A native of Colorado, Dave Santillanes received a BFA in Graphic Design at Colorado State University in 1995. It wasn’t until after graduating college that Dave began his first explorations into oil painting. These early studies quickly merged with his love of the outdoors and it wasn’t long before oil paint and an easel accompanied him on his wilderness treks.
Dave’s goal with each landscape painting is not a literal rendering of the scene but to capture and convey its essence. This involves simplifying his compositions for the sake of design, and eliminating superfluous details, but he’s careful not to eliminate the scene’s sense of ‘place’. Dave’s work is also characterized by a realistic rendering of color, light and atmosphere. To accomplish this, each of his studio painting begins in the field with a plein air study. This direct approach to capturing color and light allows him to achieve a realism unattainable through photographic studies alone.
Dave’s passion for painting has led to a number of recent awards including the Bronze Medal at the 2010 Oil Painters of America National Show. He has also been named one of Southwest Art Magazine’s Artists to Watch.