May I Introduce Scott Christensen?

30 Apr 2011

Scott Christensen working on a large oil canvas.
Scott Christensen working on a large oil canvas.
Scott Christensen: Weekend With the Masters Instructor

Given that Scott Christensen rarely picked up a brush until his college years, some would say he came to the canvas late indeed. Yet in a sense, art was with him all along. One of the strongest memories of his Wyoming boyhood is visits with his grandfather, who, having been injured in a farm accident and confined to a wheelchair, gave himself over to painting. "What I remember best," the artist says, "is the smell of paint in that house." That, and the fact that some of the only times his grandfather was content was either in front of an easel or showing off his work to his grandson.

Christensen, whose paintings are now collected by people around the world, was reared in Lander, Wyoming, son of hardworking parents who passed on a strong commitment to excellence and dedication to athletic competition. In fact, he did not direct his focus to art until he was sidelined by a serious neck injury in college. In the year following graduation he gave up a teaching and coaching position and launched a study of the great masters of traditional art. Early on, for example, he was struck by how the Impressionists tended to sacrifice the drawing aspect of their art in order to get just the right vibration of pigment, producing works with an uncanny degree of light and atmosphere, paintings that fairly shimmered with color.

At the same time Christensen strove to figure out how best to incorporate those aspects of nature that would make his painting stronger, without becoming a slave to the scene by trying to put in everything, pushing beyond what a painting could bear. For guidance he turned to the works of Sir Alfred East and Edgar Payne, men who were extraordinarily inventive when it came to selecting and arranging the most important elements of a scene. "You have to make sacrifices," the artist explains. "Maybe you're standing in a place where the sky and the mountains are very dramatic, the trees have incredible color, and the water is vibrant. You have to decide what you want your painting to be about, render that element most important, and then paint everything else to support it."   

Christensen currently resides in Victor, Idaho, where he holds two annual workshops in his new craftsman-style studio and elegant exhibition space. He has exhibited with major museums and important organizations throughout the country, won several awards through those and other organizations, published instructional books and DVDs—including The Art of Scott Christensen: On Distant Ground and The Nature of Light—and been featured in numerous art publications. He sells his work independently through his own studio. For more information on Christensen, visit his website For acquisition inquiries or to visit Christensen’s studio and exhibition space, contact Kristie Grigg at (307) 690-2001 or e-mail her at

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