The American Landscape | Arturo Chávez

Excerpted from Art Journey America: Landscapes.

Mount Wilson Winter, oil, 57 x 90. Courtesy Eiteljorg Museum.

Born near Taos, New Mexico, Arturo Chávez is a 13th-generation native New Mexican. Raised amid the spectacular vistas of northern New Mexico, Chávez is dedicated to preserving the Western landscape by painting it.

What inspired this painting?
In MOUNT WILSON WINTER, I tried to convey a sense of the quiet stillness of the fresh snowfall on the red rocks just north of the city of Sedona. As the winter storm passed and the warm Arizona sun emerged, I was moved by the beauty of the lifting clouds that revealed the underlying red rocks of Mount Wilson that had been shrouded in mystery by the winter storm.

Do you paint on location?
My paintings begin on location with small oil color sketches and a series of photographs to document the terrain and to capture the surrounding details. When I return to the studio, I use the color sketches to match my colors and I use the photographs for composition and details. Then I begin work on the intermediate oil painting. If I feel that I need to expand and further develop the painting, I frequently enlarge the intermediate painting to a large-scale work, such as MOUNT WILSON WINTER.

What galleries represent you?
Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Mountain Trails Galleries, Sedona, AZ;

Featured in January 2012.