Streakin’ B Art: Josey Butler’s Western Artwork

Josey Butler paints and sculpts Western art and lives every day on her own terms.

Josey Butler, creator of Western art with Streakin' B Art

A man walked into Josey Butler’s Streakin’ B Art booth at the 2022 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity and told her, “Your art is high-fashion.” It might be the best compliment Butler has gotten since she launched her business 10 years ago.

Minutes into a conversation with Butler, her demeanor confirms this notion. You immediately know she’s not like anyone else. When you see her work, your intuition proves correct.

Her one-of-a-kind creations on canvas and in sculptures mirror her distinct personality and commitment to authenticity—both in Western performance horses and in being herself—no matter what.

Butler’s deep understanding of Western performance horses and the incredible things they do comes from her life spent in the saddle, years training barrel racing futurity horses, and now training her own working cow horses. This allows her work to verge on avant-garde and abstract—high-fashion—yet maintain true Western roots that pay homage to Butler’s raising in Southwest Missouri and her current life in Texas.

Creative by Nature

Butler comes from a long line of creativity, but most of her roots trace to performing music on stage. Instead of picking up an instrument and playing bluegrass and country music in front of a room full of people as her family members did, Butler reached for sketching pencils and paintbrushes from an early age.

“I was that weird kid sitting in the corner drawing horses; the margins of my algebra homework were full of horse doodles and sketches instead of equations,” she shares. “It was my coping mechanism whenever I felt stressed or lonely, and it still is. It’s how I occupy my mind and calm and center myself.”

Josey Butler painting
Butler’s unique style was born of experimentation with different media. Photo by Kaycie Timm

Her art remained a hobby into adulthood as Butler focused on training horses for her clients. Just for fun, she began to share her Western art on social media, which allowed a new opportunity to begin to come to light.

The auto-play feature for videos in your Facebook feed is designed to stop you in your tracks and engage your mind, even for a few seconds, to get you to stop scrolling. Butler’s “speed sketch” videos did just that, garnering her a following that grew exponentially.

“I’d post something and someone would want to buy it; I had no idea how to price my work, so I’d take $20 or $30 for a sketch.”

Taking a Leap of Faith

After becoming a mother to daughter Harper, now 9, Butler’s mindset on professional horse training began to change. The grind of starting and training outside horses and constant travel to marathon-length barrel futurities wasn’t conducive to the kind of life she wanted for her little girl.

A woman loping her horse
Traveling to marathon-length barrel futurities wasn’t the life Josey Butler wanted after becoming a mom. Photo by Kaycie Timm

Butler knew she needed to make a change, but also that she needed to help be part of providing for her family of three, alongside her husband, Rance, a paramedic and team roper.

“I was at a crossroads with my horse training career—I’d burned myself out,” she says. “I wanted what was best for my daughter, and I seriously considered going back to school to finish my teaching degree. It seemed like my only option.”

This was around the time she began sharing her Western art on social media. The way her work took off in popularity made her think twice about a career in education.

“I took a leap of faith,” she says. “It was definitely God’s plan, because I had no idea it would end up this way. Now, I have paintings in people’s homes where they were destined to be. They buy my work for a reason, and it makes my heart so happy.”

Those $20 speed sketches quickly turned into much higher-dollar art pieces that are sought after by collectors of all kinds—pretty astounding for as short a time as Butler has made a career of her artwork.

The Work Behind Josey’s Art

Butler began painting with watercolors, and the first posters she created for Rodeo Vegas were completely in that medium. One night in her studio, she ran out of black watercolor. Like most people who live in the country, she had to improvise, because a quick trip to town wasn’t in the cards.

“I had this black ink from another project I was doing,” she recalls. “So, I figured I’d try it. The ink and watercolor don’t like each other—they actually push away from each other. And when you spray the combination with alcohol, the effect becomes even less predictable. It ended up giving my work an edge that I didn’t get with using only watercolors. I never know what the finished product will look like until it’s dry and sealed, and even that sealant can bring out different things. When I paint at night, I come back in the morning and it can look completely different.”

