𝑩𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑻𝒉𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓©2022 oil/board 30" x 36"
Scottsdale Art Auction
The inspiration for "Beating Thunder" was sparked by a building storm on the prairie that I witnessed some years ago. I want my paintings to represent an honest portrayal of traditional western wildlife. Early on, I wrote this on a scrap of paper as a reminder.
1) Wonder. Never cease in the wonder of nature. Approach it with a childlike naivety.
2) Dedication to the truth of the impression of nature. Tell its story with honesty and integrity. Work diligently.
3) Respect our natural world. Do not allow technology to creep in through the use of projection or computer programs. Do not commercialize with excessive print production. Or to paint paintings lacking the complexity of the animal or scene.
I later added...Nature can be pretty and poised, but it can also be random and ordinary. Remember this!
So with "Beating Thunder", I approached the painting with this mindset. Some years ago, I viewed a building storm on the eastern plains of Montana as summer shifted to fall. The enormous sky enveloped all. Everything appeared as a grain of sand under the towering blue.
The bison belong there. The scene is not complete without them. Distance from the animal is respectful and natural. I sat in my old red Tahoe, viewing this scene, snapping pictures, and hearing the thundering hooves in my head.
The rush of a transcending scene plants a memory seed that sometimes sits forever before it sprouts. I seek to relate the story faithfully. Naturally, wildlife has a story that is intertwined with the landscape it calls home. I can't separate the two. My path is to depict it in paint. That is the journey.
Few things in life possess as much soul as original art. As wild places are calling to be enjoyed, I push aside technology. Technology replicates, not originates. I feel the grass under my hands; I hear the distant bugle of elk or the rattling of antlers as bucks spar. There is no place for shortcuts, only inspiration and hard work.
This painting percolated for almost two years. I began with the dust devil. Some reach to the heavens and twist with admirable fury. They travel without hesitation, driven by heat, passing through ranches and livestock. I gathered my reference from West Texas to Eastern Arizona.
I was fortunate to grow up around cattle. At times, they'd barely lift a head while grazing; at other times, they were spooked on a whim. Longhorns are as tough as the terrain. They are as western and wild as it gets and made the perfect cast of characters.
An honest scene that borders on chaos was important to me. I thought of an old tumbleweed I picked up on a trip in my twenties. It was right out of an old western, and occupied sizeable space in my bachelor pad for years. The tumbleweed is as iconic as the longhorn and the dust devil making the story complete. Heck yeah!
Spring in His Step
"Rise & Shine"©2022 oil/board 20" x 37" InSight Gallery Texas Masters
In 2012, we traded the upkeep of a 1907 house in Fredericksburg to move to East Texas for work privacy. The seclusion was great, but after five years, we missed Fredericksburg. We began searching for properties in a competitive market. When we stumbled on this house online, we thought, "You're kidding, right?" The house was a widow's ramshackle. However, it had one attribute above the other homes we toured—studio space.
This house had bones. It took two years for workers to remove the grime and update the home to meet our needs in both design and aesthetics. I am happy with the outcome of the remodel. My studio was once a gunsmith's trophy room. The north wall was opened with large picture windows. No more dark studios in pole barns! I have light and it surrounds me.
So now I begin my next group of paintings. I continue to double down. As I finish a painting, there is more I want to explore and infuse. I've always been one to take the long road, but now there is no time to meander. Inspiration demands my deadline. I have to put it down in paint before a new inspiration takes hold. I want paint seen, and examined, not grainy in appearance or with notes of hesitation, but with good, strong sureness, regardless if the stroke is soft or strong. Bury me with my brush in hand, as I am sure I want this journey to continue. Hesitations are pushed aside, and dues are paid. From my perspective, art should transcend. Much can be forgiven and adjusted. If the bones are good, then it is good, but if it breathes and has soul then it can stand the test of time. I hope to make mine such.
We decided to pick up a frame order in Arizona, and while my mother-in-law had visited Arizona, she had never seen Saguaros. We decided to combine efforts: she'd fly home to Florida from Arizona, and my wife and I would pick up frames. My mother-in-law is 80 going on 60 and hiked with us, providing a wealth of knowledge on plants. Although this was to be family time, I was surprised by the amount of reference gathered.
My interest in animal life is varied, but the desert has beckoned me since my first trip to New Mexico as a teen. This trip I studied the desert perhaps more intimately than on previous trips. Putting some meat on the bone, so to speak, with new paintings was a goal. As a professional artist, I wanted to cast aside thoughts that restrain creativity.
