Steve Atkinson


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.

“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 essential to my work. It’s 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.

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 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.”

Kent State University, Illustration, Kent, OH.

Selected Exhibitions
Southwest Gallery, Traveling the West, Dallas, TX
Trailside Galleries, Holiday Miniature Show, Scottsdale, AZ
Trailside Galleries, Fall Gold” Show, Jackson, WY
Trailside Galleries, Masters in Miniature Show and Sale, Jackson, WY
Trailside Galleries, Salute to Summer Show, Jackson, WY
Trailside Galleries, Western Classics Show, Scottsdale, AZ
Mountain Oyster Club Show and Sale
Trailside Galleries, 50th Anniversary Show and Sale, Jackson , WY
Pearce Museum, Artists of the American West Inaugural show and sale, Corsicana, TX
Tucson Museum of Art, Spirit of the West, Tucson, AZ
Trailside Galleries, Winter Light Show, Jackson, WY
Phippen Museum 37th Annual Western Art Show & Sale”, Prescott, AZ
Bosque Arts Center, Art Classic, Clifton, TX
Bosque Conservatory, One Man Show, Clifton TX
Trailside Galleries, New Horizons Landscape Show, Jackson, WY
Bosque Conservatory Art Classic- Winners Circle, Clifton TX
Primavera Juried Show, Minneapolis, MN
Bosque Conservatory Art, Juror of Awards- Classic, George Hallmark, Clifton, TX

Selected Press
Western Art Collector
Southwest Art

Oil Painters of America (OPA), Signature Member, Crystal Lake, IL
Artists of the American West, Founding Member, Somerville, TX
Plein Air Painters of the West (PAPW)
National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters (NAPPAP)
Outdoor Painters of Minnesota (OPM)

Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Featured Image, Prescott, AZ, 2015
Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, Art of the West Award, 2014
Pearce Museum, Best in Show, Corsicana, TX, 2013
World’s Oldest Rodeo, Poster Artist, Prescott, AZ, 2013
Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Poster Artist, Prescott, AZ, 2013
Pearce Museum Western Artists of America show and sale, Bronze Medal, Corsicana, TX, 2012
Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Poster Artist, Prescott, AZ, 2011
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, Texas 2009
Primavera Juried Show, Award of Excellence, Plymouth, MN, 2008
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
Primavera Juried Show, Award of Excellence, Plymouth, MN 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
Primavera Juried Show, Award of Excellence, Plymouth, MN, 2006
Hopkins Members Juried Show, Award of Excellence, Hopkins, MN, 2004

Artwork to be Showcased