Craig Zuger is an artist living with his family and painting the wilderness and domestic life around around their 100 acre homestead in the outrageously beautiful Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Only about 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and yet no sign of that emptiness here. I am entranced by the detail in his paintings, reflecting and dramatizing the detail of the landscape and its inhabitants. If I cannot actually be there, then in front of one of his paintings of it is where I would wish to be. And the painting captures that moment, so I need not fear its vanishing when my cellphone rings….
Here are some of his own words, and there’s much more on the slideshow and recording of my interview with him below:
“To quote Leonardo da Vinci: “Endeavor, painter, to make sure your works draw spectators to stop in admiration and delight.”
That’s what it really is all about, for me. Having been raised in a family that spent a great deal of time outdoors, I found I had a developing interest in painting the areas I loved so much. Since most of my time was spent in the high desert region of Oregon, I discovered where my inspiration was rooted. As I continue to develop as an artist, I found inspiration in the paintings of Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill and others from the Hudson River Schools 19th century painters along with contemporary works by Tucker Smith, Clyde Aspevig, Curt Walters, P.A Nisbett and so many other wonderful “western” painters. It is my fascination, and mission to face the challenge of how to capture, with paint, the landscape, as it is affected by the love I have for these extraordinary places. However, I think the most important inspiration is my wife Yolanda, who truly believes in my work and my goals as an artist and wont ever let me forget what defines me. “
He is serious, as he says in the interview, about using his work in art to rouse interest in preserving the wild and it’s life…
And another quote from the website:
The hundred acre piece of land they own is part of a cooperative project with the National Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and the American Great Outdoors Initiative developed by the Department of the Interior to connect private land owners and the national and state wildlife refuges in an effort to preserve and conserve as much wild area as possible for our future.
While assisting a friend of his with two episodes of the Oregon Public Broadcast program “Oregon Field Guide” , Craig was able to interest the producers in a segment about Oregon wildlife painters. The producers took his suggestion of nationally known wildlife artist Terry Isacc and a local water color painter Susan Bourdet, and then added Craig to the piece as an artist to watch. Craigs works are currently and exclusively represented by Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon. Craig is also a member of Oil Painters of America. Craigs love of our pristine wild places and respect for the environment has given him inspiration and a wellspring of subjects to paint. Primarily a landscape painter, Craig will often backpack miles into an area in pursuit of a painting. Animals may be included in a scene or he may choose to make the animal the main focus. Additional works can be seen at www.mockingbird-gallery.com
Some websites to visit:
Slideshows and audio of my interview with him:
Some of his art work: