Editor’s Letter | Landscape

Onion Creek, October, First Leaves of Fall by Michael Ome Untiedt. painting, southwest art.
Onion Creek, October, First Leaves of Fall by Michael Ome Untiedt

By Margaret Brown

Growing up, I spent many a summer vacation riding in the back seat of my parents’ car, driving from Houston to some wonderful destination in the West—Santa Fe, Estes Park, Jackson Hole, the Grand Canyon. More recently, I’ve enjoyed countless weekends exploring the backroads of Texas with my husband, in between frequent trips to Arizona and New Mexico. I’ve had the opportunity, then, to get to know a large part of the American West and to experience its great beauty.

After I began working at Southwest Art several years ago, I started experiencing the region’s beauty in new ways. Visits to familiar locations brought to mind landscape paintings by my favorite artists—the color of the sky reminding me of one artist’s work, a rolling hill meeting the highway reminding me of the compositions of another. This is the role of the realist artist, of course, to take the familiar and express it in a way that is his or her own. How many countless artists have painted the Grand Canyon? Yet only one paints it in the same way as Merrill Mahaffey, whose works are instantly recognizable. Likewise, cover artist Michael Ome Untiedt has a singular way of painting the Colorado sky. This issue’s focus on landscape painting showcases the works of Untiedt, Mahaffey, and three other prominent landscape artists all painting different areas of the region in their own individual styles.

This month we also profile Kevin Red Star, known for his portraits of Native Americans; introduce emerging artist Andrew Johnston; spotlight the art of drawing in black and white; and preview the annual Masters of the American West show. Enjoy the issue.

Featured in February 2001