After looking at one of Doug Oliver's landscapes, it should come as no surprise that this artist has studied both music and painting. Oliver's stark and romantic high desert landscapes are the works of a virtuoso. As Carol Lea Clark writes in the January, 1988 Southwest Art, Oliver paints "contrasts of power and fragility, of light and darkness which rings of a lilting flute or oboe... guiding a tune to it's climax in a crash of cymbals."
Doug Oliver paints lyrical interpretations of western landscapes: rocky mountains, towering pinnacles, scrub-filled deserts, and grand expansive skies. It is with these skies that Oliver seems the most enchanted. Cloud-filled skies make up more that half of his canvasses. Their luminosity - with colors from "cool whites and blues to pinks and oranges so vivid they are unbelievable" - fascinates him. "Unlike most inanimate objects which reflect light, clouds can actually hold light" he marvels.
Doug Oliver has been enthralled by the high desert since his teens when his family moved from the Midwest to a high desert town north of Los Angles. He studied advertising design at what is now the California Institute of Arts in Valencia. After graduating, he enjoyed working for 15 years as a public school teacher. "A person can learn a great deal about technique by talking about it and demonstrating it to others," says Oliver.
But when it came to a point where he had to decide between painting full-time or teaching, his choice was natural. "Fifteen years of instructing teenagers who were 'into' rebellion and senior citizens who favor roses and raindrops left me with nothing to do but move on," he recalls.
Clearly, the public feels the majesty in his overtures of power and contrast. But Doug Oliver remains subdued in his goals and attitude towards his work. "My goal is simply to convey my love for the desert and for the serene sense of freedom it inspires," he says.
Says Doug Oliver: "I really didn't choose to be an artist, I guess. I think that art chose me. There are a lot of things I can't do, but I can communicate with people visually a lot better than most. And because I believe that talent is God-given, and because I've developed my talent as much as I can through academic and fine art studies, I've committed myself to doing the best I can. I just want people to be able to see the landscape around them and appreciate it every day. We all need to be reminded of beauty sometimes. I guess my role in life is to remind people to really see their environment a little better, not in a political sense, but in the sense of truly appreciating it. I'd like people to be able to 'hear' the color and 'feel' the grandeur of music in my landscape."
Fine art posters and miniature prints of Doug Oliverís work are available at Leslie Levy Fine Art, Scottsdale, Arizona.
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