Pat Haptonstall was born in Cedaredge, Colorado, in 1943. His natural talent and artistic eye manifested themselves at an early age. By the time he was six years old, he was already spending much of his time drawing. As a young boy, he suffered from asthma, so his parents moved the family to Prescott, Arizona, hoping that the climate would help improve his health. At age sixteen, Haptonstall won a statewide competition and received the Arizona Scholastic Art Exhibit Award. Thus began his life of artistic pursuits.
For twelve years, Haptonstall worked at foundries around Prescott, learning the technical aspects of creating a bronze. As an artist, however, he was largely self-taught through his own observations and the study of past masters. Haptonstall continuously sought to hone his sculpting skills and achieve both technical and spiritual perfection in his work. When Haptonstall was once asked to describe the process that he used to select his subjects, he said, “Sometimes I spend more time working on an idea than on the piece that results. I might think about it for two years before a way to do it in a fresh, distinct way comes to mind.”
By 1980, Haptonstall began to pursue his art full time. He became a member of the Cowboy Artists of America in 1986. In 1987, the CAA asked for a volunteer to create a new awards medal, and Haptonstall accepted the challenge. The medal he designed is still being presented annually at the CAA show in gold and silver as awards for the two best pieces in each medium.
Haptonstall himself received a silver medal at his first CAA show for his bronze entitled, Settlin' the Dust. In 1993, he received a gold medal for Simple Pleasures. He was an active member of the Cowboy Artists of America for eight years. During that time, Haptonstall served on a number of committees, participated in all the CAA shows, and attended every Trail Ride but one.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum; Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art