I’m influenced by both the French and American Impressionists as well as artists like Antonio Mancini and Nicoli Fechin, and have learned so much from so many contemporary painters.
Dan Beck is the Gold Medal recipient of the 2017 Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition. In 2016, he received three national awards: Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, American Impressionist Society National Exhibition and Oil Painters of America Eastern Reginal Exhibition. He is also the Gold Medal winner of the 2011 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition. Other awards include eight awards of excellence with Oil Painters of America (four National and four Regional).
He has also won two consecutive Raymar Art Competition Awards of Excellence, Award of Excellence with Salon International, a first place, a second place and ten finalists with Boldbrush Art competition. Dan has had feature articles in “American Art Collector”, “Southwest Art”, “American Artist”, “Art of the West” “Artists on Art” “Cape Fear Living” magazines and “Art Talk”.
His paintings were selected for the covers of November 2008 “Southwest Art” and September 2011 “Art of the West”. Dan has been invited to many nationally prominent shows such as “American Art Invitational”, “American Art in Miniature” and “Great American Figurative Show”. He has also exhibited his works in many successful solo and group shows in galleries across the country.
His paintings have found collectors in both the private and corporate world on a national level as well as from such diverse places as Canada, Japan and the Middle East. His work is in the permanent collection of the Littleton Historical Museum and he has exhibited with the Phippen Museum, Prescott, Arizona.
- Oil Painters of America (OPA) signature member
- American Impressionist Society (AIS) signature member
- Plein Air Painters of the Southeast
Awards & Invitationals:
- – OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition 2017, Gold Medal – Juried by Howard Friedland
- – American Impressionist Society 2016 National Exhibition, Award of Merit
- – OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition 2016, Award of Excellence
- – OPA National Exhibition 2016, Best Signature Award of Merit
- – OPA National Exhibition 2011, Gold Medal – Juried by Scott Christensen
- – American Impressionist Society Annual Exhibition 2009, Award of Merit
- – Boldbrush Competition:
- Finalist, January 2013
- Best of Show, February 2012
- Finalist, January 2012
- Finalist, May 2011
- Finalist, April 2011
- Finalist-Outstanding Abstract, April 2010
- Finalist, February 2010
- Finalist, January 2010
- Finalist, November 2009
- 2nd Place, June 2009
- – Raymar Art Competition 2007-2008 & 2008-2009, Finalist/Award of Excellence
- – OPA Regional Show 2009, Silver Medal – Juried by Jeffrey Watts
- – OPA National Exhibition 2009, Award of Excellence – Juried by Kevin Mcpherson
- – OPA National Exhibition 2008, Award of Excellence – Juried by Ramon Kelley
- – OPA Regional Show 2008, Award of Excellence
- – OPA National Exhibition 2007, Award of Excellence – Juried by Quang Ho
- – OPA Regional Show 2007, Award of Excellence – Juried by Jeff Legg
- – American Art Invitational, Saks Galleries, Denver, Colorado 2012
- – American Art in Miniature 2008 &2009, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa Oklahoma
- – Settlers West Miniature Show (Invitational) 2007-2012
- – Salon International 2007 & 2008, Greenhouse Gallery. Award of Excellence, 2008
- – Great American Figurative Show, Invitational, 2007-2012, Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
- – Fall Classic Invitational 2001-2012, Hamilton, Montana
- Cape Fear Living Magazine January 2017. “Dan Beck, Iconic Abstract Impressionist”
- Cape Fear Living Magazine July 2014. “An Interview”
- Wrightsville Beach Magazine April 2014. “Light Beckons”
- American Art Collector, October 2013. “Out of the Ordinary”
- Artists on Art, Spring 2013. “Staying Open” by Dan Beck
- Art of the West, November 2011. “Keeping the Adventure Alive” by Vicki Stavig
- American Artist, October 2009. “Intuitive Painting” by Steve Doherty
- American Art Collector, September 2009. “Quiet Dignity”
- Southwest Art, November 2008. “A Painter’s Playlist” by Rose Frederick
- Latitude, Fall 2007. “On the Canvas” by Michelle Corriel
- Southwest Art, October 2006. “Collector’s Choice” by Guzzie Fauntleroy
- Southwest Art, November 2003. “Art Events-Colorado” by Bonnie Gangelhoff
- Southwest Art, February 2003. “Art Events-Colorado” by Southwest Art editors
- Southwest Art, June 1999. “Best of the West” by Leslie Busler and Bonnie Gangelhoff
- Art of the West, February 1999. “The Mission Continues” by Vicki Stavig
About Dan Beck
Wanderlust was Dan’s primary motivation in the decade following his graduation from high school. Dan took to the road, working jobs that included ranch hand in Arizona, construction on the beach of Florida, refinishing furniture in Louisiana and four years in the infantry, including a two year tour in Germany. Wherever he went, Dan filled sketchbooks and journals for his own enjoyment. Then in Colorado after a couple of years in college, he realized the thing that meant most to him was his sketchbooks. So, he quit his job and college, sold everything he had and decided that commitment to one path was where all the previous had led him. Dan has studied at the Art Student League of Denver, with numerous contemporary painters and has continuously studied the impressionist masters.
