Mark Keathley (born 1963) grew up on the family farm in East Texas and loved romping through the woods and across open fields. He spent most of his spare time outside chasing lizards, and trying to catch that illusive grand-daddy large mouth bass. It was here, in this environment, where he first spied his mother’s oil painting box in the attic of his country home. He had drawn pictures voraciously since age five, but the paints offered a new challenge that he thought he was up for at age eleven. After a very disappointing start, he didn’t give up, and continued trying, often painting well into the night as a teen. He later attended a small one man show put on for a friend in his college art class and saw, for the first time, someone selling artwork. He was nineteen, then, and this was all it took. His renewed interest in painting and determination to learn more, kept him busy twelve to fourteen hours a day, six days a week, and within a year found that many folks were beginning to collect his work. “You’re so young!” they would say, for he was twenty or so, and his career had begun. In the early 1990’s, he entered a couple of paintings in the Cheyenne, Wyoming “Old West Museum Show” and won a couple of awards for his work. He also attended the “Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Art Show” in Waco Texas and twice won the “Popular Vote Award” for a couple of his pieces two years in a row. Everywhere he has gone, he has found great acceptance for his work, and his paintings hang in many homes around the world. His favorite collectors are those who see his work, and want to take it home because it causes them to be still and rest. “We are too busy these days,” he says, speaking about our need to slow down, sit a while, and think about life. Our kids are growing up alone, our schedules are jammed full, and there is no time to contemplate what life should be about. “I want my paintings to inspire people to be still, to listen to that quiet voice, and then rise up assured that they are a part of something bigger than their schedule.” Mark’s paintings do just that. He is able to capture that perfect moment that you might experience on a hike through the mountains when a majestic elk might come out for an unforgettable experience; or even imortalize on canvas a moment in time when the light, the water, and the gentle involvement of a man and his horse all come together in a masterful composition. Mark uses his gifts blending bold strokes, amazing color, soul stirring light, and even some fine detail to bring your focus to the "point" of the painting -- allowing you to experience the emotion of the moment. This is where he wants you to stay - not admiring his ability, but rather inspired to live.
In these two photos you can see what a little "sitting back" and "creating a vision" in your mind can turn into. Above he started with a bit of painting with a cotton rag, and then pulled over 30 photos together to help fill in the gaps. "It is very fulfilling to see it work out!" He says. "Sometimes they just fall together, and sometimes you have to work harder at it." Please read my artist statement at the bottom of the home page.