Rusty Walker, Artist exclusively with Gallery Andrea, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Edward D. “Rusty” Walker
I am inspired by a compulsion to paint, as a means to express the visual world in the optimistic way in which I see it. My work is unique because I developed my style through painting on location and making a statement in color light and shade, which over time developed my unique style and vision- my own perspective. Although I am a probably a hopeless romantic, I prefer subjects that are real in today's world. I also don't see a cynical world. I see a world full of the color, excitement, character and potential beauty to paint for humanity. Much of my work is painted on location, and those are rather direct, strong in contrast and expressive color. I try to convey as much as possible with each stroke of the brush with minimal over painting. I don’t try for realism, as much as my own expression of a scene or the character of a person. I rely more on the image sustained in my mind's eye through what I call, subjective realism, related to impressionism and expressionism. The translation of experience into art takes place for me when I can capture a quality of spontaneity and simplicity of statement. My wide range of subject matter is due to my on-location (plein air) painting from trips and studio work, attempting to see the world around me to reflect timeless truths
The Story of a Visual Artist: Rusty Walker b.1946-:
Walker has traveled all over the world in his youth and continued traveling for his painting subjects for many years. Born in a small town south of Chicago, Danville , Illinois, he subsequently lived in Texas, Okinawa, South Carolina, Australia, Nebraska,
Inspiration to become an artist:
Walker's commitment to being an artist began when, at thirteen years of age, in a stop over in San Francisco on the way to Okinawa in 1959, he witnessed an artist painting on location and was forever fascinated. Walker states that, “I often wonder who that artist was. It may have been George Post. From that time on I was determined to be an full-time painter, committed to translating my visual experiences into art.”
Walker's mother is Australian, and was a WWII war bride, and so when Walker’s father retired from the military in 1962, the family sojourned in Australia and Rusty spent the next four years going to art college. He painted watercolors and oil landscapes of the indigenous ghost gums on location in Australia. “I sketched the laughing kookaburras outside my window. I painted in the Botanical Gardens across from the college and endured the alarming charge of black swans and swooping magpies, with their sour dispositions, one encounters along the Brisbane River.” From his time in Australia and even now, he combined his passion for the visual arts and music. The four years of his undergraduate work was also spent playing in music bands up and down the gold coast with his guitar and blues harmonica, going to school and hanging out with local musicians that included one of the Bee Gees. He subsequently graduated from the Queensland Institute of Technology (now the Queensland University of Technology) in Brisbane, Australia and later graduate studies in the United States. But, Walker cites his real education in art were from the artists he met along the way. His mentor-friendship with California Watercolorists Millard Sheet and Donald Teague, as well as Jade Fon, influenced his early development. The masters he most admires are John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, as well as the American, California, and French Impressionists, and the early Taos Artists.
Artist in the Military
Walker was an Artist/Illustrator for the Strategic Air Command Headquarters (SAC) at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, 1967-1971. “This was during the Viet Nam war and it was surreal to play music as a musician in the evening, and after a gig go sleep for a few hours, and then put on a Class A uniform, go to work at SAC headquarters at 3AM, in crazy Nebraska weather. I started out as the director/illustrator at Data Systems Center, but then, transferred down seven floors under ground to work in a vault on top secret illustrations. I would come in at 3AM to draw and paint top secret charts, graphs, text, and artist’s interpretations. The work consisted of various reconnaissance and war activity in Southeast Asia for the the captain to deliver 9AM sharp to the admirals and general staff who were conducting the SAC B52 bomber components of the undeclared war. The general staff included Fighter General Joseph J. Nazarro, and in 1968, Bomber General Bruce K. Holloway. The briefings concerned sorties over various targets, SAM and MiG activity, and other top secret reconnaissance and information, now declassified. I held a top secret, "R" prefix, "need to know" clearance. Great experience. By the time I was honorably discharged from the Air Force January 1971, I was ready to do nothing but paint. So, I started at the bottom. Street artist. I even sold my work door to door at times.”
San Francisco Street artist 1971-1974:
Walker began his fine art career in January 1971 by painting watercolors and largeoils all onlocation (Plein Air) in and around the San Francisco BayArea, Monterey, and the north coast.
Gallery artist, awards, one man shows and museums
From 1971 to 1985 Walker was a full-time artist, and later in Arizona until 1989, supporting his wife, daughters, Melody and Elly, and son, Hunter, on his art. In California and Arizona he become a nationally known artist, winning awards at the American Watercolor Society and National Watercolor Society and exhibiting his oils and watercolors nationally in museums and galleries.
His work is mostly on-location and also studio work for larger oils and watercolors.
A wide range of subjects interest him including local landscapes, coastal seascapes, and the Native American culture, Taos and the Native American culture of four corners. “I started painting the Pueblo Indians and Navajos that I met on location and at the Native American Ceremonies, like the dramatic Deer Dance.
This subsequent success allowed he and his family to travel to Mexico, Europe and Morocco to expand his painting concepts. Walker has many location stories to relate, such as being surrounded by Berbers in Morocco, the risks of painting on steep slopes, in train yards and shipping docks, and painting in inclement weather.
Rusty is the author of the book, Transparent Watercolor, Writer's Digest/Teaching and Art Education
While still an active painter, Walker began teaching workshops for Hewitt Painting Seminars, and Asilomar workshops and various art associations. This passion for teaching eventually led to full time teaching, then Director of Education, and Vice President/ Provost at what is now, Collins College in Tempe, Arizona. In 2007 Arizona Governor Napolitano appointed him a Commissioner on the Arizona Commission for
Post Secondary Education. Walker retired from the education world for good and returned to his first passion of full time painting in October 2007.
Full time artist
Walker is currently a full time artist and is working on paintings from his world trips that feature the wide range of subjects that he prefers to paint: figures; animals, in particular, horses, cats and dogs; landscapes; portraits; boat scenes and seascapes; nightscapes, all ranging from European to concepts throughout the United States
Walker's biographical information has been listed in Who's Who in American Art since 1980, Excerpt follows:
Some of the awards and honors that he has attained include the following: American Watercolor Society, Emily Lowe Award, 1977; National Watercolor Society Traveling Show; Art and the Law, national exhibition, 1983, West Publishing company, and illustration in Encyclopedia of American Law; Leslie Levy Publishers: Posters.
Permanent Collections: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, S.F. CA: 30x22 watercolor vertical: San Francisco Hillside Painting; Frye Museum, Seattle, WA, California collections:
Author, Transparent Watercolor, Writer’s Digest, 1985; Featured publications: in Southwest Art magazine, July,1980, American Artist, magazine, October 1980. Publication, the book: Contemporary American Artists, Southwest Artist publishers.
Medium: Oils and Watercolors.
Some noteworthy oil painting collections: President Gerald R. Ford collections; Betty Ford Treatment Center, Alta Bates Hospital; portrait of past president, Robert Montgomery. Bart Starr, former quarterback for Green Bay Packers; Dr. Jan Rosenquist, Midnight Mustangs, and many more.
Walker’s style has been referred to as: impressionism, expressive realism, and colorist. He refers to his work as “subjective realism.”
Walker shows exclusively with Gallery Andrea in Scottsdale, Arizona.