Frank Croft (born 1952 in Denver, Colorado) is essentially a self-taught artist. Over the years he painted in his spare time, exhibiting his work in solo and group shows as early as 1984. In 1983, Croft moved to Santa Fe. Once there, he began to paint with a group of artists loosely affiliated with Eli Levin. Croft, along with Carol Mothner and David Barbero, would meet on Wednesday nights in Levin’s studio to etch, paint and discuss art. The group began as one focused on printmaking, but over the years shifted its focus to oil painting. Until recently, however, his artistic career took a back seat to his career as an art dealer. Yet, one could not have existed without the other.
Croft has dealt in the paintings of the Taos Society of Artists and Los Cinco Pintores for over twenty years. The artists of these schools, E.L. Blumenschein, E. Martin Hennings and Victor Higgins to name a few, are his main artistic inspiration. Handling paintings by these artists has given Croft a direct link to their technique and their subjects; subjects that Croft explores in his art. The unique landscape of northern New Mexico, its churches and its Native American culture, are expressed in his paintings.
The mixing of colors is an integral element of Croft’s painting. Achieving the right tone and value in his color consumes Croft long before a painting begins to take shape. His aim is to artistically match the intense light of New Mexico and how it affects the landscape.
As Croft states, “I find that in my paintings no color straight out of the tube will do justice to my sense of color. I have a certain palette that is unique to my work and then from that base of color there are an infinite number of color possibilities. Every artist of note works with a unique set of colors on their palate that is their own. It has taken a long time for me to develop this color strategy and a new color addition rarely appears. When a new color does find its way onto my palette it usually involves a tedious study to get the color the way I want it.”
Group Exhibitions:Museum Collections:
Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center – Annual Shrine Exhibition, 2005
Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM