Steve Atkinson

Steve Atkinson

Steve Atkinson

At my very core, I’m a storyteller and I strive to infuse my paintings with those stories that excite me. Stories of the American west are always front and center. Cowboys, cattle, action scenes and moments of quiet contemplation are what I love. The authenticity of historical scenes or telling the story of today’s working cowboy is where my passion lies. It’s really all about what the painting has to say that makes it personal and unique to me. Most days I can be found in painting in my studio, but I also love to paint on location (en plein air), a practice I’ve been enthusiastic about since I started painting. Without a doubt, plein air painting is the best way I’ve found to become a better painter. Not only does it teach me about being accurate in my values, color, and atmospheric perspective, but it makes me paint through distractions like changing light, wind and curious passersby. You learn to make better decisions more quickly and to trust them. These days I make my home in Prescott, Arizona, in the very heart of the subject matter that fills my soul.
 
When I first started, I was often asked why I paint cowboys. I believe I’m not only painting a way of life that is almost gone, but also a mythology that represents America at it’s very essence. The cowboy code is based on a set of ethics that reflects the best of not only who the cowboy is, but who we are as a country. Things like, “do what has to be done”, “ride for the brand” and “live each day with courage” has helped to weave the cowboy into the very fabric of this great nation. It’s how I strive to live my life, and it’s what I aim to have shine through in the stories I tell.
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I’m proud that I’ve made my living, but also my life in Art. As long as I can remember, I’ve had a sketchbook in my hands, surrounding myself in nature and drawing the world around me. Growing up in a steel town in Eastern Ohio, I knew even then that I would make my home in the American West as an artist. I attended Kent State University to study fine art, but changed my major to illustration when I figured out I could support myself as an artist right out of school. For the next 25 years I made my living as an illustrator, creating images for fortune 500 companies and magazines across the US. It was a great career and I loved it, but always yearned to become a fine artist, making pictures that moved me and others who saw them. Along the way, I took classes and workshops from the best fine artists teaching today, and in 2008, realized my dream to become a full time fine artist.
 
I’m a signature member of the Oil Painters of America and have won numerous awards including a Silver Medal and “Award of Excellence” from the Oil Painters of America, the “John Steven Jones Award” at the Bosque Conservatory and the “Best in Show” from the Artists of the American West 2013 exhibit at the Pearce Museum in Corsicana Texas. You can find my work in collections across the United States and Europe. I am proud and honored to be represented by Illume Gallery of Fine Art.
 
Awards & Honors
  • Silver Medal, Western Regional Oil Painters of America, 2017
  • Award of Excellence from Western Art Collector Magazine, Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, 2017
  • Second place in watercolor, Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, 2017
  • Group exhibit with Tucson Museum of Art, The New Westward: Trains, Planes and Automobiles that Move the Modern West, 2016
  • Phippen Foundation Award, Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, 2016
  • Best of Show Theme, Traveling the West Show & Sale, Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX, 2015
  • Featured Artist for Traveling the West Show & Sale, Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX, 2015
  • Phippen Museum Western Art Sale, Phippen Foundation Award, Prescott, AZ, 2015
  • Red Bluff Bull Sale and Western Art Show and Sale, 2nd place in Painting, Red Bluff, CA, 2015
  • Art of the West, Award of Excellence, Phippen Museum of Western Art Memorial Weekend Art Show and Sale, 2014
  • Pearce Museum, Best in Show, Corsicana, TX, 2013
  • Pearce Museum Western Artists of America show and sale, Bronze Medal, Corsicana, TX, 2012
  • Raymar Art Competition, Finalist, Phoenix, AZ, 2010
  • Paint the Parks Competition and Show, Award of Excellence, Top 100, Region 2 Winner, Washington, DC, 2010
  • Outdoor Painter Society, Plein Air Southwest Show, Award of Excellence, Dallas, TX, 2009
  • Primavera Juried Show, Award of Excellence, Plymouth, MN, 2008, 2007, 2006
  • Bosque Conservatory Art Classic, John Steven Jones Purchase Award, Clifton, TX, 2007
  • Bosque Conservatory Art Classic, Second Place in Oil Painting, Clifton, TX, 2007
  • Bosque Conservatory Art Classic, First Place Dry Media, Clifton, TX, 2007
  • Breckenridge Fine Arts Center, 15th Annual Juried Show, Best in Show, Honorable Mention, TX, 2006
  • Oil Painters of America National Show, Award of Excellence, Crystal Lake, IL, 2006