Josh Elliott was raised to appreciate art. A third generation artist, his grandfather studied with Grant Wood and dabbled in all sorts of artistic pursuits. His father, wildlife artist Steve Elliott, gave up a successful career as an ER doctor to become a full-time artist. Josh learned the importance of painting from life and discovered his passion for painting outdoors. He sees his outdoor paintings as a reaction to what is in front of him, and feels they are an exercise to sharpen his skills. He considers his studio paintings as a culmination of everything he has learned from painting outdoors, combined with his own artistic interpretation.
Claggett/Rey Gallery in Vail is currently hosting a one-man exhibition of Josh's works from his travels to Kia Ora New Zealand. The show will hang through April 15.
Born in Montana in 1973, Josh lived out of state for some time but always felt a deep connection with its landscape and people.
"A good painting, to me, is nature's truth filtered through the artist," Josh said.
Josh, along with his wife Allison and their two daughters, traveled to New Zealand for three weeks in April 2011. They explored the northern part of the North Island, a subtropical paradise of turquoise ocean water and white sandy beaches. The vegetation is unique and abundant. They saw ancient Kauri trees, ate fejoas, passion fruit and figs. They took a boat to Poor Knights Islands, once a Maori stronghold and now a marine reserve, for a day of snorkeling. The trip was the inspiration for the multi panel painting, "Poor Knights Islands," featured in this show.
"'Poor Knights Islands' is a wonderful example of Josh's creativity and talent," said Laura Wolf of Claggett/Rey Gallery. "He has chosen four scenes from the area, including one underwater scene, which is a challenge to paint, and captured the sunlight, turquoise waters and natural beauty. For the framing, he has had incredible custom frames made using ancient Kauri wood, native to New Zealand, and inlaid abalone. The frames are extraordinary pieces of art, as well."
Next, the Elliott's traveled to the South Island with its breathtaking National Parks and massive mountains and glaciers. While many beautiful areas were easily accessible, much of the land remains untouched.
"It was an absolutely inspiring and wonderful trip and I could spend a lot more time there exploring and painting," Josh said of his experience.
For more information, call 970-476-9350 or visit claggettrey.com to view the paintings online. The gallery is located at 100 East Meadow Drive.