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Santa Fe Trail Impressions

Figure Paintings

Santa Fe Trail Map

Traveling the Santa Fe Trail

In 2012 I took a trip on the Santa Fe Trail. I started in Overland Park, KS  where ruts from the trail can still be seen to the end of the trail at the Church in the downtown square in Santa Fe, NM. I took the Northern Mountain Branch Trail out and the Southern Cimmaron Cutoff back. The settlers had a much flatter route to the south, but the mountains were much more scenic. I took reference photos as the trip was limited in time so I could not stop and paint. I reconstructed the images and made impressionistic paintings relying on my memory of the color and vast space of the trip when I got home in my studio. The color in New Mexico is very soft and pastel. At one point in the trip I had to get out of the car just to touch the hazy view out my window to see if it wasn't a painting. No oil pigment can  match the color I extended my hand into, it was unlike anything I ever saw in nature. But it was also a most desolate traveling of a hundred miles and not seeing anything but the dry land.

Painting the Trail

I took photographs for reference  during the trip through Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. My trip was on highways near the original trail. When I returned I began painting the routes I traveled  now 142 years after the trail was closed.  I relied on my photos and memory to make the paintings. I also took liberty to impose my own thoughts about the scenes to record my impressions. The paintings are done in a way to enhance and preserve the emotions of the trip. The paintings are more commentary about what life is like now. I am not finished making paintings. This is just two years of work so far.

David Cooper, of Olathe, Kansas, has been painting the life and scenes around him on for 30 years. His paintings vary reflecting a variety of interests. He has been participating in Kansas City Area plein air events and juried shows for the last twelve years, Hidden Glen Art Festival, Stems, Brush Creek Art Walk, Parkville and other group activities. His art is a unique visual experience recording his environment and our way of life on canvas.

Painting in open air demands quick thinking and fast painting to capture the scene before the light changes. Color abounds in his paintings setting the dramatic recording of 20 minutes of lighting. He captures the moment of light masterfully combining and mixing colors to record a relatively short passage of time. His colorful work is created with small brush strokes overlaying layers of wet paint to create texture and depth, giving a relief effect. Using complementary colors he creates vibration and energy in his work. His humor surfaces at times as he weaves subtle sarcasm into the scene he is painting.

Cooper’s paintings tend to vary in style based on the subject matter and material they are painted on. He views the world around him in a cheerful and colorful way and records a story of our landscape and social activities that are taken for granted and passed by unnoticed. Some of his work has been likened to Edward Hopper, Claude Monet, Maurice Prendergrast, and Vincent Van Gogh.

His artwork, originals and prints are listed internationally on line and can be purchased by visiting www.saatchiart.com.  In the search box type in David Cooper and in the scroll down box next to it change to Artist. The director of Saatchi Gallery in London, England, Rebecca Wilson, has recognized his work several times by including his art in special themed collections. Cooper's art has been showcased many times and featured in the websites headers.

 

 

 

 

"Somewhere between reality and expression, contemporary and realism lives my work. I strive to record momentary impulses of the world around me. I never know what my paintings will look like when I start. They begin to take on characteristics that were not intended at the outset as they develop. I am a messy painter and sometimes careless making mistakes, but mistakes are the best things about painting. Color and shape become more important than perspective. Therefore I have several styles depending on the path my impulses take me. I experiment with different materials and techniques. I use the strokes of the brush to help convey a feeling of the energy within the scene I am painting. The work becomes pure emotion. I participate in several plein air events per year and enjoy the challenge of selecting subject matter and competing in juried shows.  When I was a child I aspired to paint the most beautiful painting in the world. Now I aspire to expressing my moods and emotions in painting with the naivety of a child. "

 

 

Education

BFA Kansas City Art Institute.

Group Shows:

Mid America Art Alliance, KC MO

Rice Gallery, Leawood KS

Kansas City Art Institute

University of Missouri at Kansas City

Bruce R Watkins Gallery, KC MO

Overland Park Art Center

Rivers Bend Gallery, Parkville MO

Stems Plein Air Event Johnson County Botanical Gardens

KC Fountains Plein Air Event and Auction

Parkville in Art

Scenes of Olathe Art Walk

Brush Creek Art Walk

Hidden Glenn Art Festival

First Fridays, Crossroads, Kansas City, MO

Starbucks, Olathe KS, individual show

Albrecht-Kemper Museum, St. Joseph, MO

Cathy Kline Art Gallery, Parkville, MO

Northland Eposure Artists' Gallery, Weston, MO

Symphony in the Flint Hills, Cottonwood Falls, MO

Buttonwood Art Space, Kansas City, MO

Saatchiart.com international on line gallery, London, England

 

Single Show

University Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO

 

 

 

Contact David by sending an email to:

2667cooper@gmail.com