Santillanes, Dave

Santillanes, Dave

Dave Santillanes
Born 1972 in Loveland, Colorado; lives in Fort Collins, Colorado

The San Luis Valley
2021, oil, 18 x 36 inches

My goal with each piece is not a literal rendering of the scene. Instead, it is to capture and convey its essence. In terms of composition, I look for simplicity. I’ve found that there are many opportunities to simplify a scene without compromising its sense of “place.” Therefore, I’ll seek out the big abstract shapes in the landscape and use them for the underlying design concept. And because I’ve departed from a literal interpretation, I’m free to rearrange elements to fit this concept. In this way, I am able to describe the scene in my own “words.”

A NATIVE OF COLORADO, Dave Santillanes grew up at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Early family trips into the mountains fostered a deep love and appreciation for the wilderness and probably influenced his later preference for outdoor work, such as wildland firefighting, trail building and working on a ski mountain. After graduating from Colorado State University with a BFA in graphic design, Dave found work as a Digital Imaging Technician and also began to focus his artistic energy on oil painting. These early explorations into oil painting quickly merged with his love of the outdoors and, naturally, oil paint and a field easel became part of his outdoor gear. His explorations into painting and the wilderness continue.

A self-taught artist, Dave points to his first plein air painting excursions as the true beginning of his development as a painter – where direct observation allowed for a more precise rendering of color, light and atmosphere. And although studying the physical aspects of nature is important, it isn’t the only reason Dave paints outdoors. He says, “the sensory experience of being there is equally important. There’s no better way to really get to know a place than to sit for a couple of hours and contemplate it while painting. This intense observation brings a spiritual intimacy with the scene that can’t be achieved in mere passing and allows me to speak with complete sincerity in each painting.”

Notable Awards and Achievements
2020     Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Artists’ Choice Award
2020     9th Annual Plein Air Salon, Finalist Awards, First Place Overall
2020     Oil Painters of America, National Show, Member’s Choice
2020     Oil Painters of America, Fall Online Showcase, First Place Signature Division
2019     8th Plein Air Salon, Finalist Awards, Third Place Overall
2018 Oil Painters of America, National Show, First Place Wet Paint Competition
2018     7th Annual Plein Air Salon, Finalist Awards, Honorable Mention
2017      American Impressionist Society, 18th National Show, William Schultz Memorial Award
2016       12th International ARC Salon, First Place, Landscape Category
2016       25th National Oil Painters of America National, Landscape Award of Excellence
2011       7th Annual Sedona Plein Air Festival, Main Street Paintout, Best Painting
2011       Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational, Best of Show
2010      Oil Painters of America 19th National Show, Bronze Medal
2010      Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, Judges’ Award
2010      Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters National Show, People’s Choice Award
2006      Estes Park Plein Air, Artists’ Choice Award
2003      Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, Estes Park Plein Air 2003,  Award of Excellence
2003      National Parks Academy of the Arts, 17th Annual Arts for the Parks, Mini 50
2002      National Parks Academy of the Arts, 16th Annual Arts for the Parks, Top 200
2000      National Parks Academy of the Arts, 14th Annual Arts for the Parks, Grand Teton National Park Purchase    Award

Selected Publications
Art of the West
Plein Air Magazine
Southwest Art