David Drummond, a watercolorist who is highly acclaimed and widely recognized for his realistic watercolors of Lake Powell and western landscapes is the Artist of the Month at the John Wesley Powell Museum. His work will continue to be on display through the end of September.
Drummond and his wife Priscilla split their time between Page and Albuquerque, N.M.,
Drummond’s career as a watercolorist began while earning a PhD in physics. He painted and sold his watercolor paintings as a way to make ends meet. After earning his PhD, he became a physicist with the U.S. Air Force. He resigned from the Air Force in 1986 so he could paint full time. He earned his American Watercolor Society membership in 1986 and Watercolor West membership in 1987.
Drummond’s first lessons in painting came when he was in third grade, as a way to occupy him and redirect his energy.
“I was a little monster,” he said. “I got in a lot of fights. I wanted to get in a fight every day on my way home from school. So my mom tried to find after-school activities to keep me occupied and eventually we hit on art lessons. By the time I had finished my lessons, all the kids had gone home and there was no one left to fight.”
Drummond started entering his watercolor paintings in art and crafts shows when he was in high school, and it was something he continued doing throughout college and grad school as a way to make some extra money.
Lake Powell is one of his favorite subjects to paint, and he has returned to it again and again during his long career. It was while painting on Lake Powell that he struck upon a unique technique for painting the water.
“It’s my own take on the wet-on-wet technique,” he explained.
Drummond starts by getting the paper he’ll be painting on very wet, to the point that water is dripping off it.
“When you add paint and water to paper weird things start to happen,” he said. “The paint starts to move around all by itself. My method, rather than trying to control what the paint is going to do just embraces the fact that it’s going to do what it wants to do.”
Whether he’s capturing the subtle light on the lake or the texture of an abandoned farm house, Drummond concentrates on attention to detail and mood.
“Art is about communication and beauty,” he said. “I paint what I love to look at, hoping to bring that same emotion to the viewer.”
His expressive realist figurative work and still life paintings give testimony to talent as do dozens of honors and critical acclaim in the national fine arts media. One of the greatest honors of his career came in 2007 when the White House commissioned him to paint their Christmas Card.
One of his paintings “Canyon Ripples” earned the Mini Grand Prize in the Paint the Parks show, and 16 of his Lake Powell paintings were included in the National Arts for the Parks top 100 show, which have been made into posters, calendars and postcards and featured in a special “Arts from the Parks” book.
He won “Best of Show” in 2014 at the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society Annual Exhibition in Washington D.C. With “The Rose,” his miniatures were exhibited in Russia in 2012 as part of the World Miniature Exhibition.
Drummond’s work is represented in public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe, including the White House Collection, National Park Foundation and the St. George, Utah Art Museum.
When painting, Drummond strives to create a piece that will carry the viewers of his art from the spot where they stand to the place represented in his art.
“Viewing art is like falling in love,” he said. “Art has the ability to transport and move the viewer. Art expresses emotion and beauty like nothing else. Art is truly an affair of the heart.”