Ralph LeMaster, a member of the Virgin Valley Artist Association, is a fine artist and illustrator whose exceptional talent will be on display at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery July 10 through Aug. 4.
LeMaster is a life-long resident of Compton, Calif. A “natural-born” artist, LeMaster was just 5 years old when he discovered that he could create by drawing with a pencil. Later he added other mediums and began painting murals.
“I always looked forward to the Christmas holidays when I could paint scenes on the picture window in my grandparents’ living room,” he recalls. Wood design became another early interest, and he began building things from pieces of wood he would find around his neighborhood.
LeMaster’s love of art led him to study Interior Architecture and Illustration at Golden West College, earning an associate’s degree. He continued his art education at California State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Design and Fine Art.
“I have always enjoyed working in abstract and non-objective art,” LeMaster said. ”About 30 years ago, I started experimenting in wood pieces and have produced some rather large pieces that have been described as ‘beautiful and interestingly unique’. These large pieces allow me a sense of artistic freedom and enable me to exercise my background in design.
“Carving in Philippine mahogany plywood and applying stains, sometimes embellishing my designs with leather, copper, mirror or a combination of these materials, will often cause my works to take on their own personalities.”
The beauty of the American West has always been an inspiration for LeMaster, and he has enjoyed incorporating this beauty into his landscapes. He paints subjects such as old cars, trucks, planes, animals and people, using mediums that include charcoal, pastels and acrylics.
Artists who LeMaster has most admired and who have inspired him to love art are Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Charles Russell and Frederick Remington.
LeMaster is currently active with the Corona Art Association and the Arts Colony, both in Corona, the Plein-Aire Artists of Riverside (Calif.) and the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside and the Virgin Valley Artists Association in Mesquite. He has received numerous awards in several states. LeMaster hopes to become a resident of Mesquite in the next year and become even more involved with the gallery.
“Being an artist is somewhat like an actor auditioning for a part in a play or movie.” LeMaster says. “We, as artists, are always striving to perfect our craft so that we can share the world, as we interpret it, to an audience.”
Please visit the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery to view the July Artist of the Month exhibit. The Gallery, featuring art from numerous talented artists, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and is located at 15 W. Mesquite Blvd., in Mesquite. For more information, call 702-346-1338, or visit www.mesquitefineartscenter.com.