Greg Beecham2013 Artist
2013 Artwork Coming Soon
About the Artist
Greg Beecham has been a full-time artist for 35 years. Greg lives in Dubois, Wyoming, with his wife, Lu. He and Lu enjoy riding their horses, hunting, cross-country skiing, photographing wildlife, and helping out on ranches. His motto is, "Do all things as unto the Lord, and get so good you can't be ignored." He has participated in numerous shows, including Prix de West, and the Masters of the American West. Among the awards he has received are the Red Smith Award and the People's Choice Award at Western Visions. He has received the Nona Jean Hulsey Rumsey Buyer's Choice Award and is a two time winner of the Major General and Mrs. Don Pittman Wildlife Award at Prix de West.
What artist inspires you? Why?
As with all artists, I am inspired by many, both contemporary and those who have gone before. So, in narrowing it down to one, I will write of a friend, who, along with being a great artist, is a most generous mentor and thoughtful teacher. I met David Slonim in a teepee up at the Northwest Rendezvous campout about 11 years ago. We've spent a lot of time since talking art. He pursues a more abstract approach to painting than I do. And one of the things he continually reminds me of is to be thinking about transitions from small shapes to large shapes. The idea is to consider what is important in a piece and subject everything else to it. I frequent his blog, which I consider school. Recently there, he discussed two pieces, one by Edgar Degas and one by Andrew Wyeth. One piece was a landscape and one was of a ballerina. David contended that both pieces were of the same subject, the transition from mass to line. His discussion inspired me and gave me renewed energy and direction for my work. David is a smart, funny, generous fellow who I am privileged to know and learn from.
How do you come up with an idea for a new piece of artwork?
I spend as much time as I can in the wilderness, as the animals are the ones that tell me what to paint. Tolstoy, in his essay, "What is Art?", allows that for a work to be considered art, it should say something new. The critters always tell me something new. If I take time to be with them, they will tell me about new gestures, new habits and personalities, new habitat, new visions of abstract shapes, new light, new moods, new patterns, etc. Tolstoy's second requirement for something to be considered art goes along with the first. He stated that an artist must have a moral relationship with his subject matter. In saying that, Tolstoy was criticizing Guy de Maupassant for writing dirty stories. But I've taken it to mean that an artist must have a passion for the things he paints. The third requirement according to Tolstoy is to have sufficient technical skill to say what you want to say with a piece. That is a life-long process that I am still in pursuit of.
Where is the most inspirational place you've visited lately?
The most inspirational place I've visited lately is Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, in search of polar bears. I mooched a spot on a trip that was being planned by sculptor, Pete Zalucek for last November. He was gracious in allowing me to come along, and it was truly a trip of a lifetime. Though it was very cold, the conditions were perfect for 10 days of studying critters. Polar bears are incredible animals, and learning about their lifestyles, habits, and antics was a blast. There were many asides that were valuable as well. For the first time I was able to watch the hunting patterns of red foxes over a large expanse of territory. Here in Wyoming, one usually sees a fox for only a brief moment. With the open country along the Hudson Bay, we could watch as the foxes traversed the grey-whacky rocks and the tundra, working across wide paths in search of food. For me as a wildlife artist, the trip was a game-changer.