Article ~ Young Guns

Nov/Dec 2009
Art of the West

“Young Guns,” By Vicky Stavig

They’re young, they’re ambitious—and they’re talented. The eight artists we feature on the following pages are creating quite a stir. They are “young guns,” artists we predict will make impressive marks on the Western art world in the coming years.

While their subjects range from wildlife and seascapes to still lifes and figures, these artists share a singular dedication to creating the best paintings possible as they share their visions of the world around them. In the process, they are determined to conquer the many challenges they face, from perfecting a technique to creatively capturing a subject.

These talented painters have earned impressive awards, shown in prestigious venues, and been the beneficiaries of sold-out shows, but that is not what drives them. Rather, they are committed to improving with each painting and to creative works that form strong emotional and artistic connections with viewers.

We invite you to turn the page and enjoy a sampling of some of those works.

Ariana Richards

Ariana Richards began to study classical drawing and painting at the Art Center College of Design, when she was 12, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in fine art and theater from Skidmore College in 2001. “I also was a mentor member of the California Art Club, [whose members] include some of the most accomplished painters in the country,” She says.

Beverly-A Portrait, oil, 24”x17”

“A commissioned portrait, this was going to be a face on, but this pose ended up being my favorite. I loved painting the light in this piece; it made this lovely woman even lovelier.”
– Ariana Richards

The Girl With Flowers, oil, 30” by 24”

“I like to capture moments with a universal quality—timeless, personal, and full of mystery. I like earthiness, too, and emotion. As destiny would have it, I have been given a sister who is all of this, as you can see!”
– Ariana Richards

Today Richards paints landscapes, seascapes, and portraits at her studio in Oregon and is attracting an impressive number of collectors. “When I am hit with something, when something catches my interest, I want to depict it,” she says. “I hope to move people, help them to see the soul and the spirit in the world. I believe art touches the deeper places we live. The spirit and the soul are in the life around us. When our days are filled with beauty, it makes for an abundant life.”

Richards is moved when collectors share with her their excitement for her work. “I never get tired of [hearing] this,” she says. “I want to convey my experience. When I’m painting an individual, I want to not just express a physical rendering, but get a sense of the personality and put all of that into the painting, so it’s a blending of the eye and the heart together. I’m putting down my experience; It’s a visual journal.”

Early Light 22”x28”

“Landscapes also steal my heart, I was caught up by the moment in northern California and wanted to paint this place as soon as I saw it. The way the layers of the landscape carry back to the mountains—and the trees and sky reflect in the water—captured me.”
– Ariana Richards