Artist Curt Walters has had an impressive career painting the very complicated and difficult geology of Grand Canyon. With over 40 years of hiking trails, rafting the Colorado River and thousands of hours painting from the rim of the canyon, Curt has officially been recognized by more than one organization as being the premiere Grand Canyon artist. The dedication of grabbing an easel and brushes and heading out to paint what he sees on a daily basis helps perpetuate the title Art of the West gave him 10 years ago as one of “eight modern masters.”
Curt first visited Grand Canyon when he was 19 years old, and now, at 66 years old, he has captured almost every angle of the canyon from different times of day in every season. His technique of working on large canvases while on location has become legendary within the Plein Air community of oil painters. Many of his smaller plein air (open air or on location) studies lead to large studio paintings. Only producing two or three extra large studio paintings a year, they have become a coveted addition to art collectors and museums around the world for decades. Curt’s Grand Canyon paintings can be seen in the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK, the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, CA, The Tacoma Museum of Art, Tacoma, WA, and the National Cowboy Museum, Oklahoma, OK, just to name a few.
This month, Art of the West magazine, published by Tom Tierney and Allan Duerr, honored Curt with the title “King of the Canyon.” The 8-page article written by Vicki Stavig featured 6 of Curt’s paintings. The article talks about Curt’s recent commissioned painting for a color blind collector who was able to “see the Grand Canyon for the first time” upon seeing the painting Curt had painted with a specific value and hue which the client could see.
Also this month, Southwest Art sent Norman Kolpas for an interview with Curt. In the resulting article Curt talks about the goals in his life he’d still like to accomplish. Some of the items on his list include continuing studies of the Spanish Conquistadors discovering Grand Canyon, painting more of what truly captures his heart and to follow his instincts just as he’s done over the course of his career.
Eric Rhodes, publisher of both Plein Air Magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, said last year when introducing Curt at the Plein Air Festival in Tucson “Curt’s Grand Canyon paintings rival in quality and quantity that of Thomas Moran.”
Curt Walters: A Retrospective opened at the Museum of Northern Arizona June of 2016. After seeing this collection of his own work spanning four decades, the artist had a chance to reflect on just how many paintings he had done over the course of his life. “It makes me realize I really have done quite a bit and it humbles me to know my vision touches so many people on a daily basis.” The Retrospective show ran through November of last year and had visitors from all over the nation come to see the impressive sampling of Curt’s work. Curt has also had Retrospectives at the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK and at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, IN. During his career, Curt has also been the recipient of 20 major awards at Museum shows coast to coast.
Having a large impact on air quality and conservation of Grand Canyon for so many years in the ‘90’s, Curt has a new and exciting project he’s working on which he hopes will further that mission of environmental focus. Now on a journey to document his story, art, and travels, Curt is working on a full length documentary to help expose more people to the beauty of the Grand Canyon, explain the impact art makes on the world around us, how it has personally affected his life and the paths he took to get where he is now.
The excitement surrounding Curt’s newer projects are growing and is sure to lead to an exciting next two years. To learn more about Curt, get updates on show dates and exhibitions, and to keep up with his documentary news, please follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagra
New works by Curt are available at Trailside Galleries, Scottsdale, AZ and Nedra Mettucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM.