The love I have for my art began when I was very young. I spent many hours copying the paintings and drawings in my Grandfather's studio. At age 10, my first job as a budding artist was at church drawing biblical scenes in colored chalk on a large blackboard for the Pastor's sermons.
I studied art in high school and throughout my years in the Air Force. In the California Division of Forestry I continued to have a strong interest in art. I decided to attend Monterey Peninsula College, Art Center College of Design, and California State University Fullerton to achieve my goal of doing fine arts.
In 1965 I began my full time career in art with the intention that whatever subject I chose to paint would be an honest portrayal and, at the same time, a challenge to myself in the pursuit of creative vision and originality.
1st Purchase Award, "Prospectus, CA 1970
3rd Award, California Exposition 1974
2nd Award, City of Paramount Fine Arts Commission, CA 1980
Finalist, The Portrait Institute, NY, 1983
Certificate of Excellence, California Art Club, 90th Gold Medal Exhibition, 2000
2nd Award, Capistrano Valley Conservancy, CA 2006
3rd Award, Capistrano Valley Conservancy, CA 2007
Lunimaire Award, Casa Romantica, CA, 2007
Top 100 Award of Excellence, Paint America, Coutts Museum, Kansas, 2009
Bronze Medal, San Dimas Art Festival, 2010
Top 100 Award Of Excellence, Paint the Parks, Coutts Museu, Cm, Kansas, 2012
Echos & Visions, Costa Mesa, CA
Paint The Towne, Orange, CA
Chapman University, Orange, CA
Anaheim Museum, Anaheim, CA
Coutts Museum, Kansas City, Kansas
Long Beach Museum, Long Beach, CA
Pasadena Museum of California Art,
San Dimas Art Festival, San Dimas, CA
San Bernardino County Museum, CA
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA: In 2003 the museum began a permanent collection of Plein Air Paintings by Living Artists. My painting of downtown Santa Ana was among the first paintings selected to open this collection.
North Light Books
The Art Lovers Cookbook
Santa Monica, a pictorial book by Jeffrey Crussell
Chapman University, Orange, CA, 1990 - Taught graduate semester art class
Numerous Seminars and Workshops
Ron & Margene Armstrong
Kurt & Michelle Doerfler
Ed & Lori Freddette
Richard & Ruth Graff
Dan & Jackie Hare
Richard & Cathy Hubbell
Geoffrey & Susan Le Plastrier
Anthony & Susan Mack
Dave & Lynn Rahn
Bradley & Tamara Scott
David & Ruth Seigle
Joan Irvine Smith
Dr. Gary & Sue Stewart
Jim & Allison Vaughan
Bob & Anita Zantos
Bruce's Personal Statement
"It has been a wonderful privilege to be able to follow my dream of being an artist for 50+ years. The child within me still keeps me enthused to continue experiencing the challenges and excitement of painting right up to the end."
No website about me would be complete without my wife, Caroline. Caroline handles most of the business and all of our meetings, keeping us focused.
Over the years she has been very understanding about my other "sweetheart", my 1940 Chevy Coupe and the time I spend on her; Caroline also digs right in to help me!
Her mother was a good artist and she often took her children to museums and galleries. Caroline grew up in Santa Ana, California and spent most of her youth doing as many of the things she loved as possible; dancing, swimming and many sports. Her family went camping every summer in Yosemite and hiked and backpacked into the high country on many occasions. Caroline's childhood experiences are invaluable to me.
Some people are simply meant to be together and we do everything together.
I do both studio and plein air painting.
On Selecting a Location
A painting location is selected by deliberation, inspection and inspiration. The first thing I look for is a first impression of how I feel when I scan an area. My best barometer of this is a level of excitement that makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. Next is how special a place feels and that it speaks to me. When I do get to an area that I want to paint, I stop, get out, calm myself, take in the area very slowly and get an artist's feeling for it by letting it soak in. I find the balance, ambiance, and a sense of history.
My paint box is one I made about 30 years ago; clunky but functional - a simple and quick setup.
I generally use a 16 x 20 canvas and after I'm set up, I don't paint for a while. I take in the area again with a critical eye to capture a feeling. I equate this to watching a pretty woman showing off a new dress for me. Using hearing, touch, and smell, I intimately acquaint myself with the scene. Listening to the wind whispering through the canyons, rocks, trees, and the scraping of the twigs helps me understand the weathering of an area. It gives me a sense of it's character, which is what I try to portray, paying homage to what is before me. I get an inspirational kick and then quickly make a pencil sketch on the canvas, keeping it simple to allow creativity. Often, I find that it is nature itself that is doing the thinking for me. I forget time and all other matters as I enter the relationship that I have formed with a scene.
As an artist I feel that I can only give an imperfect version of nature. She is so powerful in her subtlety and nuances of colors. All I can do is to just keep trying.
I traveled through parts of the Southwest many years ago and I have always known I would return to paint there. Most of the places that I visited with my wife, Caroline, were so vast and uncomplicated (without man's encroachment) that we both felt as though we had stepped back in time.
One such place is Valley of The Gods in Utah. It moved me deeply with it's pristine and spiritual feeling; a sense of timelessness and ancient history. Beautiful tree-lined arroyos and towering monoliths silhouetted against the sky amid vivid shattered vermilion rocks, all surrounded by subtle shades of blues, greens and soft grays.
Early in the morning we drove into Valley of the Gods and I became enthralled. I began savoring the anticipation of what it was going to be like to do a painting in this beautiful place. I could see a great distance and yet there was a sense of intimacy. The view was so overpowering that I didn't know where to start. We drove all the way through the valley and back toward the middle where I pulled over on a large swale, got set up, and began a painting of a distant plateau. My intention was to portray the "scope" of the scene before me rather than a closer, more intimate scene in order to acquaint myself more fully with the location. The light quality is quite different from where I live. It is so crystal clear that it gives an intensity to the colors of the rock strata, the sandy soil and the plants. It really sharpened my pallet. The environment spoke to me to paint with an intensity of colors that I had never applied before.
Sierra Nevada Range
My father took me camping in the Alabama Hills when I was 10 years old. What a wonderful place for a boy to wander. There was a movie set still there in which I played Roy Rogers for most of a day. So it was with great expectations that I arrived years later to walk among those huge granite boulders and the trails and plants that gain a foothold in the most unlikely places. All this has the backdrop of the Sierra Nevadas as they appear to come straight out of the ground like a wall.
We arrived in the Alabama Hills close to 4:30 p.m. with my painting gear. I was facing west to catch the sunset light and color, which faded very quickly on the Sierras and the boulders before me. My challenge here was to be accurate in my scale of the mountains on a small canvas while the nearby boulders also contrive to overpower the size of them. I began laying in the mountains. They would have to look powerful and at the same time they have to be softened somewhat to enhance their distance so I gave them definition without detail. For the boulders in the foreground I would have to indicate a lot of textural effect and careful detailing of the strata. Sometimes I must be part geologist as well as being the artist. In the end it all came together.