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Deep in the Art: Gridiron Gallery in Llano

Western artist Jack Moss sits at his work desk surrounded by canvases he has coated in iconic Western imagery. Moss is a self-taught Western artist who set up shop at Gridiron Gallery in downtown Llano. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Capturing the essence of the American West on canvas is the specialty of Texas-born artist Jack Moss, who is based out of Gridiron Gallery on Main Street in Llano.

Moss spent decades as a high school football coach before picking up the brush professionally. Now, he is one of the most respected Western artists in Texas, and his work is on full display to gallery visitors.

Gridiron is adorned with iconic scenes of cowboys on bucking broncs, Comanches riding down buffalo, and longhorns resting in the shade. Saddles, photographs, and sculptures of horses in motion act as references for Moss' paintings, which are characterized by painstaking detail that only a real cowboy could appreciate. The artist owns horses and chose Llano as his home base so he could be closer to the Western culture that inspires his work.

"There are still working ranches, there are still working cowboys, and we have a major rodeo arena,” he said. “It's still a cowboy town.”

Most of Moss’ professional life was spent on the sidelines of high school football games coaching teams across Texas. He eventually became an athletic director and retired from the Lake Travis school district in 2009. By then, he was ready to take his art to the next level.

He paints in watercolors, brushing layer after layer of thin coats to give depth to his work and create textures that are difficult to achieve with such a thin medium. Moss has no formal training; he taught himself watercolor techniques from books and endless hours of practice.

While he is based out of Llano, he tours the state and country, attending art shows and exhibitions. He also organized the Western Artist Roundup in 2015, a skilled and small collection of artists dedicated to the preservation and propagation of Western art and culture.

Just seeing Moss’ work is worth a visit, but if you’re in the market for a piece, be ready for a big purchase.

“Art is a luxury item. There is very little spontaneous purchasing,” he told “Not many people are going to walk in and spend a couple thousand on some art.”

If you get a twinkle in your eye when you see a Hill Country sunset, size up horses as you drive down country roads, or know all of the dialogue from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" by heart, then mosey on down to Llano and take a gander at the works of Jack Moss at Gridiron Gallery.


WHERE: 112 E. Main St. in Llano

HOURS: Gridiron Gallery is typically open on the weekends, but its hours are subject to Moss’ schedule. Call 830-613 5570 to learn more.

OTHER WORK: Moss also takes on commissions. Learn more here.

Editor's Note: "Deep in the Art" is an occasional series on art galleries in the area. Subscribe to The 101 newsletter, emailed on Wednesdays and Fridays, for links to series stories and other features and events in the Highland Lakes. Click the red "Newsletter Signup" box on the top left of the homepage and submit your name and email.

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