Equally adept at figurative, still-life and landscape, Dan is an experimenter by nature, as well as being firmly rooted in the tradition of Impressionism. His love of nature and a deep respect for the tradition of art serve as both guide and inspiration to his goal of “making a contribution” to the world of painting. Dan’s paintings evoke a timelessness and dignity that are the underlying themes in whatever he paints. “Painting is a balancing act between opposite ideas – direct observation and instinct, control and spontaneity, even between the literal and the symbolic. It seems to me that although a painter is deeply involved with his own private investigation, his real aim is to communicate something to the viewer that resonates on a uniquely personal level.”
Dan now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife and two daughters.
Raised in an Air Force family, Dan Beck became a committed figure and portrait painter, especially of female figures.
He saw many parts of the country as a youth but graduated from high school in Louisiana and then worked jobs between there and Florida. He served Army time in Germany and then committed himself to education and enrolled at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. After two years, he focused on art as a career and enrolled in the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver.
Moving to Arizona at age 30, he connected with a group of dedicated artists but was low on money so returned to Denver and studied at the Art Students League for four years. His work began to attract the attention of galleries, and his favorite subject was women.
He settled in Colorado Springs and works mostly in oils but continues with the pastels that launched his career.
Southwest Art magazine
Biography from Waterhouse Gallery
In the decade following his graduation from high school, Dan worked jobs that included being a ranch-hand in Arizona, construction on the beach of Florida, refinishing furniture in Louisiana, and four years in the infantry. He credits those wanderlust years of giving him a deep understanding of human nature, which underlies his figurative works. His love of nature and respect for the tradition of art serve as both guide and inspiration to his goal of “making a contribution” to the world of painting. For the underlying themes of his paintings, he strives to evoke a timelessness and dignity.Dan Beck has had classes and workshops with artists including Ramon Kelley, Richard Schmid, Ron Hicks, Quang Ho, Carolyn Anderson and Mark Daily.Beck now lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
Awards of Excellence include Oil Painters of America, National 2008 & 2007; Salon International 2008; OPA Central Regional Show 2007; and Raymar Art Competition.
Biography from Watts Fine Art
Dan Beck is an award winning artist with six consecutive Oil Painters of America awards of excellence (three National & three Regional). He has also won two consecutive Raymar Art Competition Awards of Excellence.
The Southwest Art November 2008 issue had a feature article “A Painter’s Playlist” and his painting Waiting as selected for the cover of that issue. He has also been featured in Art of the West” magazines and Art Talk.
Beck has been invited to nationally prominent shows such as the annual American Miniature Show at Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, Arizona; the annual “Fall Classic” in Hamilton, Montana; and the annual Great American Figurative Artists Show at Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, California.
His paintings have found collectors in both the private and corporate world on a national level as well as from such diverse places as Canada, Japan and the Middle East.
He is in the permanent collection of the Littleton Historical Museum and has exhibited with the Phippen Museum, Prescott, Arizona.
Dan Beck | A Painter’s Playlist
By: Rose Fredrick
As Dan Beck opens the door to his studio, the pounding grunge music of the rock band Bush comes pulsating out. “Wait a second,” he says, striding toward the stereo. He clicks off the music, but instead of quiet, a hum of white noise takes over the long, narrow room above a furniture store on the south side of Denver, CO. “Mind if I have a cigarette before we get started?” he asks as we walk past a coffee table and couch strewn with photos and art books. Paintings in various stages of completion lean against walls and furniture legs; tubes of oil paint and stacks of canvases and frames are scattered about. Beck, looking much younger than his 52 years, stands and smokes next to a small, noisy fan that sucks the fumes from the room. After a while, he stubs out his cigarette, takes a swig of Dr. Pepper straight from a liter bottle, then says, “Okay, where should we start?”
We start in 1974, when Beck was 18, just out of high school and free. He left home and took to the road, hitchhiking across the country a couple of times, doing all kinds of jobs—construction worker, ranch hand, furniture refinisher, and mover. He read incessantly and saw the world through the eyes of his literary and musical heroes;
Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hess, and Bob Dylan were his constant companions. And though he kept his own journals throughout his 10 years of wandering, he saw the world not just in words, but also in pictures, sketching scenes of his life and travels.
He eventually joined the army for a four-year stint that took him to Germany. Stationed at a military base where he was exposed to a culture of corruption and the seedy underbelly of society, he recalls that time in his life as surreal. When his tour of duty was over, Beck left the army and decided to use his GI Bill to go to college. He enrolled at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs—but not for art. “I never knew that living people were artists,” he says, “that you could do that.”
