SANDERS, David M.
Well known western artist, David M. Sanders, of Austin, passed away on December 19, 2013 after succumbing to ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). David was born in San Antonio on July 9, 1933 to Jesse and Shirley Sanders.
Sanders' paintings were done with remarkable talent and detail. He had an amazing ability to capture the character of early Texas and the spirit of the Cowboys, Indians and Texas Rangers who are predominant in his works. His art portrays the beauty of Texas and her proud heritage. Working mostly with pastels, Sanders brought to this medium the depth and rich coloring of an oil painting. He was described by one critic as "the best pastel artist I have ever seen."
A schoolteacher encouraged his obvious artistic talent and at 10 years old he took art lessons at the Witte Art Museum in San Antonio. Sanders was exceptional in vocal art as well, being endowed with a beautiful operatic quality voice. Throughout high school and his early years of adulthood, he pursued a profession as a tenor soloist, aspiring to go into opera. He was drafted in 1957 and proudly served in the United States Army. Upon returning from overseas, he moved to Seattle to take voice lessons and work as a soloist before deciding to apply his full focus on a career as a western artist. He attended Southwest Texas State University and graduated with a degree in Commercial Art. He met his lovely wife, Sally, while attending college.
After college, Sanders made a living through portrait commissions and selling work at art shows throughout the state. Sanders found his calling with western art. Many sought him out for commission work, including the King Ranch and the Shelton Ranch. He was invited to exhibit his artwork at shows and galleries throughout the state. Sanders was one of the founding members of the Texas Association of Professional Artists. Most of his work throughout the latter part of his career has been on commission.
Relatively early in his career, Sanders illustrated the book Rangers of Texas. He also illustrated several editions of the program for the musical entitled Texas for Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
His paintings have appeared in Cattleman's Magazine, UT Longhorn Football Programs, and have been used on the covers of King Ranch sales catalogs. He was sought out by the Leanin' Tree and various calendar companies to use his paintings for cards and calendars. David Sanders' talent was featured in various publications including Southwest Art Magazine and the book Western Painting Today.
His paintings are in many noted collections of western art. In May 2013 Sanders was honored with resolutions from Governor Rick Perry, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. His paintings were proudly displayed in the offices of four former Texas Governors. Additionally his work hangs in the homes of many prominent Americans.
Sanders will be dearly missed by his wife of 48 years, Sally, and their children Sarah (Vance), David (Shirley), Katy (Matt), and Courtney (Blake); grandchildren Travis, Kit, Riley, Joanna, Skylar and David.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00PM Thursday December 26, 2013 at Faith United Methodist Church, 2701 S. Lamar, Austin, TX.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 23 to Dec. 24, 2013