Calgary Stampede 2017

Hey Everyone,

It’s that time of year again, and soon the annual Calgary Stampede will be rolling into town. The event has an over 100-year history in the city and has become a staple of celebration in agricultural, First Nations and Western history and values. The highlight for me has always been the Creative Arts & Crafts competition and the Western Showcase. Held in an area called the Western Oasis, it features Western-themed artworks from local and nationwide artists. This will be my 4th time entering the Creative Arts & Crafts competition and this year with two colored pencil pieces.

My first piece will be juried in the drawing section and the colored pencil, pastel, or wax crayon category. “Taking Flight” depicts a Ferruginous Hawk, the largest of the hawk species found in Southern Alberta and North America. This beautiful bird gains its name from the Latin ferrugo, meaning rust. My hope is to bring awareness through this artwork about this at-risk bird whose habitat is slowly being depleted. It’s important to me, that while we are celebrating western history and culture at the Stampede, that we also take the time to acknowledge the land and our environment as well. The animals that make up the diverse landscape in this province are an important part of making it what it is, and it’s vital that we protect it for generations to come.

“Taking Flight” 14×11 in Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencil on Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolor Paper 2017.
 Original photo reference Wildlife Reference Photos. Copyright released.
 All images copyright Barb Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.

The second drawing I’m submitting is in a new category for me called the ‘Theme’ category. Every year, the competition chooses a new keyword for the theme and artists can submit a piece of any medium that visitors to the exhibit can vote upon. The theme for 2017 is ‘maple leaf’ in honour of Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year. “Maple Leaf Girl” reflects the wonderment and joy that children find in the simple things and in nature.There is so much purity in that joy. I think that Canadians, in general, feel that way every time we take the time to explore this great country of ours, whether it be in national parks or closer to home in our own back yards. I know that personally, I never tire of seeing the Rocky Mountains up close and personal because there’s something so humbling about them. The maple leaf is a symbol of Canadian culture and this piece to me reflects the curiosity and discovery that awaits anyone who chooses to visit here.

“Maple Leaf Girl” 10×8 in Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil on Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolor Paper 2017.
 All images copyright Barb Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.

If you are going to be in Calgary between from July 7th to 16th and are heading down to the Stampede, come check out the fabulous work in the Western Oasis. I promise you won’t be disappointed. If the artwork wasn’t enough of a draw, (haha) there’s also a wine bar and air conditioning.

The Western Oasis is in Halls D & E in the BMO Centre on the North West side of the Stampede grounds. Please stop by and vote for my piece as well if you can! It would be greatly appreciated. It’s my personal goal to bring more awareness and appreciation for colored pencil art within my community and it starts with showing that this medium is worth the same recognition and accolades of other more prominent fine art mediums.

Both pieces will be available for purchase after the show. Please email me for more details at

For more information on the Calgary Stampede click here. 
For more information on the Western Showcase click here.

2 thoughts on “Calgary Stampede 2017

  1. painterwrite says:

    Amazing work! And I like that little pun you squeezed in at the end. The detail on the bird is just amazing and i love how rich your colors are on the girl. Terrific job!!

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