Furthering her sense of adventure, Butler took up sculpting and casting bronzes on a whim, messing around with some clay to create a horse head for a customer. She’d never experienced the process of creating a bronze but threw caution to the wind and figured it out for herself. She then worked closely with a foundry to complete the piece.

“I’m a pretty controlling person—I don’t like being out of control,” Butler says. “But my art is my way of letting loose that need for control.”

That willingness to let go allows her work to push past tradition to add her modern edge.

“I paint and sculpt from a place of real emotion,” she says. “I see things in shapes—I don’t see detail. I can tell you who someone is by the way they sit a horse, but I might not recognize their face when they’re right in front of me. This allows me to turn everything into unique art; it really translates into my own style, and that’s very important to me.”

Butler admires all kinds of artists, but her strongest influences are Salvador Dali, famous for his melting clocks paintings; Picasso, known for cubism, which aligns with Butler’s tendency to see things in shapes; and Jackson Pollock, known for his “drip technique,” a cousin to her ink splatters.

“They’re three completely different types of artists,” Butler says, and not one of them is Western in nature. “But one thing they have in common is that it’s not stuff you typically see on a hotel wall. My art is like that—nothing is typical or resembling a photograph. I respect and admire artists who paint realism, but it’s just not my thing.”

A Different Kind of Spotlight

While playing music on a stage wasn’t for Butler, she’s found a unique way to make her art a performance. She paints live events— such as charity galas and even her first wedding in the fall of 2022—where the final works are auctioned off for charity or are commissioned by the event hosts. She says it’s a great way for her to give back.

“I don’t have any desire to be on stage, but I do like being interactive, which led me to painting at events,” she shares. “I get so engrossed in what I’m painting that I don’t feel as self-conscious as I would in a regular stage setting. I love it because people want to come talk to me about my work or about horses. We joke and banter. It helps people feel invested in the piece because they were part of the process, which can help bring more money for the charity when the piece is offered for auction.”

Western art
Butler has found a way to make her art into performance, painting live at galas and events where the final works are auctioned off for charity or commissioned by event hosts.

Butler also hosts a booth at many major equine events. You might expect an artist’s booth to be a little stuffy; however, Butler’s is the opposite. You’ll find her hosting painting classes for large groups of kids during long horse show days, and she offers opportunities to paint ornaments for her booth’s tree during the Christmas season. Most times when you walk in her booth, you’ll find her with her faithful sidekick: her daughter, Harper.

Family at the Core

Butler changed course after the birth of her daughter so she could be the kind of mother her daughter needs. It makes sense that Harper is now part of everything Butler does in her business.

“Our days might be pure chaos,” Butler says with a laugh, “but our daughter is very involved in everything. My husband, Rance, is a paramedic, so he’s much more structured than I am. Harper has my creativity, but also Rance’s more scientific mind. I hope she puts it all to good use. We’re raising her to know anything is possible. We want to demonstrate the many opportunities she has. I feel like I’ve done that by taking my leap of faith into this business. I never would’ve thought any of this was possible. It’s a good lesson for her to learn—that taking a risk and believing in yourself can truly change your life.”

The Yellowstone Effect on Western Culture

As with nearly everything in the Western industry, television’s Yellowstone has played a part in Josey Butler’s success. While working her booth at major equine events, Butler meets folks who are there to buy their first performance horses, having first seen them on Taylor Sheridan’s hit program. They’re new to the Western way of life, and they’re looking for something different to represent their new interest.

“It seems to me they come in because they’re looking for something that maybe fits their edgy life in Los Angeles or New York,” Butler says. “[Yellowstone] has a trickle-down effect for the entire industry. These people come to a show to buy high-dollar horses, but then they come by my booth and buy art; at the next booth, they buy some silver; and then they go buy a pair of boots. It influences all of our businesses, from those of us in the trade shows to those selling horses in the event’s sales. It helps us all.”

Learn more about Streakin’ B Art, Competitor-Inspired Art for the Horse Lover, at,, and on Instagram @streakinbart.

This article about Josey Butler’s appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Western Life Today magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Jennifer Paulson

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