WAUSAU — The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum announced in March New Mexico artist Timothy Mayhew as its 2020 Master Artist. He will be honored during the Museum’s 45th annual “Birds in Art” exhibition this fall.
Mayhew will discuss his career and artwork during his Master Artist presentation on “Birds in Art” opening morning, Sept. 12, in the museum’s sculpture garden.
Mayhew employs European Old Master practices – techniques and mediums favored by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo – creating preparatory drawings, oil studies, and plein air paintings to work out composition design and color harmonies. Mayhew prefers to draw with natural, quarried chalks – red, white, black, and yellow – another Renaissance practice that he researched, revived, and has written about extensively.
Mayhew’s journey as an artist, “has been a long and often solitary one, striving to perfect drawing, composition, and painting skills,” he said in a Woodson news release.
“For me, it is about getting out of bed long before the sun rises to hike my gear to just the right location to witness and study nature at its finest,” Mayhew said. “It takes years, decades even, to be able to capture the subtleties of the quality of light and the unique behaviors of the charismatic megafauna I encounter. When the many years of diligence and hard work are rewarded, especially by the affect my artwork has on viewers and occasionally by receiving awards, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Born in 1952, Mayhew completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, and he received a doctorate in 1978 from Wayne State University in Detroit. Seeking to expand upon his formal education, Mayhew studied for several years with painter Bob Kuhn to learn how to depict animals in their natural environment. He also studied landscape painting en plein air with Clyde Aspevig and Matt Smith.
Mayhew lives in Farmington, New Mexico, and this “Four Corners” area bordering Arizona, Colorado, and Utah provides a varied environment for his fieldwork excursions. There he founded the Atelier Cedar Ridge, a professional working studio and research facility designed to study the drawing materials and techniques favored by Old Master artists. He and his wife, Rose, have two daughters and one son.
The 2020 “Birds in Art” exhibition, on view, Sept. 12 through Nov. 29, will feature a selection of Mayhew’s artwork along with more than 100 original paintings, sculptures, and graphics created within the last three years by artists from throughout the world.
Photo courtesy Woodson Art Museum.