Emerging Artists | Holt, Potter, Horne

Tom Holt
White Sycamore by Tom Holt
White Sycamore by Tom Holt

Tom Holt grew up in a small town in southern Utah, a place where he was exposed on a regular basis to Native American culture and traditions. Holt learned early about the deep connection the nearby Piaute Indians felt with the earth—a feeling that eventually would serve as the inspiration for his art. “Mother Nature is the great teacher,” he says.

Today, Holt lives on a mesa above the Gila Valley in New Mexico. His home overlooks lush cottonwood and pine trees. And he doesn’t have to venture too far to find his favorite scenes to paint, such as Box Canyon and the Gila River, each of which he relishes depicting in different seasons and times of the day.
Holt prefers backpacking into the wild for a week to scout for subject matter rather than settling for pristine, pastoral scenes. “I am always trying to convey a sense of peace in my work,” he says. “I think that’s vital to the species right now, when polarities are so great in every aspect of life. I believe it’s an artist’s responsibility to go beyond behaviors of arrogance and greed to remind people who they are in the highest and best sense.” Holt is represented by Studio W, Ruidoso, NM; Glenn Cutter Jewelers and Gallery, Las Cruces, NM; and Azurite Gallery, Silver City, NM.

John Potter

Hayden Valley Rumble by John Potter
Hayden Valley Rumble by John Potter
Although painter John Potter currently lives in Vermont, his heart belongs to the West, he says. Eventually Potter and his family plan to return to Montana, where they own a home. But for now, while his wife teaches at a Vermont state college, he has to be content with spending summers in Big Sky country.
In some ways, it’s no surprise that his subject matters of choice are landscape and wildlife painting. As a boy growing up in northern Wisconsin, he learned from his Ojibwe elders, who made a point of stressing to the young Potter that he was related to everything on the earth—the creatures, trees, stars, rocks, and clouds. “Landscape and wildlife painting is an expression of those ideas for me,” Potter says. “I really want to help people understand that the earth belongs to all of us and that we must redouble our efforts to save what’s left and heal the planet.”
In July, Potter has works on view at Galleries West in Jackson, WY, and he is an artist-in-residence at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, also in Jackson. In addition to Galleries West, he is represented by Loch Vale Fine Art, Estes Park, CO; Wild Spirit Gallery, Pagosa Springs, CO; Depot Gallery, Red Lodge, MT; and Village Arts of Putney, Putney, VT.

Shaun Horne

Tamale View by Shaun Horne
Tamale View by Shaun Horne

Shaun Horne believes that all great artists also are great observers. This philosophy inspires his large-scale landscape works. In what he calls “the teeth of winter,” he regularly dons a maroon ski suit, paratrooper boots, and mask and plunges into the mountains for a day or more of painting near his home in Crested Butte, CO. The temperature can drop as low as zero degrees and he remains undaunted. “When you are painting, you are not creating heat, so the trick is to keep the body core so warm you can afford to lose heat through the fingers,” Horne says.

Each landscape work takes him about 20 to 30 hours to complete, he says, noting that he has never been satisfied with finishing a piece quickly. “It sounds trivial to modernists at universities, but I want to capture beauty because this is what keeps art alive,” he says. “A painting contains 10,000 living, breathing moments.”
Horne compares his experience of landscape painting to a 30-hour conversation with nature. “Landscape painting is all about beauty being pulled through the eyeballs and brain, and then going out through an arm and a hand,” he says. “Beauty captured in a painting is one of the most prized things on earth.”
The artist’s landscape works are on view at Square Deal Framing, Denver, CO, through June 9. Horne is represented by Rijks Family Gallery, Crested Butte, CO; and Elliott Yeary Gallery, Aspen, CO; and Patrick Jolly Fine Art, Denver, CO.

Featured in June 2007