TurningBear Mason, a contemporary Tucson artist, has his Fine Art studio in NW Tucson, AZ.
Born in Anchorage, AK, Mason has studied as a professional artist since 1976. During his tenure, he has produced many original oil paintings by commission and freelance. Mason’s oil paintings are classical-representational realism. His venturing toward painting impressionism continues as he spends more time painting plein air style. His work is found throughout world and the United States, in many corporate and private collections including prestigious collectors as Lindsay Wagner and Gail True. He is a master scrimshaw artist as well, with commissioned works owned by Clint Eastwood and General Swartzkoff.
As a young boy his exploration and observation of nature impressed upon him the infinite detail woven into God’s creation. It was in the forest where he started to learn how to observe. The patience he attained studying all things created can be seen today in his mature works. Turning Bear has mastered graphite, and he frequently produces commissioned portraits with this medium. His attention to detail in drawing is seen in his painted compositions of people, architecture, animals, seascapes and particularly landscapes. Naturally, landscapes are varied and complex, but he moves with industry and confidence into a variety of genre.
Recent works include exquisite renderings of signature holes at premier golf destinations and family homestead landscape portraits in the western US. It is important to note that Turning Bear’s paintings are at once finely detailed while sustaining the elemental senses of mood and contrast.
In 1995 the commissioned painting of White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona awarded him his greatest passion in subject matter. “For me,” says Turning Bear, “painting dramatic landscapes of the West is the most challenging and rewarding of the artistic adventures I take.” His catalogue of commissioned works continues to grow.
TurningBear is enjoying the challenges of being a Tucson artist as he studies light, nature and life in the Sonora High Desert.
“Life without art is simply unthinkable. Art enlightens, inspires, and entertains. Even sounds and rhythm once left restless find a place of calm and purpose. It sparks the intellect and awakens the senses to the good, the beautiful and the true.”
A simple oil paint art kit from my mother changed my life. It gave a “seed” of creativity a place to grow. My studies and inspiration of the masters could be translated in color onto canvas. It could be expressed differently than the limitations of my pencil and paper.
I’ve always had a love for the outdoors. Even as a child, I had an insatiable thirst to capture its beauty and take it home with me. I was eager to share what I saw in creation with the variations of color, texture and contrast. I loved the challenge of painting these magnificent landscapes I experienced. It’s through this that God revealed my purpose. In time, I was given a responsibility to share His creations with the world.
The western landscape always spoke to me with its boldness, it told tales about more than rugged terrain, and it revealed the splendor of God’s creation. It magnified the responsibility God had given me. Bringing thought, beauty, truth and goodness to the viewers of my paintings is a blessing from God. My hope is to reveal His radiance, beauty and power by pointing to His creation.
“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and diving nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
During my carrier I have painted freelance and commissions for individuals, Dude Ranches, Resorts, National Parks and Golf Courses. Commissioned works are only one example of God’s grace. Many years have passed since I opened the art kit for the first time 54 years ago. I’ve studied on my own, from fellow artists and books of the masters. As a student of a variety of subjects, God has led me down a path in teaching others. I’ve enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience to other art students so they can learn in a short period of time what it has taken me a lifetime to learn. It’s been my way of ensuring the “seed” God planted long ago bares “fruit”.
God has given me a need to have a place where others with a creative “seed” may be nurtured and grow. I have been inspired to start an art school called “Coram Deo Fine Art Academy”. Coram Deo, Latin for “Living before the Face of God”. It’s a place where beginners and more experienced artists can excel with an emphasis on individual creativity, while still focusing on the guidelines and principles of art.
It is only by the grace of God my seed of creativity grew. I pray my art work and my teaching will be living testimonies of good stewardship of the gifts given to me by my Lord Jesus Christ.
Solo Deo Gloria…To God alone be the glory!