I began with inspiration as a driving force, and the desert did not disappoint. I saw more mule deer on this trip. While this wasn't as in-depth as a typical research trip, it panned out with some good reference and more so in inspiration and knowledge. I was able to catch this little rabbit taking a break from the heat of the day. The cottontail was such a good model, he demanded to be painted. Fortunately, he was quite content to rest in the desert shadows while I took some pics and made mental notes.
The trip taught me I can become too comfortable in the studio, but more surprisingly in the field as well. I can't force inspiration. There is something always more interesting. Sometimes it is as simple as a little cottontail.
Available: Legacy Gallery
"South Texas Somewhere"
Here's to Horns
When it comes down to it, longhorns are downright relatable. Anyone who has lived half a life can admire their tough-as-nails, at times ornery, at times sweet, disposition. The Spaniards knew what they were doing when they brought them to the Americas.
𝑺𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒊𝒏' 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒖𝒔𝒕 ©2022 36" x 30" Museum of Western Art RoundUp
I started painting longhorns right out of the gate. I got inspired by our dry summer and that welcomed drenching, unusual for Aug/Sept. Locals rejoiced and not only the two legged variety! We had a blast watching whitetail frolic and nearby longhorns act half their age.
I enjoyed painting Settlin' the Dust so much I had this fellow I wanted to paint too.
On the farm, I couldn't escape nature. The seasons of plenty and times of thrift were yearly if not daily reminders of the rhythm of life. The weather was watched with appreciation of sunshine and often with prayers for a good rain.
My family took me west on trips and I fell for Terlingua, Big Bend, and the Texas Brush Country. Travel outside the state was to escape Texas' heat. Summers we left for the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. I owe much to my sister Margaret, who also purchased my first art books. To this day she exhibits an adventurous spirit not seen since our ancestors left Germany for Galveston.
Fall Showcase@ InSight Gallery marks my 5th anniversary with the gallery! I'm pleased to be with a great team of art lovers in Fredericksburg, TX! -Sept 2 2022-
Nature is over the top. The ebb and flow from the mundane to the grand is captivating. All work in a concerted effort to draw us in. I seek to meld the ebb and flow of nature. If I succeed in getting my hand and eye to deliver I come close this place imagined. That is the journey and I hope others come along for the adventure!
Available@ InSight Gallery
𝐶𝑟𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝐺𝑜𝑙𝑑 ©2022
18" x 14"
National Museum of Wildlife Art
2022 Western Visions
Tis the season soon! Fall kicks off the small works shows giving opportunities to purchase small paintings and sculptures. Working mood and story on a small scale can be difficult, but artists muster efforts to satisfy and engage new and seasoned collectors! What a great time to be a western/wildlife artist or art collector!
My warmest thoughts are of past shows, Whistle Pik Gallery Christmas Miniatures, Legacy Gallery Holiday Small Works Show, and into the new year with Stu's American Miniatures Show at Settlers West Gallery. While Whistle Pik is no longer with us, there is ample opportunity with the current museum and gallery shows.
I throw my hat in the ring with Crown of Gold. My enjoyment of painting our natural world is limitless, but I count moose as a thoroughly fulfilling subject. I wanted to evoke a yearning and inquisitive aspect of this bull. The cottonwoods were brilliant and matched the gleam from his antlers, but his gesture was paramount.
Available @ 2022 Western Visions, National Museum of Wildlife Art
I'm nostalgic. Flat-out nostalgic. I enjoy steam engine locomotives, old classic cars, and chicken dinner at Ma Grimm's house on Sundays. I really miss those Sundays. That translates to my paintings. My wife recently told me I had a reoccurring theme in my paintings of an animal looking back. I never looked at it that way, but I guess it could be true.
When I'm designing a painting, I think as if I'm one of the subjects. Animals interact in all different and sometimes hilarious manners. They are curious. After a long dry spell, our whitetail will frolic in a puddle just to splash or chase each other as if they were playing tag. They often look back. Some look for familiar changes due to poor eyesight, among other reasons. As I'm at the drawing board, I question what the animal I'm about to paint hears, thinks, and feels. At times on the prowl, or overtaken by hormones and age-old impulses, or sometimes simply grazing.
