Francis Livingston Western Art Collector June 2009

Francis Livingston: Desert Reflection

Reproduced courtesy of Western Art Collector magazine, June 2009 

Francis Livingston, Beaver Creek Waters, Oil on Panel, 11" x 14"

Francis Livingston, Beaver Creek Waters, Oil on Panel, 11" x 14" 

Francis Livingston keeps his canvases fresh by working on imagery other than Southwest. “This actually works to inspire me because I am always anxious and excited to return to Western paintings,” says the Idaho artist.

Livingston describes his new work as somewhat impressionist, with shapes and images created from smaller brushstrokes. While always trying to create color balance and harmony in his paintings, lately he has been experimenting with new color variations and trying different and more combinations of oil paint than before. Ideal examples of this latest direction resonate in Beaver Creek Waters and Amber Nearby. “They appeal to me because I was using slightly different color palette,” says Livingston. “In Amber Nearby, the brushwork has smaller strokes within a contained or outlined shape, such as a tree or mountain. Beaver Creek Waters has the light source coming from the back, not from left or right, which is something I’m experimenting with more.” The majority of Livingston’s new work contains New Mexico Native American Pueblo imagery with particular focus on Taos, Laguna, and Acoma pueblos. There also will be cowboy and fly-fishing scenes, with pieces ranging in size from 12 by 12 inches to 30 by 30 inches. Medicine Man Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will exhibit up to 20 of Livingston’s new paintings throughout June.

Francis Livingston, High Desert Light, Oil on Board, 12" x 12"

Francis Livingston, High Desert Light, Oil on Board, 12" x 12" 

“This show will have more paintings that have a warm light and color palette,” says Livingston. “That’s not to say there won’t be a variation of color treatments for collectors who prefer work using cooler colors. Many times I will change colors based solely on the fact that the last five paintings were in a certain direction and I don’t want to be redundant.”

Consistent with his past works, these pieces have a historical context to them.

Francis Livingston, Amber Nearby, oil on panel, 12" x 12"

Francis Livingston, Amber Nearby, oil on panel, 12" x 12"

“More importantly, I’ve tried to keep them somewhat timeless so the emphasis is placed on the mood, color, and paint quality and less on exactly where and when a particular scene took place,” explains Livingston, adding, “I’m tending to edit paintings more these days, so only works that come up to a certain level of finish find their way to my shows.”

"Francis Livingston's paintings are invariably compared to works by the Taos Founders. His work captures the same essence of those great masters; people are invarably surprised when I tell them he's very much alive and still has a great head of hair." - Dr. Mark Sublette, owner, Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe. 

Francis Livingston, Late Day Shadows, oil on panel, 16" x 16"

Francis Livingston, Late Day Shadows, oil on panel, 16" x 16" 

Influenced by such artists as Ernest Blumenschein, who worked on paintings until he felt the images and quality were right regardless of how long it took, Livingston constantly works and reworks a piece until he achieves perfection. The result is often an image that boasts a spontaneous feel, disguising the amount of time and energy it took to create.

“Many people who look at my paintings comment on how effortless the brushwork seems. That is a nice compliment, however often it is far from effortless or quick,” says Livingston. “Many times the smallest paintings can take the most time.”

Francis Livingston, Quiet Forest Light, oil on panel, 20" x 20"

Francis Livingston, Quiet Forest Light, oil on panel, 20" x 20"