When you think of Western art, what images come to mind? Do you visualize cowboys, Indians and other imagery characteristic of the American West?

Western art often means more than that. It is also defined as any art that is produced in the western United States.When you hear the words "North West Rendezvous Show" do you visualize traditional Western art genre? Or do you imagine more than that?

Although many of the 30 members of the North West Rendezvous Group enjoy creating art of the American West, some depart dramatically from it.

But why explain all this? One look is worth a thousand words.

The Kimball Art Center is hosting the Fifteenth Annual North West Rendezvous Show. Last week, group members got together to exhibit new work, renew friendships and exchange ideas. They participated in seminars, demonstrations, a quick-draw event, a buffet dinner and an art sale.

Starting today, the show officially opens to the public. A reception is set for 3-5 p.m.

Three Utah artists - Jim Norton, Jim Morgan and Gary Kapp - are members of this group and exhibit here. Three other Utahns have been invited to be guest artists - VaLoy Eaton, Ed Fraughton and Robert Duncan.

Other members of the group live throughout the United States and Canada; they include Clyde Aspevig, Gerald Balciar, Jim Daly, Veryl Goodnight, Tucker Smith, Jim Wilcox and Jessica Zemsky.

Although cowboys, Indians, horses and Western landscapes dominate the show, there are some pleasant surprises - seascapes, harbors, figure studies, portraits and still lifes.

For example, Joseph Bohler captures wash day in Venice; Ned Mueller paints a Sunday market in Mexico; and Don Prechtel delves into the American history for his paintings of the Civil War.

Smaller works hang downstairs in the Badami Gallery. Some of the best are those where values are dark but accented with only a few strokes of light. This is evident in Eaton's "Early Spring," Duncan's "Down the Lane" and Scott Christensen's "Little Black Rock Circle."

For the past 12 years, the North West Rendezvous Group has held its annual meeting and exhibit in Helena, Mont. However, last fall they decided to relocate. They chose Park City because of its proximity to the airport, the scenic mountains and the accelerating local interest in art.

The show will remain through September.

- At first glance, Park City's Saguaro Gallery exudes the American West. But if that's the case, what are Christopher Blossom's sailing ship, James Kramer's market in Cassis and VaLoy Eaton's girl with her dog doing here? Again, we have to accept the broader definition of Western art.

In its "Fall Sale and Show," the gallery features work by 19 local and out-of-state artists. In addition to the three works listed above are paintings by Cyrus Afsary, Joseph Bohler, Michael Coleman, Robert Duncan, Arnold Friberg, Paul Forster, David Leffel and Paul Strisik; drawings by Harley Brown and William Whitaker; and sculpture by Gerald Balciar, George Carlson, Edward Fraughton, Gary Hale, Kent Ullberg and Stanley Wanlass.

Born in Vernal, Eaton believes that some of the most profound subjects are found in everyday occurrences. Such imagery would remain common if most artists tackled it. However, Eaton gives life to his subject matter through his insightful application of light and color.

Strisik, who has several small paintings in the show, says that his best pictures are intuitive ones . . . "the ones in which I forget about the rules and just paint."

Sculptor Hale of Tulsa, Okla., loves to cast his animal and bird sculptures in bronze. In fact, he's the owner of The Bronze Image, Tulsa's only fine-art foundry.

This new exhibit continues through September at the Saguaro Gallery, 314 Main, Park City, 645-7667. Owner David Lott and his staff will be happy to show you around.

- Not long ago, the oil paintings of Harold Hopkinson graced the walls of the Kimball Art Center. Now, more recent works can be seen - this time at Bountiful's Apple Frame Gallery.

It's true that you'll find lots of equestrians - cowboys, Indians and pioneers. But he doesn't focus on them exclusively. Other scenes he has tackled in the past can be seen in "Founding Fathers" and "Joseph Smith's First Prayer."

His strongest works in this show - "Buffalo Hunters," "The Wrangler" and a few others - contain atmospheric perspective. In other words, he paints close objects with warmer colors and heavier textures. Distant ones are grayer and less defined.

According to gallery owner Scott Cannon, Hopkinson has painted so many horses that "he can paint them in his sleep." Unfortunately, an artist may rely too frequently on memory. This stereotyped approach is apparent in his rendition of horses, oxen, covered wagons and "period" clothing.

However, interspersed among this stereotyped approach are several visually appealing and spontaneous works.

Hopkinson's show continues through September at the Apple Frame Gallery, 23 N. Main, Bountiful, 298-1227. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.