Echoing the wisdom in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” “To thine own self be true,” Arizona-based painter Mitch Baird emphasizes, “As an artist, I don’t want to be pigeonholed. I simply want to be open and free to paint whatever I see—landscapes, figurative works, still life or whatever else motivates me.” He says, “Paintings are a communication between artist and viewer, and great artistic communication depends on solid draftsmanship, design, and vision. What I strive for in each painting is to create a positive visual statement, and hope that the viewer will experience what I see and be inspired, uplifted, and moved in the same way I am.”
From an early age, Baird knew it was his destiny to pursue art and was grateful that his parents supported his interest. Camping trips with his family had a major impact on his later choice to share his love of the outdoors through his paintings. “I’ve always been drawn to the high alpine and mountain scenery,” he says. “As a kid, I would make sketches of the places we visited, and in high school I picked up ski racing, another activity that kept me in the high country.”
Baird went on to enroll at the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah, where he studied illustration rather than fine arts, whose professors focused on traditional painting rather than abstract expressionism. He found what he was looking for, particularly with Ralph Barksdale, whom he describes as his mentor.
20″ by 30″
“If you have gazed at Sleeping Indian on Sheep Mountain at sundown in Jackson Hole, you know it is a sight to see. I have painted this scene many times as quick plein air studies as the light moved quickly. In this particular situation, I wanted to show the moonrise in that late, light moment. By using a square format, the motif of the moon takes precedence rather than than wide presence that the mountain is known for.”
Storm Break, St. Mary’s
12″ by 16″
“This painting was inspired from a plein air trip with PAPA to Glacier National Park. It was at the end of the season there, and the storms would move in quick even in the morning light – which was this situation. The fall ground cover, glacial water, and dramatic light made for great color.”