Archives for Oil

It Starts With Color

Known for ethereal and evocative paintings and drawings, Zhiwei Tu is a textbook example of someone whose determination and hard work have raised him from a humble life in China to the status of award-winning artist. His paintings are inspired by his love for the people, history, and culture of his homeland and have earned him international recognition. Since 1990, when a gallery in Chicago, Illinois, became the first in the United States to carry Tu’s work, he has been honored with more than 25 one-man shows and dozens of exhibitions in the United States, China, Japan, Algeria, England, France,
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Journeys Into History

Until a functioning time machine is invented, the next-best way to travel backward into history just might be to take a long, careful look at one of Heide Presse’s richly detailed figurative oil paintings. In doing so, you’ll find yourself somewhere between 1840 and 1860. Zoom in anywhere—the model’s hairstyle, the appliqué pattern on the quilt draped over a chair, the intricate construction of the bonnet, the hem of the petticoat peeking out from beneath the calico skirt—and you’ll see the result of Presse’s meticulous attention to detail. Presse is a gifted painter, but she is also a keen student
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Leaning Toward His Easel

When viewers take note of the authenticity in Teal Blake’s body of Western artwork, they get a simple reminder that whatever painting he’s working on, it isn’t his first rodeo. In fact, before he got serious about art, Blake was on the college rodeo circuit and was so obsessed with it that he flunked his art classes. “At that point in your life nobody can tell you anything,” he says. “I wanted to be off chasing horses and be in the brush and live that wild life for a little while. I didn’t pay as much attention as I should
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Manipulating Paint

Tim Allen Lawson loves trees and goes to great lengths to capture their natural beauty and texture. That explains why he has portions of trees hanging in his studio in Maine and has a variety of rather unconventional tools—including sandpaper, wire brushes, sticks, and steel wool—at the ready to help him as he paints. “I always had a love affair with trees,” says Lawson, who has homes and studios in Sheridan, Wyoming, and in Rockport Maine. “My studio in Maine is heated with wood,” Lawson says, “and I would cut all my own firewood. I was fascinated with the bark
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Living His Dream

At the hand of Pennsylvania artist Robert Griffing, Eastern cities and roads of today morph into scenes of 18th century Eastern Woodland Indian villages and pristine forests. Where most people see buildings, cars, crowds, and concrete, he sees the area as it once was and renders portraits of how these Native Americans lived, dressed, and worked. Griffing’s love for Eastern Woodland Indians began when he was a young lad growing up in Linesville, Pennsylvania, which is rife with lore and artifacts of the Seneca and Erie Indians. One day, while exploring the shores of nearby Lake Erie, he discovered a
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The Studio of Jim Norton

Jim Norton’s studio is just as he likes it—overflowing with things he loves. That includes paints and paintings, cowboy and Native American accoutrements, and hundreds of books. The studio, he admits, is for working; it is not a showplace. It is where he creates his depictions of the West, past and present, which have earned him international acclaim. Located on the walkout level of the two-story house he shares with his wife, Pam, on two acres of land in Santaquin, Utah, Norton’s studio opens up to a beautiful backyard oasis. That outside setting is as awe-inspiring as his paintings: full
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Still Going Strong

Artists will tell you that creating art is a career—but it’s not a job. Why is that? They see creating art as a calling that is so intense it cannot be ignored no matter the risk. And there is indeed risk, financial as well as personal. They put their work out into the world, where everyone who sees it will judge it. If it’s deemed worthy, it will sell. If not, it’s on to the next painting or sculpture, determined to do better. The four artists we feature on the following pages have a combined age of 344 years and
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Emotionally Engaged

Natasha Isenhour is having a great year, even if it’s not quite the year she had expected. “I’m doing awesome,” she says. “Suddenly, finally, all this work has begun to come to fruition, and 2020 was set up to be just this amazing year. I was invited to do Cowgirl Up!, and that was huge. My gallery in Santa Fe, Ventana Fine Art, is giving me my first solo show. Then I was asked to be the featured artist for the Mendocino Plein Air event. And there’s more.” In mid-April, with much of the country under lockdown because of COVID-19,
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Portraits of the Past

Ranging in scope from mountain men and covered wagons to Native Americans and working cowboys, Steven Lang’s illuminating compositions provide highly personal insights into Western history. Tracing his Pawnee and Cherokee heritage back to his great- grandparents, the California-based artist has a special affinity for creating imagery that portrays the life of Native Americans. However, an oeuvre of work created during the past three decades also includes action-filled scenes of cattle drives, saloons, and Indian war parties. An inveterate storyteller, Lang finds it equally satisfying to depict the more intimate moments of everyday life. Although they might have lived a
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It’s A Wild Life

Standing in a place she describes as “bear Eden” on the infamous Katmai Coast of Alaska, Kelly Singleton didn’t realize she was standing between two male bears about to duke it out over a sow. Before she had arrived, her coworkers told her they were sure she was going to get eaten by bears in a place where it had happened before. “You get out there and sometimes you’re just surrounded by bears,” Singleton says. Up until that point, Singleton, who had lived in Maryland for her entire life, had never even seen a wild bear. “When looking through the
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