Artist David Frederick Riley
“After moving to the West over a decade ago, I have become captivated by the landscape, animals and history that abound here. My artwork is how I engage with this awe-inspiring land. My aim is to capture some of the West’s spirit, strength and grace to share with others.” —DAVID FREDERICK RILEY
Modern Wildlife and Western Artist
David Riley is a gallery artist, portrait and wildlife painter, and illustrator.
Step into the world of David’s art and witness his distinctive southwestern contemporary style that depicts the wildlife and people of the West like never before. From bison to longhorns, bears to iconic Native American figures, David’s art captures the essence of these subjects in a way that is truly one-of-a-kind. Despite his consistent use of a monochromatic palette, David’s artworks are so powerful that one never even misses color.
Experience the universal narratives of the human condition and nature through David Frederick Riley’s vibrant paintings. With his unique combination of modern color fields and traditional handling of the human form in oil, David captures the essence of emotional and spiritual growth. His color harmonies showcase the vibrancy of life and evoke a sense of profound connection with the world around us. Discover the beauty in our shared experiences with David Frederick Riley’s art.
“A lot of my work is about trying to balance opposing forces. Traditional subject matter presented in a modern way; offsetting realistic handling of form with big, loose blocks of values and shapes; balancing realism with abstraction.”
David relishes the unpredictability of his work. He enjoys relinquishing control and welcoming the surprises that come when his paintings take on a life of their own.
“Sometimes, such focus can dissolve the painting to a degree. If you are focusing on mark-making, how do you build the form up with those marks but then how do you also let the painting disintegrate within those marks? It’s a push and pull between control and relinquishing control.”
David finds a delicate balance in playing with control and letting it go. This interplay not only inspires him, but also keeps his perspective as a painter in check, allowing him to create masterpieces that capture the essence of his vision.
“In general, artists create the box that they are going to work within. The mistake you can make is in believing that the box you’ve created exists beyond your art, beyond the purpose of entertaining and inspiring others. You can’t let your ego get too attached to the box you’ve created.”
North American WildLife Collection
David’s artistic style varies greatly, exploring the use of contrasting white and black backgrounds to create dramatic effects or using white space to evoke a sense of atmosphere. Sometimes, his work takes on the form of detailed line drawings, and at other times, he focuses on loose brushwork to create abstract pieces.
Riley goes beyond conventional painting techniques and instead focuses on capturing the unique personalities of his animal subjects. “I could do a whole show of bears, from black and brown bears to grizzlies, cubs and big old males. The repetition of painting the animal multiple times allows you to explore different emotional states.”
David uses a specific approach when starting a new painting on a blank canvas. He chooses one key element such as line or atmosphere as the foundation of the painting. While all elements are important, focusing on one at a time produces unique and varying results.
“To a degree, you have to focus on all elements of the composition in every painting,” he says. “But for me, the painting will vary depending on what aspect I’m focusing on. For instance, if I’m thinking about form and structure, the painting will look different than if I’m thinking more about design. It’s fun to hyper-accentuate one of the fundamentals of art to push into a style.”
David Frederick Riley
“A lot of my work is about trying to balance opposing forces. Traditional subject matter presented in a modern way; offsetting realistic handling of form with big, loose blocks of values and shapes; balancing realism with abstraction.” —DAVID FREDERICK RILEY
With artwork collected across the globe, David Frederick Riley is considered one of today’s preeminent Wildlife and Western painters. He has been a finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s Annual Salon, Oil Painter’s of America National Juried Exhibition, and was in the top 100 finalists in London’s BP Portrait Award. He exhibits 6-9 solo shows annually in some of America’s top galleries as well as a gallery located in New Zealand. Away from his celebrated exhibitions, David now works full time as a gallery artist. He lives in Midway, Utah with his wife Nealy and two children Cameron and Ellison.