Though he didn’t know a career in art was possible, he continued to sketch. One day, while at his work-study job in the college library, a woman came up to him, saw his drawings, and suggested he study art. “I said, ‘Where is there an art school?’” he recalls. “That was the first time I’d ever heard of it.” The very next week he quit school and moved to Denver, which landed him in the epicenter of contemporary realism in the Rocky Mountain West, near prominent artists such as Ramon Kelley, John Encinias, Kang Cho, Mark Daily, and Michael Lynch. “All those artists. I was just floored,” he remembers.
Beck spent the next two years studying at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, where two influential instructors—Jim Valone and Bob Thomas—helped shape his career and build the artistic foundations that support him to this day. Valone had been a student of the abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann, and he brought Hofmann’s concepts into the classroom. In particular, that included Hofmann’s famous push-pull theory—the idea that landscape painting does not have to be made up of actual objects like trees, lakes, and sky, but instead can depict the tension between the essence of those things in abstracted forms of space, color, and planes. The theory still resonates with Beck.
Like parched earth, Beck absorbed the influences of art history, but it was a simple statement from Thomas that changed his path forever. “I was painting some free-form stuff that was kind of dark and expressionistic. And Thomas said something really odd to the class. He said that all art should have some ray of hope,” says Beck. “I’m listening to a guy who was a Vietnam vet, and I’m remembering my own experiences, because I’ve been on the road and I’ve seen some heavy stuff. But when you get involved with doing dark stuff in your art, then you’re living it again, and you’re giving it back to the world.” Thomas’ comment touched Beck and made him realize that if he was going to give anything back to the world, it would have to have some element of beauty. After all, when he looked back, Beck realized that it was often just witnessing a simple, lovely image—perhaps a craggy tree on a windswept hill—that got him through tough times and helped bring some sanity back to his world.
Beck considers himself a naturalist, relying on light and how it plays off his subjects. He also uses a subtle mix of realism and abstract expressionism to convey his thoughts. “I think everything is abstract. Everything,” he says. “If it isn’t, something is wrong; it’s not very interesting.” And though he paints a variety of subjects, from still lifes to landscapes, it is his figurative work that is consistently recognized and garners awards. Beck has received awards of excellence from the Oil Painters of America and Salon International, an exhibit held each spring at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio, TX. The historic artists he most admires are figurative painters, particularly Nicolai Fechin and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. “Renoir was able to paint ideas,” notes Beck. “I like that, painting ideas.”
He believes the artist’s job goes deeper than faithfully rendering what he sees. “I think ultimately what we are really trying to do is to parallel in painting what we feel about life,” he observes. “If something moves you, you don’t ignore it. The rhythms of things, the mystery of life, and the atmosphere, for me, translate into more of the spiritual side. It doesn’t have to be how the viewer sees it, but how I see it.”
And how he sees things, he acknowledges, is uniquely his own projection onto his subject matter. He recalls a girl in art school who seemed like a dark, moody character, which, during his own dark phase, was just what he wanted to paint. But as he observed her, it occurred to him that it wasn’t just some brooding quality that attracted him; it was her beauty. “There is a transience to beauty. It’s fleeting. To be an artist who can paint that quality without making it look trite—somehow get it into the work—that is what I’m after,” says Beck.
A self-proclaimed social klutz and “really bad communicator,” Beck says his paintings are his way of having a conversation. It’s a dialogue that depends on feedback from others, whether from fellow artist friends such as Ron Hicks and Ernie Gallegos, or collectors who call to talk about his paintings. “I’m totally connected with the way people see my work. It’s like a comic telling a joke, and the joke is not done until the laughter comes,” he explains. “My art is all about communication.”
He says one of the hardest challenges he faces is keeping the energy going. That’s why he likes working with models. Models bring a different energy to the studio, they understand the process, and they, too, seem to need the feedback they get from the artist. “It’s not just a job. We’re not walking in here to fill in the squares,” says Beck. “I need the motivation, the interaction.”
While it may seem counterintuitive for an artist whose paintings have a gentle and romantic sensibility, Beck loves to crank up the stereo while he paints. Rock music, he says, reminds him of Impressionist painting. Just like Impressionism was heavily influenced by all the art that came before it, rock also borrows from earlier genres—classical, jazz, gospel, blues. “I actually relate more to music as if it were a painting: the warms and cools, the rhythms,” he explains.
On any given day, Beck listens to everything from grunge to Motown, John Lee Hooker to Bruce Springsteen. But one particular song has always held more meaning than all the rest. “The first time I heard ‘Like a Hurricane’ by Neil Young was when I was in the army in Germany. At the time, I remember thinking, if I ever get to be a painter, I want to paint like Neil Young plays the guitar in that song. He was controlled but crazy at the same time.” Beck leans back in his chair and adds, “I love that part of painting when you are in the moment.”
He is represented by Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX; Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Concetta D Gallery, Albuquerque, NM; Sanders Galleries, Tucson, AZ; Heddenart Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.
He has an upcoming group show at Waterhouse Gallery, November 22-December 22.
Featured in November 2008