This brings me back to, well, looking forward. I have opportunities to revisit wildlife that I've not painted recently and explore new ones. As nostalgic as I may be, I am thoroughly fired up about what's ahead. It is now. Like classic cars, traditional, wildlife art is timeless. Not much time to look back these days. Let's look forward!
"Canyon Quiet" InSight Gallery
"Territorial View" Legacy Gallery
7/1/2022 update, "Canyon Quiet" will be the cover of Texas Outdoors Journal, Aug 2022 issue.
Points of Interest
I'm deeply grateful to the good folks at Texas Outdoors Journal for honoring my painting, "Points of Interest" with their October cover. This publication is THE resource for outdoors Texas and can be found on newsstands across the state. TOJ Outdoor News Show is celebrating their 29th year on the radio.
"Points of Interest" available thru InSight Gallery
More info: Texas Outdoors Journal Oct. 2021
How to Say It
I live with a painting before it's sent off, the longer the better. I turn it away from view to later return to it, flip it upside down, study, review, only to live with it a week or two more. The last review before delivery usually loops through a process of me pondering a myriad of what-ifs.
I intensely study ways to unjumble thoughts and impulses. Simply saying what one wants to say is a baffling pursuit. With paint, it can be a rabbit hole.
Early last summer we noticed a particular fawn. Short-legged, a little gawky, she seemed to prefer us to her peers. If we sat on the porch to enjoy the evening, "Lil Bit", as my wife named her, came to visit. Her mother's grunts were useless as "Lil Bit" scampered up unabashedly. With no other deer in-sight, she disregarded chainsaw activity, and burning brush to graze alongside us during chores.
When we took to a hotel during our February ice storm, we left a supplement of corn nearby for the wildlife. Two does and a variety of birds were lost, but Lil Bit appeared unscathed.
If this little doe has anything, she has moxie. Although she is becoming more doe-like and visits less frequently, her trailblazing style is infectious.
Available: InSight Gallery
The great people at Sporting Classics were kind enough to include my painting "Gillespie Gold" in the January/February issue.
The painting is featured in the short story by Robert Ellis, "Sermon from the Mount".
More info: Sporting Classics
I'm honored to have "Hondo Honcho" as the cover for October's issue of Texas Outdoors Journal. TOJ is the go-to publication for game and conservancy in Texas.
Info: Texas Outdoors Journal
"Heads Up" could well be the theme for 2020. Much maligned, the year will go down in the history books as a heck of a tough year to get through. However, when things go awry, opportunities are born! I won't sit and cry in my oatmeal, it's time for work and as my wife says, "At least we don't have a skunk in the attic". Well said.
These thoughts stem from a commission destroyed in freight shipping. Other artists told me it would happen eventually. Yep, Murphy's law caught up to me. I had to adjust plans, create a painting to surpass the original, order a new frame, and negotiate reimbursement for the original with the shipper. I'm one to believe that no experience is without a reason and I'm stubborn enough to not allow this experience to eat at me.
Let's keep our heads up, get out there and get after it! In response to the change of schedule I painted "Heads Up" for The Museum of Western Art, Round Up Show and Sale. Always wary this buck has raised his head from a quick graze. I hope it is a scene many can relate to!
The 37th Annual Roundup at The Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, TX will be held Sept 26 -Oct 31.
The Stars at Night
Back in early 2019 in planning paintings for the 2020 show at InSight Gallery, I decided I wanted to paint a moonlit longhorn scene. I got inspired after seeing such a scene after a long day of reference gathering.
I waited for well lit nights to do some plein air color studies. As I designed the piece I realized the size needed to be substantial.
With my sketch on paper, I begin sketching on the gessoed board with paint. Diagonal lines in pencil make it easier to scale.
After the initial sketch is in place, I pay closer attention to anatomy. I continue to refine.
Now I begin to put a wash down. This will give a warm undertone.
Jumping forward I begin to refine in color. I continue this process until completion. Although the scene is serene, I wanted a shimmer and movement in the light. Western history and cattle lore often centered around the night watch. The stars are bright on this night, but the longhorns take center stage.
The West & The Wild
Brian Grimm & David Griffin
Reception May 1, 2020
Time, Sweet Tine
A strong fall cold front arrived bringing an early freeze. Ideal weather for our whitetail, they appeared oblivious to the frigid temperatures. Our kids visited with their blue heelers and the deer made quick game of these two porch dogs. The does came to taunt each morning casually bounding over the fence when time arose. This went on each morning until a buck interrupted with more pressing issues.
