Artist of Note | Richard Prather

A natural connection

Richard Prather, New Mexico Wilderness, oil, 16 x 28.

Richard Prather, New Mexico Wilderness, oil, 16 x 28.

This story was featured in the October 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

While Richard Prather was working as a biologist for 30 years, painting was always on his mind. As he worked in the field on wildlife conservation efforts, his love for animals continued to grow. So when he began taking lessons with local artists to develop his skills, animals were a natural subject to paint. But a new passion for the land began to bloom. “I was doing wildlife portraits, and I wanted to expand to put them in their natural environments,” Prather says. “But I didn’t know anything about how to paint them.”

Prather spent much of his time learning to perfect his landscapes, which are now the primary focus of his portfolio. He began with central Texas, where he was working. But as he began to travel, the artist fell in love with the variety of the West. “There are beautiful scenes everywhere in this country, but nothing excited me as much as the western landscape,” Prather says. The main draws for him are the varying textures he encounters during his painting excursions in the field. He says working en plein air is necessary to help viewers appreciate the unique beauty of the outdoors.

As a former biologist, Prather’s work is precise and detail-oriented, although he is working to loosen his brushwork. “I was trying to render every blade of grass or piece of fur, and people said my works looked like photos,” he says. “But there’s so much texture out there, and showing it helps facilitate that connection with the land.” —Mackenzie McCreary

Prather’s work can be seen at Marta Stafford Fine Art, Marble Falls, TX; Purple Sage Gallery, Albuquerque, NM; and www.richardprather.com.

This story was featured in the October 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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