A VISIT WITH G. RUSSELL CASE AT HIS STUDIO IN BRIGHAM CITY, UT
Text by Bonnie Gangelhoff • Photos by Derek Israelsen
This story was featured in the February 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
Describe your studio. My studio is a place I look forward to spending time each day. The view is what I love the most. The Wasatch Mountain range and a small lake that always gets good reflections are part of my view. The studio is two stories, with the workspace up-stairs and a gallery area downstairs. The walls are a gray-green, and we used a lot of alderwood for the beams and finish work.
What kinds of things do you keep in the studio? I have mostly books on painters. And furniture, because every studio needs an old nap couch.
What attracts you to the landscape as subject matter? Shapes, mostly. I am usually drawn to a subject by a compositional idea. I really like to see an emotional construct in it also. The emotional expression of a setting I can see in Maynard Dixon’s work. Dixon communicated the same thing with mesas and clouds as Hopper did in houses and rooftops. When I was first introduced to Dixon’s work, I noticed the “Hopperness” immediately. To me he was doing something far deeper than decorating canvas with color and texture. In my opinion, Dixon’s paintings are a treasure of western realism that few have communicated as powerfully.
Do you have favorite locales you like to paint? That’s a secret! (Not really.) I love the Vermilion Cliffs, Canyon de Chelly, and the area around Mount Carmel, UT.
Do you listen to music while you work? Sometimes classical music, usually Christian talk radio.
What impresses you about other artists’ works? I’m impressed with Len Chmiel’s fearless composition quest, his subtleties, and the drawing he gets with old, worn brushes—brushes, interestingly, that I had thrown away while on a painting trip with him and Matt Smith. Len retrieved them from the garbage can, and I think he painted with them for two or three years, always thanking me for the “great brushes.” I have always marveled at California painter Dan Pinkham and his divine gift of color and design. Clyde Aspevig, Matt Smith, Bill Anton, and Chris Blossom’s ability to see value, especially on location, along with the extreme discipline and hours it takes. I like the freshness of Glenn Dean’s work and his color harmony, along with his grays. I like Ray Roberts’ direct, no-nonsense approach and simplifying abilities. I like Tim Lawson’s color sensitivity and drawing. Anyone who can get what he does out of low light and overcast days always impresses me. And George Carlson—everything about his work impresses me.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your fine-art career? Truthfully, that I make a living and provide for my family. I’m not sure proud is the way I would describe it, maybe thankful and blessed. What a joy it is to do this as an occupation and to travel around hanging out in some of the most beautiful places on earth, meeting all kinds of people. Praise be to God!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I enjoy studying theology, playing Uno with my son, seeing my grown daughters when they visit, hugging on my grandchildren, and having morning coffee and conversation with my wife. I like to head out to hunt or fish when I get to feeling closed up in the studio too long. I like to take a drive at sunrise to study the rich morning light and its effect on the subjects I paint, but I’m not fond of piña coladas or getting caught in the rain.
Where do you take people when they come to visit you? That depends on what they are coming to visit for. In the past we have done some fly-fishing or sightseeing at some of my painting locations. Some I take duck hunting, others we talk art, but everyone goes to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, WY; Bingham Gallery, Mount Carmel, UT; David Ericson Fine Art, Salt Lake City, UT; Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Maxwell Alexander Gallery, Culver City, CA; Bischoff’s Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Wood River Fine Arts, Ketchum, ID.
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