Any 30-year career as an artist may be cause for a retrospective, and also a celebration of the work that was created. But in the case of Cliff Greenwood, it’s an occasion honoring much more than just artistic longevity. At 96, the native Englishman who moved to America at the age of 11 used art to help himself comprehend and take in the vastness and diversity of the landscape of his new home. After arriving in Philadelphia with his aunt and uncle, they moved to Tennessee before settling in Utah 35 years ago.
It was in visits to his son Mickey in northern New Mexico that Greenwood found inspiration to create art, initially sketching adobe buildings including mission churches and pueblos. When he returned home, he painted watercolors (“From a Ski Lift in Park City,” “Conglomerate” and “Taos Pueblo” are pictured) using the sketches as guides. At one point, he found the sketches weren’t detailed enough, so he started taking photographs as supplementary documentation. The photographs themselves soon became a distinct outlet for his artistic creativity, another way to capture the beauty of the Southwestern scenery.
This self-taught artist didn’t even begin painting until he was 65 years old, but as with any artist trying to communicate an authentic artistic vision, it’s really about seeing, noticing what exists in nature around you and letting that lead your hand. His continued pursuit of creating art is a testament to the strength of the artistic drive.
Cliff Greenwood: A Life‘s Work @ Utah Arts Festival Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, Suite 120, 801-322-2428, through Feb. 11