Louis Escobedo was born in Sweetwater, Texas, in 1952. Since his first ‘Best of Show’ in school at the age of six, he has gone on to win several prestigious awards, including two gold medals from the National Oil Painters of America; initially in 1994, and with his second showing in 2014 bringing home $25,000.

Currently, his “Exploring the West” exhibition can be viewed at the Maynard Dixon Legacy Museum (2200 South State Street in Mount Carmel) containing recent works from as far afield as Wyoming Grand Tetons majestic vistas to a humble old barn in our own Long Valley.

During the gallery opening, he pondered, “Artists are illusionists. We don’t really tell the truth; we just kind of embellish it, just a little bit more! Colors are my kids. I always say, ‘go out and play, but watch your values.’ Sometimes they want to come out to play real fast, and I have to say, ‘wait until I’m ready for you.’” 

And while strolling casually around indicating differing aspects of various pieces, he philosophised, “I feel it’s light. Basically, I feel light brings more happiness, more kindness instead of darkness. I’m not really fond of dark in my paintings. I try to make mine more colorful and light to cheer the people up. It’s a depressing world out there, and we try to do the best we can. And, God bless everybody; that’s all I can say! God has given me a gift that I can pursue; and I hope people like it; and so far, so good.”

Susan Bingham, who along with her husband Paul started The Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, notes, “It is the uplifting qualities that the arts bring us in all their forms that are the elixir of life, especially in difficult times.”

One of Kane County’s ‘best kept secrets,’ the summer home and burial place of world-renowned western artist Maynard Dixon is a welcoming spot-to-stop, open daily for tours, 10-5. Contact them at (435) 648-2653 or thunderbirdfoundation.com.

These days, from their hacienda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Louis’s wife Yolanda operates their 711 Gallery. Check their website at louiseescobedo.com.