Emerging Artists | Randy Saffle

Randy Saffle, Farmer’s Tan, oil, 11 x 14.

Randy Saffle, Farmer’s Tan, oil, 11 x 14.

This story was featured in the January 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  January 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

“When I was 16 years old, my father sent me off to get my Social Security card so he could put me to work in his auto-parts store,” says plein-air painter Randy Saffle. While these words may not sound like an affectionate ode to a father’s memory, often when the artist picks up his paintbrush, he is creating just that.

Saffle was born and raised in rural Texas. His father had quit college not for lack of money but, Saffle says, “because he wanted to work with his hands,” and his mother was the youngest of twelve children and picked cotton for a living. The artist’s childhood was one of hard work and making do. While he had always been interested in art and worked in a related field, he’d never touched oil paints until 13 years ago, when everything changed.

“I went to a Quick Draw of the Outdoor Painters Society,” Saffle says. “The people I met there were so welcoming. They were talking to me as they painted, and they invited me to their show that night. I fell in love with the painters and their enthusiasm.” Today, Saffle is the vice president of that same group, he’s been juried into the Oil Painters of America national exhibition, and last year he won an Award of Excellence at the annual OPS show. That award is of enormous personal significance since it was bestowed by Marc Hanson, an artist Saffle’s admired and followed since he first took up oil painting.

A plein-air artist with no formal training, Saffle focuses his creative endeavors not on the landscape per se but on once-crucial manmade contrivances now decomposing in its midst: dilapidated trucks, ancient tractors, collapsing barns. “Anything old and rusty,” he says. “I see the history and strength in those objects.” He renders his subject matter in loose, juicy strokes, bringing to the canvas images that remind him of his past growing up in Texas. “They remind me of my family,” Saffle says. “When I am painting, it’s like being with my dad.” Saffle is represented by Artists’ Showplace, Dallas, TX, and Holder Dane Gallery, Grapevine, TX. —Laura Rintala

This story was featured in the January 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  January 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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