The bucks made fast haste of the cold snap. The rattling of tines were heard most evenings echoing across the valley. It's the timeless, sweet music of nature that feeds the soul.
I'm reminded of what fuels me. The new windows overlooking our valley have made the studio a joy to work in and I'm eager to get painting with each sunrise. Much like the blue heelers, I have never been one to let go of a chase.
Art collecting has similar sensibilities. A collector may chase the piece that got away, the one that sold out from underneath them or engage in a marathon hunt for that perfect piece of art. That too is part of the sport of life and I'm told it is thoroughly enjoyable.
"Stickers & Stones" will be included in a two man show I'm having along with artist David Griffin, April 2020 at InSight Gallery. I'll select 6 - 10 paintings for the show.
I'll have more on the remodel, which has been a great journey, and what's on the easel. Stay tuned!
"Trails that Lead to Water"
We made the move! I hope it is our last! We moved back to Fredericksburg and closed on our home last week. Some remodeling of studio space should give plenty of north light and room to work. I am eager! It may take longer on landscaping and living space, but our contractor is on the same page that the studio takes top priority.
Fortunately, I have found space to work until the studio is completed.
In the midst of the move, I was commissioned to paint a steer painting. I'm doubly honored as the couple is new to collecting western art.
I wanted to play with the light on the bluff with the blue tones of the shadows on the main longhorn. He could have been bathed in light, but I wanted to steer away from the obvious, (no pun intended). The painting is a large 36" x 48" and I wanted it to echo the rugged beauty of the west.
I hope to update soon with our move -in and finished studio!
Texas Outdoors Journal
"Rio Grande Casanovas" 24" x 36"
"Spanish Dagger" 24" x 40" Briscoe Western Art Museum Auction 2019
I aimed to muster up the best of the Texas brush in "Spanish Dagger". Each year the lure of the whitetail increases with each passing day as fall nears. Bucks can be monsters in the brush and this guy was a brute. It is all about the buck and the yucca, both of which are aptly nicknamed "Spanish Dagger".
In South Texas, seasonal colors vary from year to year depending on temperatures. I've been there when barely a sprig of green is evident and then other years, like the one in the painting, summer hugs winter allowing for extended growing season creating a thick yet airy lushness as rain allows.
"Spanish Dagger will be at the Briscoe Museum of Western Art, live auction March 29.
"Horns at Honey Creek" is reminiscent of scenes throughout Texas, however, this is set west of San Antonio. Love of family and land kept this second painting close to home. My grandparents arrived as children in Galveston, TX from Germany in the 1880s. They met, married and purchased 239 acres, not 10 miles from where I grew up in Central Texas. We all have stayed in Texas since.
Longhorns captured my imagination early on. Self-reliant, rugged and the mascot for the University of Texas in nearby Austin, longhorns dotted the landscapes of ranches throughout Texas and were accessible subjects for me to paint.
"Horns at Honey Creek" is in the Hill Country. I'm unsure if the creek got its name from the color or the taste, but I imagine it's probably a little of both. The dappled light of the shade play on the pattern of the longhorns. Summer is ending with cooler days on the way.
"Horns at Honey Creek" 24" x 32" Briscoe Western Art Museum, Night of Artists 2019
The nemesis of every artist is deadlines. Yet, thankfully we have them as it is really hard to call a painting completed. Art is not usually effortless, nor should it be. We are to dig deep and bring something thoughtful and moving to life. Lofty goals, but to succeed within a given timeframe is like catching lightning in a bottle. It's emotionally and physically draining but when everything comes together, and it does on occasion, well, there is nothing like it.
I try to get ahead of schedule; I'm getting better. I try to create a custom Christmas card to mail to collectors each year, but I was shocked that according to records the last one I created was in 2015! Are you kidding me? Time can get away from me and I couldn't let another year escape me.
Going through the past cards, I remember the events leading up to their creation. I have been told the same is true for collectors. They remember the art purchase from their favorite gallery or show, the trip they were on, the friends and family they were traveling with at the time. Gathering and adding to one's collection is very personal, in many ways recording memories of milestones and events.
