Utah’s Most Influential Landscape Artists
While art is in the eye of the beholder, there are some landscape artists in Utah that have proven themselves to be artists that stand the test of time, oil, watercolor, and pastel painters whose work will live on long after they are gone. Up-and-coming artists bring new life to the art scene and show us what is trending, but painters who have dedicated their careers to perfecting their craft bring subtle sophistication and mastery. Below are 10 of Utah’s most famous living landscape artists.
1. Michael Workman:
“I'm producing something people long for," Michael says. "My watchword is beauty. I'm after producing something beautiful. For me, it's a spiritual thing. I see beauty everywhere I look." Workman is Inspired by master George Innes who earned acclaim for his powerful, coordinated efforts to elicit a depth of mood, atmosphere, and emotion. His art has won acceptance by collectors, artists, and critics. He has been featured in Art-Talk, Southwest Art, and several other publications as well as an invited artist of the Mountain Oyster Club annual show and the Northwest Rendezvous show.
2. Steve Adams:
“In painting, I see two distinct elements that excite me equally. The first and most obvious is the optical illusion of three dimensions. For me, this represents a personal vision of my world. It can also be a trap and if not tempered can seduce the artist to focus an inordinate amount of energy on it, being the most quickly gratifying of the two and quickly applauded by people from all walks of life. The second is the two-dimensional nature of a painting. Many artists see this element as only a means to an end (the end being the trick of the third dimension). Personally, I find the juxtaposition of brush stroke, canvas or ground, underpainting, glazing, and color, as gratifying as the illusion of space-if not more so. These elements have more in common with abstraction, and their interplay when taken at close range can have a stunning emotional impact on those who take the time to experience them. Given this, the combination of these two forces, if properly executed within any work of representational art, has enormous power to uplift and at times overwhelm the receptive viewer. Therein lies the fundamental reasoning behind what I am striving to achieve.” Adams spent three years at Bringham Young University, being accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in his first semester, an honor usually reserved for third-year students. He has garnered many awards, including “Best of Show” at The 66th Annual April Salon, Utah’s most prestigious art show. In 1989 Steve began doing work for Indian and wildlife artist, Michael Coleman and Neo-regionalist, Gary Ernest Smith. He considers the experience of being in and out of their studios on a regular basis instrumental in his development from an art student to a professional artist.
3. Karl Thomas:
As a well-recognized artist represented by galleries throughout the Western United States and in New York City, Karl has been included in the Collectors Sale in Dallas, the American Art Classic, and the Texas Renaissance Sale in Houston. He was featured in the January/February 1990 issue of Art of the West and was selected in the top 100 artists in the Arts for the Parks Exhibition in 1995. Locally, Karl has been invited to participate in the annual Zion’s Bank Art Show since its inception. He also attends the Sears Dixie Invitational, winning Best of Show, Purchase Awards, and several First Place and Honorable Mentions over the years. We are pleased to be an exclusive dealer of Karl’s work. Shop Karl’s Work Here
4. Royden Card
Lately, I seek out those views that get overlooked; not the scenic turnout view. Though I love slick rock and towering red cliffs, I think I love the multiplicity of greys, siennas, pale ochres, blud-green or Morrison mills, purples, and faded umbers of the badlands, even more. They tend to be what I paint these past years. Love of the desert, refuge, contemplation… an ongoing search for beauty… and the desire to paint something “worthy.” Royden Card is Canadian-born, raised in Utah, and introduced to the desert at eight years of age. He has loved it ever since. He received a BFA and MFA from Brigham Young University and taught printmaking there for sixteen years. Drawing and then painting desert landscapes has been his primary focus for over 50 years.
5. Ron Larson:
Sometimes I use the bold colors of oil, and sometimes the softer feel that watercolor offers, but always finding contrasts, where there are deep, dark shadows and striking reflections of light. I spend my time in nature looking for places that speak to me, and that gives me a special feeling of peace and beauty. I usually don’t know when or where the feeling will come, and at times I have thought I was going to do an oil painting but found nothing would work until I focused on doing a watercolor instead. Then, as everything would come together, I would know the timing was right for that particular art to be revealed." Ron’s most recent events include the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park Plein Air Invitationals, having four paintings chosen by the University of Utah in their public art call, and his most recent large project was an an18-month solo show at the John Wesley Powell Museum, “Vistas and Visions of the Colorado Plateau,” which featured approximately 45 of his paintings.
