Born in Oklahoma in 1952, Gary Byrd grew up the son of a veterinarian. The rural life and its people were his reality. Trips to the Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, as well as other museums, Western movies and books by Zane Grey, Louis L’amour, the Hillermans and others inspired his artistic instincts. A professional oil painter since 1992, he retired from the energy business to devote his full attention to art in 2012.
Now living in New Mexico, he is near all manner of landscapes in the Southwest. He has formed lasting friendships with cowboys, re-enactors, Native Americans and rural folks who serve as his models.
“I grabbed a term I like to describe my art, ‘impressionistic realism.’ You know what it is, but it is freer. It does not mimic a photograph and should not,” says Byrd. “Each painting will usually have a narrative which inspired my construction of the elements. I have a desire to avoid popular subjects that suddenly become the norm. They may be beautiful, but if everyone is doing something similar there is a need for something a bit different offered to the public.”
Byrd and his wife are collectors themselves. “We devote a significant amount of income from my paintings to our growing collection of artists we love for our home,” he says.
His works have recently appeared in the Bosque Art Classic, APA shows and Arizona Fine Art Expo. He will be showing in the Mountain Oyster Club Art Show and Cowboy Classics Western Art Show & Sale later this year.
Let the Sleeping Dog Lie, oil on linen, 18 x 24"
May I Call on You Again?, oil on linen, 18 x 24"
Introspection, oil on panel, 20 x 16”