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 Don Stinson  (1956 - )

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Lived/Active: Colorado/Texas      Known for: western landscape painting-environmental themes

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Focused on geological and human-made changes on western landscapes, Don Stinson paints oil and watercolor scenes including panoramic vistas, icy waterfalls and abandoned buildings.  He believes the cycles of change are more obvious in the West because the topography is so obvious.  "They're right at the juncture of the information age and the mechanical age." (105)

Stinson was born in Amarillo, Texas, to a family that moved to Littleton, Colorado when he was five years old.  From that time, his childhood was spent going back and forth between those states.  His father was a petroleum geologist who influenced his son's interest and respect for landscape.

Don Stinson studied at Colorado State University, and in the summers worked on oil rigs in Colorado and Wyoming.  After earning his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts, he enrolled in the Museum School of the Boston Museum because he wanted to learn about eastern influence on American art.  At that time, he was doing figurative work and was also much taken with the painting of marine artist Fitz Hugh Lane, whose work he saw at the Cape Ann Historical Museum in Gloucester.  However, Stinson became increasingly interested in landscape subjects, especially after visits to the National Gallery in Washington DC where he was fascinated by the work of Thomas Moran and the impact Moran's painting had on people's desire to preserve the beauty of the areas he depicted.

In the 1980s, Stinson worked as an art framer and Federal Express driver, and moved with his wife back to Colorado.  He became increasingly focused on environmental issues as they impacted western landscapes, and many of his paintings are of less attractive views such as drive-in fast food places, filling stations, abandoned farms, etc.  He intends his paintings to be commentaries on the realities of the time and place and tries to avoid sentimentality and nostalgia.  He sometimes paints in his studio from on-site photographs or watercolor sketches, and has completed a series of large-scale diptychs and triptychs from a wind-farm he found in Llano Estacado in Texas.  Of this project, he says:  "You need these huge horizontal triptychs to give the feel of what's there.  To give people the sense of all the different ecologies at work, too---the grasslands, the drainage areas, the crops.  All that." (105)

Devon Jackson, "Remains of the Day", Southwest Art, September 2006, pp. 102-105

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