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Matt Atkinson

My traditional realist paintings portray the American west from days gone by to present, and in particular the images of the men and women who preserve its heritage. From old-timer saddle makers to master violin carvers to Indian elders and warriors (both living and historical), my work honors the preservation of culture.
That is why I combine traditional paints with earth pigments made by hand, using natural non-­‐toxic colors collected from minerals and soils throughout the world. These are the same pigments that ancient artists once used to paint cave walls, and to make Native American face paint. Each painting literally has nature within it, and is my response to something beautiful in the world.

In every painting, I also use the brushes and paints that I inherited from my grandmother, a wise and compassionate elder. The brushes in the vase beside her easel still had paint on them, waiting for her to return to them, when she passed. Using them on every canvas connects my art with that heritage.

I use art to express respectful, reverent, and positive relationships between humankind and the natural, wild world.

The Challenge_edited
Sunset Rider
Prospecting the San Juans
Elk Stream
Overlooking the Valley
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Mining town Modiste
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