Atkinson’s career as an illustrator of 25 years has served him well in his transition to fine artist and full-time painter. But, as an illustrator, something was missing. “Painting has opened up a whole new world to me. Now I’m able to capture moments of the things that matter to me. It’s all about the story and emotion behind the painting. In this country, there is no better example of the American Spirit than the cowboy and the others who tamed the West. My paintings are a tribute to those men and women, past and present. There is something timeless about them. In many remote ranches, the way they do things now, isn’t terribly different from how they got done more than a hundred and thirty years ago. To me, good painting has always been as much about how the artist paints, as it is about the painting’s message.”
Atkinson lives in Arizona with his wife Ann, where he finds endless inspiration in the Western landscape.
Recent Awards and Honors
2022- First in Watercolor, Third in Drawing at the Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale
2021- Best Body of Work, First in Drawing, First in Watercolor at the Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, Published in International Artist Magazine December 2020/January 2021
2020- Commissioned by Penguin Random House for six western book covers, 2019-2020
2019- Juror of Awards, Oil Painters of America, Online Showcase, December 2019
Second place in watercolor, second place in Oil at the Prescott Western Heritage Foundation award, Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, 2019, Award of Excellence in Portraiture, Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, 2019
2018- Juror of Awards, Bold Brush Competition, First place in watercolor at the Phippen Museum Western Art Show & Sale
2017- Silver Medal at the Western Regional Oil Painters of America
Award of Excellence from Western Art Collector Magazine and Second place in watercolor at the Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale
Exhibits & Shows
Bosque Art Center, Clifton, TX
Illume Gallery West, Philipsburg, MT
Mountain Oyster Club Western Art Show & Sale, Tucson, AZ
Oil Painters of America, National and Regional shows
Paint the Parks Competition and Show
Pearce Museum, Corsicana, TX
Phippen Museum of Western Art & Heritage, Prescott, Arizona Salmagundi Club, NYC
Trailside Galleries, featured artist for Traveling the West, Dallas, TX
At my very core, Im 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 todays working cowboy is essential to my work. Its really all about what the painting has to say that makes it personal and unique. Most days I can be found in painting in my studio, but I also love to paint en plein air. Since 2009, I have made my home in Prescott, Arizona, in the very heart of the subject matter that fills my soul.
Im proud that Ive made my living, but also my life in Art. As long as I can remember, Ive had a sketchbook in my hands, surrounding myself in nature and drawing the world around me. Growing up in an Ohio steel town, 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 through art, 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. Today, my work is found in collections throughout the United States and Europe.