This year has been an all-out love affair with the nature and woods that surround us. From the colors of spring to fall to the resident wildlife, everything seemed to put on a show for us. Two of our neighborhood foxes nap on the hillside behind our home and this is the inspiration behind the 2018 holiday card. The colder the day the tighter they curl into a ball and bask in the sunshine. They are so peaceful in their slumber that they barely lift their head when we walk outdoors. If we do interrupt them, they reluctantly stretch, give an extended yawn and then traipse no further than is required. While I yearn for a balance of easel, family, and the holidays, these critters exhibit pure peace. It is a lesson to relax, quiet the heart and enjoy.
May this season find you and yours with such peace and contentment!
The Bountiful Season
Our whitetail bucks have chased the does relentlessly. We have a very confident non-typical buck that is a great looking up and comer. He will give the big guy a run for top status next year.
Neighborhood foxes are emblazoned in their finest coats, and all of our wildlife, coyotes to bobcats seem to be enjoying the cooler weather. It is my favorite time of the year.
With such seasonal abundance, I decided to paint a Rio Grande turkey. I admit a fondness for these birds. I think I have mentioned this before, but what characters! Their mannerisms range from fierce to comical and they always prove to be great subjects.
Hope this finds you as excited about the season as I am. Although I want to be gathering reference, today, the easel is calling and I have some things I want to accomplish. The larger painting I am working on is flowing nicely and I look forward to sharing. Stay tuned!
"Western Winds" 24" x 36"
Just doing their thing. That is strength. That is the feeling I had when watching these bison. Blustery weather arises. Grit can blow and wind can sweep, yet they carry on. I aimed to capture their genuine strength.
The internet and social media are hurdles. I'm only on Linkedin not because I'm not social; I don't do my best work when I see too much of the same content. I have also found a need to limit technology in the studio. I have internet, I stream music, but I limit browsing. I've heard it argued that artists from the past would have used the tools of modern technology if available. Maybe so, but would their art be better for it? Probably not.
Others have differing viewpoints, but this is what works for me. I'm not a technophobe, I just believe it can homogenize and sterilize, like synthesizers in music. The quirks of the human hand bring warmth and soul.
I really don't like talking much about it. The art should say it. Proof should be in the painting.
Looking forward! Gearing up for some Texas whitetail! Our bucks are the best yet. Almost all have rubbed off their velvet and are beginning to bulk up. Can't wait for the show!
A Small Gift
"Afternoon Social" 18" x 24" InSight Gallery
I had this bobwhite quail painting in the works for some time. I toyed with the design, changed their positions, gestures, lighting, etc. until my vision was set. I thumbed through my reference to back up what I had in mind and found I lacked the exact "look" for the hens. Several restless nights were spent thinking about this painting.
I did not want to render. Their patterns are intricate yet I wanted the impression, the air, the light, the mood. Each bird needed their own gesture and personality. I wanted to be sure of hand. I had to do right by this painting. Time to put on the boots and get the proper reference!
Next morning at breakfast I noticed a cardinal landing in the backyard. In its flight path a small object moved. I thought perhaps a squirrel, but recognized a quail hen. Perfect!
I also finished this Rio Grande Turkey painting. I had a blast with this painting. The two toms came out as hoped. That is especially true in their personalities. One is completely full of himself, the other seems more pensive. I picture some cocky, lanky dude belting out "What's up girls?". The sometimes humorous ritual of guys approaching ladies seemed to stick with me. The title, "Rio Grande Casanovas" said it all.
Summer months are usually busy in preparation for fall shows. This is especially true this year. Time to get to it. Back to the easel!
The two toms are attempting to entice the hens. The one tom is almost in full strut and is anchored along with the other tom by the yucca in the background.
My goal was to paint a strutting tom without the "Thanksgiving" look. I really wanted to have the tall yucca but not have it overpower the birds. I went through a myriad of designs. By trial and error, I found that anchoring the strutting tom with the yucca negated each from becoming too much a focal point. The tom with his head high demands attention, creating a natural eye flow. That's the idea. It will head to InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg on completion.
Sharing my attention is a grizzly painting for Legacy Gallery, Jackson Hole. It's cooking so to speak. It's coming along as hoped and planned. I've made a real effort to get back to creating natural and honest paintings. You go out and learn all the tricks only to strip it back down and go acoustic. I think this is true in most of life. Plan to post it soon. Stay tuned!
Painter of western wildlife and landscapes, constantly seeking to balance impressionism and realism sans trickery. Brian works as a full time artist in Central Texas. Exhibited at Rockwell Museum, Briscoe Museum, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and National Museum of Wildlife Art.