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Voices of Experience - An Interview with David Griffin

Voices of Experience

An Interview with David Griffin

Gold Never Fades, 12 x 16" Oil, © David Griffin
Gold Never Fades                         12 x 16"                    Oil

   David Griffin was given an early opportunity to study with the most well-known illustrators of the day. From that opportunity, he learned the importance of communicating a narrative through his artwork. After working in the Illustrators Workshop in New York City for two years, Griffin returned to his roots in Texas to practice graphic design and illustration there. He also began painting for himself, putting his roots in the cowboy's life and the southwestern landscape into his work. His passion and emotional connection to the western United States reverberate throughout the stories he tells in his paintings. He wrote to us about his artistic journey.

   My personal journey into becoming a fine artist began in an act of desperation in college (another story for another time). Suffice it to say, I found out the hard way that my future was not in medicine or baseball. In my junior year, while studying and finishing my course work toward a BFA in Design at Texas Tech University, I was accepted, by nothing short of a miracle, to the first NewYork Illustrators Workshop, where I was taught and mentored by Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, Bob Peak and Robert Heindel, the best illustrators of that era.

   After moving back to Dallas, my art life/career began as an illustrator, working through the 70s, 80s and into the 90s, achieving in my small way a modicum of success. Around 1993, I began what would become my real career, my attempt at becoming a fine artist, devoting all my time, attention and commitment toward learning what this art life requires. I had found my calling and had discovered that painting was more than a vocation. Early on, I was again lucky and blessed with the opportunity to study with Bettina Steinke and James Reynolds— art heroes of mine. From those days until now, I have been committed to this life-long journey of learning how to communicate stories through my paintings.



   My paintings are direct observations,

results of a life and heritage spent close to

the Land, the People, the West.

It’s a calling to satisfy a deep desire to speak

in a visual medium, telling stories—

all the time looking west.



Hoping It's More than Thunder, 12 x 16", Oil, © David Griffin
Hoping It's More than Thunder               12 x 16"               Oil

   Although I have painted all over Europe and from coast to coast in the United States, my life, my heart, my voice are all anchored and influenced by “the west”. By west I mean anything west of Dallas ,Texas, as far south as the Big Bend, as far north as Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, and as far west as the west coast—and everything in between.

Inheritance of Time, 30 x 40", Oil, © David Griffin
Inheritance of Time                        30 x 40"                         Oil

   My work is almost exclusively landscape, and occasionally the figure. Usually the first thing I do when I arrive at the location is to "get to know the subject". By that I mean using all my senses I immerse myself in the visual before me— the land, the atmosphere, the character of my subject. This may include the 105 degree heat of the desert floor or waist high snow in the Rockies.

Winter's Wonderland, 16 x 12", Oil, © David Griffin
Winter's Wonderland               16 x 12"               Oil

Winter's Dawning, 16 x 12", Oil, © David Griffin
Winter's Dawning               16 x 12"               Oil

   Starting with plein air studies and some photography, I then go back to the studio and work with the studies and photos to construct small thumbnails for composition, thereby enabling the narrative.

   Lately I have been working on nocturnes, using the moon and clouds as light for my narrative. These have been a real challenge, but in my experience the struggle to get to know the subject is where real growth takes place. My failures and they have been many—too many to mention—are my real teachers.

Nocturne Overture, 30 x 24" Oil, ©David Griffin
Nocturne Overture          30 x 24"          Oil

A Winter Moon Not to Waste, 36 x 36", Oil, © David Griffin
A Winter Moon not to Waste          36 x 36"          Oil

   As artists, at any stage, we are all still students, searching for those fleeting moments of clarity when who we are becomes what we paint. I found that almost every one of my paintings is in some way a self-portrait, the good and bad. Give God’s gift of creativity plenty of air, some water, and nourishment.

Heirloom of Big Bend, 12 x 16", Oil, © David Griffin
Heirloom of Big Bend                    12 x 16"                   Oil

   To aspiring young artists:  Nurture your gift with your full attention and see if it doesn’t return a multitude of blessings. But whatever you do don’t give up. It’s worth the fight. 

Photograph of David Griffin Painting at Ghost Ranch

 To see more of David Griffin's work,
go to:  https://davidgriffinstudio.com
All artwork copyright David Griffin

   David Griffin's work has been featured in Cowboys and Indians, Victoria, Dallas Morning News, Western Art Collector, Southwestern Art (cover and feature, October, 2013) and is included in many corporate collections. He has been invited to participate in these selected national shows:  American Art Classic, Texas Art Gallery Collectors' Sale, Settler’s West Gallery, Oil Painters of America National Show (Award of Excellence), Salon International (Jury Top 50 Award), Coors National Western Art Exhibit (2010-present), National Ranching Heritage Museum, American Impressionist Society 2015 National Show, Maynard Dixon Invitational 2016 (awarded Silver Thunderbird for Best Body of Work).




Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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A Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes

Nocturnes - A Primer on Night Painting

Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.

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About Us

Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
About Ann
     About John
 Hulsey Trusty Studios

We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

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