For painter Robert S. Brown, the western landscape inspires awe, respect, and creativity in ways that no other subject can. “Everywhere I look in the West, I see patterns, colors, and lighting effects that make me feel the urgent need to express it in paint on canvas,” Brown says. He grew up in Nebraska and Iowa and became fascinated with drawing and painting at a young age. In those days, it was the architecture of buildings—as opposed to landforms—that inspired him, leading to a 32-year award-winning career in architectural design. But as Brown approached retirement, his “inner spiritual voice” told him to return to painting, so he spent the next 10 years doing just that.
In 2011, Brown retired and moved to Santa Fe, NM—a decision that had a tremendous influence on his art. “My past work was all in acrylic paint applied with brushes in a more academic, representational style,” he says. “Moving to Santa Fe and painting full time changed everything, and my most recent work is very different: all done with palette knife in oils in a looser, more painterly style.” The artistic freedom and natural beauty Brown found in New Mexico continues to inspire his bold, contemporary interpretations of the western landscape. “It’s my experience of joy and awe before these dramatic, rugged landscapes and architectural landforms that inspires me to try to portray my feelings about these marvelous creations,” he says.