A self-taught artist, Dave Santillanes began painting shortly after graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in Graphic Design. But he points to his first plein air excursions as the true beginning of his development as a painter where direct observation allowed for a more precise rendering of color, light and atmosphere. And although studying the physical aspects of nature is important, it isn’t the only reason Dave paints outdoors. He says, “the sensory experience of being there is equally important. There’s no better way to get to really know a place than to sit for a couple of hours and contemplate it while painting. This intense observation brings a spiritual intimacy with the scene that can’t be achieved in mere passing and allows me to “speak” with complete sincerity in each painting.”
Dave’s passion for painting has led to a number of recent awards including First Place in the Signature Division of the 2019 OPA Fall Showcase, 3rd Place Overall at the 8th Annual Plein Air Salon Finals, First Place in the Landscape Category at the 12th annual International ARC Salon, and the Landscape Award of Excellence at the 25th National Oil Painters of America Show. He’s also won numerous awards for his plein air work and has been featured in both Plein Air and Southwest Art Magazine.