After 25 years and more than 80 movie posters, including The Sound of Music, The Guns of Navaroneand Cleopatra, as well as many covers Howard Terpning created for national magazines, he was tired. Tired of the constant scramble to meet never-ending deadlines. Tired of the same routine. He wanted new challenges.
The year was 1975, when his friend, artist Don Crowley, suggested he paint something for a gallery. Terpning took his friend’s advice and began painting Western historical scenes. Although his work did not sell quickly at a Tucson gallery, it did sell at a gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. And the gallery wanted more.
In 1977, Terpning said goodbye to the world of illustration and moved to Tucson, Arizona. Focusing on the proud way of the Native American people of the Great Plains, his work is acclaimed for its ability to convey the emotions of his subjects. He says, “It is my intention to portray them as honestly and accurately as possible.”
This commitment is evident in his oil painting, Moving Day on the Flathead, for which he won the Prix de West Purchase Award in 1981. In 1996, he won the Prix de West Purchase Award again, for an oil painting titled The Trophy.
Since 1979, he has been a member of the Cowboy Artists of America.