an Artist

Born in Lubbock, Texas, where the tumbling tumble weeds jet past, I also grew up (or at least, got older) in Houston and Midland.

Returning to Lubbock for college with a studio art major, I found myself to be a splintery cube of realism at a time when art was rounded in tie-dyed bandanas and flying yellow submarines. Besides being a stylistic misfit, I wanted to study many other things. I switched majors my sophomore year, never stopped drawing and painting, but earned my bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University* in English and biology. Academics gave me an anchor even as they reinforced the pull of writing and wilderness. 

Who says you can't do everything you're interested in?  My knowledge of nature and the stories behind my art are as important to me as the art itself. I share those in my monthly newsletter and social media posts.

Post college, I became a pilot. Had a near-fatal plane crash (I hit unmarked, very unfortunately placed power lines and broke my back--the plane, alas, didn't survive) 

I then studied martial arts, which proved a good way to get back into shape after two years of healing and physical therapy. Ultimately, I earned a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo, with side studies in Tai Chi and Krav Maga. Jim (also a black belt) and I taught taekwondo to adults and kids, our serious hobby for almost twenty years. 

For your own safety, don't criticize my artwork unkindly  ;>)  I have exactly one jump spin sidekick left in me.

Every experience, every skill I've learned goes into my art. My jet pilot husband, who I eventually flew first officer for, says I now channel my two decades in the cockpit of a corporate jet into my painted skies. And a fourth degree black belt certainly isn’t afraid to take risks with color and composition. It's only paint on paper, not life and death, and nobody is trying to kick me in the head.

It's ONLY paint.

And yet, when that paint is applied with loving skill, it can generate magic that soars far beyond the canvas.

On the podium at Dallas Heritage Auction Gallery as part of a three-artist panel, I learned large audiences don't bite, as long as they're enjoying a meal as we talk.

Traveling and painting on location gives me a fresh sense of place. And it's just flat fun to paint out of the back of a pickup truck sometimes.

MY techniques and MY training

When the student is ready, the instructor will appear.  A handful of kind, highly influential people entered my life, and each taught me to believe in myself, to follow my heart as I create.

My art is representational. It's strongly anchored in drawing. 

Mom taught Toddler Me to draw. My first day of  school, I was amazed to see that not every kid could draw. I realized I was different somehow, and that difference seemed important to my life story.

In first grade, I made a small, undeclared fortune selling my classmates crayon Santas on Big Chief tablet paper for their milk money. My career progressed from there, and I kept learning and experimenting.

A week-long life drawing workshop with the late master Ted Seth Jacobs sparked life into my drawings. A black belt in aikido, Jacobs stressed the importance of weaving chi (the life force) into drawings. A martial artist myself, I well understood the value of harnessing chi, but incorporating it into my drawings was a new concept. 

Now I draw without using projection or mechanical aids. Energy is far, far more important to me than extreme accuracy.

I'm a natural colorist. Color defines my paintings in oils or soft pastels or watercolors.

Long-ago classes taught by Lubbock artist Peggy Benton Young gave me a profound understanding of color, as well as teaching me traditional oil painting techniques. I start abstractly with thin color applied with largish brushes and bold strokes followed by thicker layers. After these layers dry, I add details and thin glazes of transparent color. This process gives my oils richness and an inner glow,

Another master painter, Albert Handell, then of New York, and now Santa Fe introduced me to soft pastels as a serious painting medium back in the early 80's, way before either of us had grey strands in our hair. As much as I love oils, if I had to choose only one medium to use, it would be soft pastels, with their deep, vibrant colors and sensual application--using  soft pastels is like sculpting color with your hands. My fingers are twitching, just writing about it...

Pastels are pure color, non-reactive pigments compressed into stick form. Mixed only with an inert clay binder to keep the color particles together, their permanence is the best of any medium. Properly framed under glass or museum acrylic, a pastel painting won't fade, yellow or crack.

I work my pastels much like my oils, layering color upon color as I paint. Only in my skies do I physically blend colors. All other sections of my painting are done by lightly layering colors, almost as if crosshatching in pencil. This allows the viewer's eye (yours!) to intuitively blend colors, which makes the painting more dynamically interesting. And as with my oils, I work an inner fire into each painting. I paint with passion, and I want my art to light up your spirit.

career highlights

2020 Recipient Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Tech University 

COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES, TTU 2021 Holiday Greeting, commissioned pastel painting LIGHTING THE DARKNESS, along with a professional video presentation of me in my world; this is the most rewarding art project I've ever done!

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE episode 5, 2016 featured artist in this nationally aired PBS documentary on creatives by Cara Carney and Stewart McSpadden

TEXAS TRADITIONS, Contemporary Artists of the Lone Star State  a definitive collection of thirty-five artists by Susan Hallsten McGarry and Michael Duty. Fresco Art Books 2010 

The Wild Southwest   Solo Exhibition  |  Sibley Nature Center, Midland, Texas, 2018 

Featured Artist Following Frank Reaugh, a celebration of plein air painting  |  Dallas Heritage Village Museum, Dallas, Texas, 2013 

Heritage Auction Gallery panel discussion with artists George Hallmark, Deborah Paris, Lindy Cook Severns 2010  

Best of Show 2012 Texas Art on Main Street Invitational, Dallas Heritage Village Museum awarded by Dr. Ron Tyler, director Amon Carter Museum (ret) 

Best of Show, Trappings of Texas Invitational, Museum of the Big Bend, Alpine Texas 2007

My most beloved awards?  The smiles of my collectors!

"If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths ~ for they would feed my soul."

~  an ancient wisdom I hold close to my heart


FYI  I start talking at place 8:05 on this professionally produced video.

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Description from Merchant:

We want Lindy Cook Severns art to last for generations. All prints, whether open editions or uniquely embellished remarques are done on with archival (acid-free, non-reactive) ink and papers and matted in acid-free matboard. Original art, from the smallest drawings and watercolors to the largest oils and pastel paintings are done on archival surfaces. Lindy uses the highest grade pigments in each medium. Light-fastness of pigments is further protected by covering all but all paintings in artist grade UV protective glazing, whether glass or acrylic. Conservation framing on original art means no reactive materials come in contact with the artwork, so all tape and backing boards are acid free and create a barrier for the artwork.


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