About Mark

About the Artist Inspire goodness and beauty in the lives of my audience

Mark was born in Logan, UT in 1984 and has lived in the West all of his life. His work is inspired by what he loves, the beauty of the West. He grew up hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, and site seeing, and has personally experienced much of what the West has to offer.

Art has been apart of Mark’s life from very early on, but he started to show real promise as early as 9th grade when he began receiving commissions for his pencil portraits. After high school, he studied art at Brigham Young University – Idaho, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration as well as a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. Mark pursued illustration for a few years and worked with several publishing houses across the US.

When he was hired to teach art at Cody High School in 2011, he set aside illustrating and returned to oils. Since that time, Mark’s growth has been tremendous as he has been fortunate to study under some great artists. Subsequently, he has spent hundreds of hours at the easel practicing and implementing the techniques and skills gained throughout his education.

Mark has been personally tutored by Dan Burr, Leon Parson, Gerald Griffin, Jim Wilcox, and Greg Beecham. Other artists who inspire him are Clyde Aspevig, Mian Situ, Z.S. Liang, Bob Kuhn, and Carl Rungius.

Statement

The greatest goal with my art is to inspire goodness and beauty in the lives of my audience. The focus of my work is to represent, in my own way, the natural world, that which I believe is directly connected with the Source of all true beauty.

I love bold and deliberate brushstrokes, and I am fascinated by the happenstance miracles that can occur with a palette knife. As I am evolving as an artist, I'm continuously moving away from photo-realism and minuscule detail, into allowing the paint to speak for itself, enabling it to be what it is. I don't need to paint every hair, blade of grass, or leaf; each element is only suggested by textural shapes of color and value rather than being clearly defined and photographically reproduced. As I work, I am tireless to ensure that my paintings feel fresh and not over-worked. As I paint more and more animals, this becomes particularly challenging because I have to be true to the anatomy and form of the subject. So, every mark is calculated and carefully placed; just enough to communicate what is necessary.

I honestly believe that there are several lifetimes of learning to be had within the versatilities of oil paint and the exploration of color. I'm thrilled that I may have several decades ahead of me to be taught by this incredible medium.

Mark has had his work included in shows across the U.S. & Canada and is currently represented by the Dick Idol Signature Gallery in Whitefish, MT and Terakedis Fine Art in Billings, MT

Shows & Awards

2012 - Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale - Cody,WY - Gilly Fales Award

2013 - Art Fair Jackson Hole - Jackson, WY

2013 - Bradford Brinton Memorial & Museum - About 6 x 6 Show

2013 - Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale - Cody,WY - Gilly Fales Award

2014 - Western Masters Art Show & Sale - Western Heritage Inn - Great Falls, MT

2014 - National Wildlife Art Museum's 3rd Annual Plein Air Fest, Jackson, WY

2014 - Southwest Art's 21-Under-31 Young Artists to Watch

2014 - Brinton Museum's - Small Works Show

2014 - Collectors Covey - Miniatures 2014 Sale and Auction - Dallas, TX - Nov 7th

2015 - The Russell - C.M. Russell Museum - Great Falls, MT

2015 - Out West Art Show & Sale - Great Falls, MT

2015 - National Wildlife Museum's 4th Annual Plein Air Fest, Jackson, WY

2015 - Art of the Animal Kingdom XX – The Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT

2015 - Brinton Museum's - Small Works Show - Big Horn, MT

2016 - The Russell - C.M. Russell Museum Live Auction - Great Falls, MT

2016 - Out West Art Show & Sale - Great Falls, MT

2016 - National Wildlife Museum's 4th Annual Plein Air Fest, Jackson, WY

2016 - Rock Creek Cattle Company – Wine, Art, & Food Festival

2016 - Brinton Museum's - Small Works Show

2016 - Dimensions of Nature – Nov thru Dec – two man show at the Brinton Museum featuring Mark McKenna and Jeff Rudolph
Art purchased for Brinton Museum’s permanent collection

2016 - The Russell - C.M. Russell Museum Live Auction - Great Falls, MT

2017 -
 The Russell – Quick Draw/Finish event (received the highest price of the event)

2017 - Out West Art Show & Sale - Great Falls, MT

2017 - Rock Creek Cattle Company – Wine, Art, & Food Festival

2017 – The Brinton 101 – Small Works Exhibition (Nov 9 – Dec 17)