Dave Santillanes

The Brook 36x24

Grandpa's Shop 24x36 Oil

Log Jam 24x48 Oil

“My goal isn’t to render a literal representation of a scene, instead I try to convey its essence, simplifying its components without compromising its specific sense of place.”

The choice of nature as Dave’s subject matter and fundamental inspiration springs from his lifelong love of the outdoors. Growing up within minutes of the dramatic peaks, rivers, lakes, and meadows of the Rocky Mountains and the vast open expanses of the Pawnee National Grasslands, he and his family spent plenty of time camping, hiking, fishing, and bow hunting. He still looks forward to getting outside and enjoying nature: “I love painting outdoors. Although I do studio works, too, my usual approach is to use my plein-air pieces as a guide for them. Outdoor painting is meditative—and I don’t think I can do an honest landscape now without having painted on location.”

“Seeing a scene is only part of the story,” he says. “Being there creates a spiritual awareness of my surroundings that allows me to ‘speak’ with complete sincerity in each painting.”

In the past few years, Dave has netted some prestigious awards. In addition to a Judge’s Award at the Grand Canyon show and the 2010 bronze award from the Oil Painters of America, Dave has won the People’s Choice award at the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters Show, and, at the 2011 Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational, he was awarded Best of Show.

In Portfolios