6. Rett Ashby:
”When it comes to painting, it's about the process for me. Releasing the paint to do it as it will. Reacting rather than controlling. I have always preferred the landscape because there is so much to react to. I hope the viewer can place one’s self in the painting and travel it. It is the viewer that finishes the painting. The paint reacts to my strokes. I react to what's happening on the canvas. The viewer then reacts to the finished piece. It's more about the process than an image.” Born in 1961 in the small town of Rigby Idaho and soon after relocated to Roy, Utah. His earliest artistic influence came from his mother, Sandra Ashby, a professional watercolorist, from whom he learned the basics of fine art. Rett continues to experiment and hone his own style. He's influenced by textures, his surroundings, and the hard and soft lines found in landscapes. The art of framing and music also influence his artwork.
7. Arlene V. Braithwaite:
"My work is inspired by the land around me, a subject I find continually changing, challenging, and rich with catalysts for composition. Pastel is attractive to me because of its immediacy. I enjoy direct contact with the pigment and the bold to subtle hue mixtures that can be achieved through the hatching and layering of pastels. Each painting I do provides me with the opportunity of manipulating color, shape, and edge to interpret reality in a hopefully unique way." Braithwaite’s pastels have twice been selected as Grand Prize winners at the Escalante Canyon Plein Air Art Festival. In 2011 she won the People’s Choice Award and a Purchase Award at the Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational. To build interest in painting on location Arlene taught workshops for the Utah Art Education Association, Southern Utah University, and Snow Canyon State Park. She currently has an exhibition at Southern Utah University of work commissioned by the Dixie National Forest. The exhibit will travel to the Sears Gallery at Dixie State College this fall. Before committing to full-time painting, Braithwaite enjoyed a 32-year career as an art educator at Southern Utah University where she was awarded the University's "Distinguished Educator" Award. Arlene was also recognized as "Art Teacher of the Year for the State of Utah" by the National Art Education Association.
8. David Koch:
“I enjoy painting a variety of subjects including figures, still lifes, and landscapes. Especially when I can combine these subjects into historical and religious narratives. I believe that the definition of good art is art that inspires, motivates, uplifts, and teaches. It is a privilege and a challenge for me to create art that rises to these purposes. My goal when creating a work of art is to make a painting say more than just the objects being painted.” David Koch’s work can be found in the collections of former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, and Utah Senator Mike Lee. Two murals depicting Utah history were commissioned by the Utah State Capitol Restoration Board and are found in the House of Representative Chambers of the Utah State Capitol Building. Mr. Koch has been awarded commissions for other large-scale, religious murals located in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
9. Bonnie Posselli:
Whether it is of winter cottonwoods along a river bottom, the warm flush of an evening sun over the buttes of Southern Utah, or scenes from her journeys to foreign lands — to view a Bonnie Posselli painting is to be within the moment that Bonnie experienced. Winner of the Arts For The Parks Grand Canyon Purchase Award. Founding member Plein Air Painters of Utah. 2010 People's Choice Award, Maynard Dixon Country Invitational Featured Artist Southwest Art Magazine January 2005 Invited Guest of PAPA (Plein Air Painters of America) 2002, 2003 One of the 100 Best Artists of Utah, Springville Art Museum 2002 curatorial committee 2002 Arts for the Parks Grand Canyon Purchase Award Dixie College Invitational Purchase Award Deseret News Purchase Award Utah Governor's Mansion Artist Award
10. George W. Handrahan:
With over 70 major awards, listings in 7 books on prominent artists, and paintings sold through major auction houses, George W. Handrahan is considered to be one of the most collectible artists in Utah. Mr. Handrahan has been painting the beauty of Utah, California, and New England landscapes for more than forty years. George, a native of Utah, was raised in the rural community of South Weber. It was in this environment that he came to love and appreciate the diverse natural landscape surrounding him, taking every opportunity to spend time out of doors. As a student, Mr. Handrahan learned to appreciate many forms of art but gravitated towards the work of LeConte Stewart, Maynard Dixon, the California and the American Regionalist artists, admiring their ability to subtly portray the essence of light, color, form, and mood.