Emerging Artists | Dan Thompson, Kelly Donovan & Reid Galey

By Bonnie Gangelhoff & Alice Herrin

Dan Thompson

The Warrior by Dan Thompson
The Warrior by Dan Thompson

For as long as he can remember, Dan Thompson has been drawn to the human figure as subject matter. During his days at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, he recalls studying paintings by Diego Velázquez and marveling at the depictions. “There was something so deep and profound about his people,” Thompson says. “I became fascinated with the human head and figure then, and I am now too, even when I’m just riding on the subway in New York,” he says.

After art school, Thompson studied with well-known portrait painters Cedric and Joanette Egeli in Maryland and later at the New York Academy of Art and the Water Street Atelier, also in New York. At 29 Thompson has already been richly rewarded for his talent: Last year the American Society of Portrait Artists awarded him the grand prize for his self-portrait. The portrait was chosen from a field of works by more than 600 artists. “It’s great to work so hard to acquire the knowledge and skills and search for your own unique vision and then get acknowledgement and respect from your peers,” Thompson says. When asked about his future goals, he replies, “To paint a masterpiece.”

Thompson is represented by Morseburg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Eleanor Ettinger Gallery, New York, NY; and Century Gallery, Alexandria, VA.

Kelly Donovan

Down through the middle by Kelly Donovan
Down through the middle by Kelly Donovan

Whether painting or sculpting, Kelly Donovan has always preferred cowboys and horses as his subject matter. The artist’s affinity for these subjects goes back to his childhood in a rural Colorado town. “I’ve been around horses all my life,” he says. “My family didn’t have any, but all my friends did. In my early teens I worked as a cowboy. It’s part of my life.”

In addition to oils and bronzes, the artist, who now lives in a small Utah town with his wife and five children, also likes to work in watercolor and pencil. His images of cowboys—both historical and contemporary—are carefully researched for authenticity. Though his works are western in nature, Donovan says he draws inspiration from artists working in a variety of different styles. “I enjoy looking at all kinds of art, from James Reynolds to Howard Terpning to Richard Schmid,” he says. “I think the key factor for all these artists is their work ethic—the hours they spend behind the easel. My goal is to get better with each painting and never give up.”

He is represented by Judith Hale Gallery, Los Olivos, CA; Rocky Mountain Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT; Painted Desert Gallery, Montrose, CO; and Sagebrush Gallery, Sun Valley, ID.

Reid Galey

Last Light of the Evening by Reid Galey
Last Light of the Evening by Reid Galey

Reid Galey was born and raised in New Mexico and was greatly influenced by the state’s lively arts scene. Throughout high school and college, he had his own production pottery studio, but after a severe back injury left him unable to lean over the wheel, he turned to painting. “I’d prop myself up and paint,” he recalls. “I’ve always been very hands-on—that’s why I liked working with clay. When I started painting I discovered you can manipulate paint. Ever since then it’s been a bug.”

The painting bug has taken him around the United States and other parts of the world in search of the perfect landscape or seascape to paint en plein air. “I grew up in the mountains, so I love to paint mountains, and I also love painting lakes and streams as well as the canyons and deserts of the Southwest,” he says. Now a Minnesota resident, Galey even finds inspiration in the long midwestern winters. “I love to paint snow—it doesn’t bother me to be outside in 20-below weather in my snowsuit painting,” he says. Whatever his subject, Galey says his goal is to keep learning and evolving as an artist. “To keep growing as a painter is a challenge in itself,” he says. “It’s so easy to get categorized as a mountain painter or a beach painter. I really like to be diverse in my subjects. I want to be a painter’s painter.”

He is represented by Waterstreet Gallery, Saugatuck, MI.

Featured in April 2002