Sunlight, Snow, Red Rocks and Desert
Bud Heiss Landscapes Exhibited March 2016

Gilbert landscape painter Bud Heiss has a signature style - perhaps best described as Sonoran Desert realism -- and the pieces he creates lean towards greens, browns and desert tones. Heiss captures the sweeping lines of desert trees such as palo verde, crucifixion thorn and mesquite in a way that will be immediately familiar to anyone who hikes the Peralta Trail or elsewhere in the Superstitions, trails into the depths of the Grand Canyon - and our Main Trail here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Works by the artist were exhibited here during March, 2016.
To contact the artist about purchases email Bud at:
or call 602-616-6895
Ask our gift shop staff which gallery shows have received the most acclaim in recent years and they'll tell you that visitors still ask to see works by this Gilbert painter and Friends-of-the-Arboretum annual member.. Viewers should expect to find familiar views from around the gardens and trails: the High Trail and Queen Creek are among places which catch this artist's eye. New this year, look for winter scenes of the Superstitions, Four Peaks, the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
"Five years ago the extent of my Arizona subject matter was a few paintings of the Grand Canyon. Now the Canyon is one of a few special areas that inspire my art work, along with the Superstition Mountains, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Sedona and Four Peaks. Painting these areas - and the subject matter that I choose - have brought me to investigate light and shadow in much more depth, leading to understanding and using color in new ways," said Heiss.
His Arizona inspired landscape paintings all have that feel of a familiar, recognizable place to anyone that has visited those spots. “ I’m particularly passionate this year to paint a series of scenes from Sedona. This past December I went to Sedona to deliver new paintings to my gallery there (Mountain Trails). There was a light snow falling and the temperature hovered around freezing all day. Around 4pm the clouds began breaking up, creating pockets of light scattered here and there on the snow dusted Red Rock formations. Some clouds were settled in the low lying areas and the mountains became islands of color above the clouds. The scene was dramatic variety – soft clouds playing against jagged rock formations, brightly colored mountains playing against neutral grey clouds, and everywhere was truly beautiful light and shadow”.
"It’s all about the light," says Bud, "nearly all of my paintings are studies of light and shadow. Many artists talk about using light in their work but I often use light as one of the main subjects in my landscape paintings. I am always on the lookout for new and challenging effects of light in the landscape art that I have become known for. If the light in a scene doesn’t excite me, there’s no reason to paint it."
Most of his paintings depict scenes in early morning or late afternoon when the light is a warm color and the shadows are moving quickly. Because he prefers to paint these fleeting moments, he usually works from photographs that he has taken. His photos, however, are merely a point of departure, good for inspiration. Each painting takes on a life of it's own, often going far beyond the original inspiration.
" My painting style is impressionistic realism – a fancy way of saying that the work is realistic but not photographic. I strive to capture a specific scene at a particular time of day, usually late afternoon or early morning when shadows are distinct and the light becomes golden in color. My paintings reflect the drama and mystery at those times of day with shadow areas set off by brighter sunlit passages.
“I paint because creating is a natural part of me. I started drawing at a very young age but was never satisfied with stick figures -- I always attempted to represent the world as I saw it and in college I was finally able to achieve a high level of realism. During college I specialized in watercolor and after graduating I took up pastels, which taught me about using more expressive colors. Then came acrylics and oils, where I found my true passion for painting.”
"My paintings are both a representation of the physical world and a reflection of my inner self. An idealized reality if you will." Most of his works have many elements that are entirely invented. "Painting is all about relationships. Just like life. The number of relationships to consider within a painting , both visual and psychological, is mind boggling. I'll move things around, invent a tree here, deepen a shadow there, move an area forward, always considering the subtle changes in relationships as I make these adjustments."
You may have encountered Heiss creating one of his special moments on canvas while hiking along the High Trail. Or perhaps you noticed his unique style and imagery in other collections that have been on display within the Arboretum Gallery.
Heiss studied at Kansas City Art Institute and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska before continuing his education at Loveland Academy of Fine Art in Colorado. His work has won many regional and national awards. Recent accomplishments include being represented by Mountain Trails gallery in Sedona and exhibiting two paintings in the prestigious ‘American Miniatures” show at Settlers West gallery in Tucson alongside many of the nation’s top realist painters. To contact the artist about purchases email Bud at:
or call 602-616-6895

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