Curt Walters started his
demonstration painting along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
by lightly indicating the
placement of shapes.
By all measures, my friend Curt Walters is one of the most successful artists in the country, certainly among artists in the Western United States. He has won almost every major award given in juried competitions, including the Prix de West (organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City), and he was recently the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the Eiteljorg Museum, in Indianapolis. But none of this happened overnight, and in fact Walters was rejected for 20 years in a row when he was first considered for the Prix de West exhibition.
I mention this because all of us can learn something from Walters' hard work, determination, and resilience. He could have given up on his dreams years ago, and no one would have blamed him, considering his success was being thwarted by some very influential artists. But Walters believed in himself, trusted the opinions of people who recognized his talents, and continued to improve his paintings until he finally came to be called the "greatest living Grand Canyon artist" by Art of the West magazine. He works just as hard today as he did when I first met him 30 years ago and featured his paintings in the June 1980 issue of American Artist. He continues to share his knowledge and enthusiasm as he did in the cover story of the April 1998 issue of the magazine, and we're again featuring him on the cover of one of our magazines, this time on the winter 2009 issue of Workshop, where we follow him during a recent workshop on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
M. Stephen Doherty