In our Gratitude Series, we explore the relationship between art and gratitude, and the impact both have on our world. 

Martin Blundell, an oil painter based in Bountiful, Utah, believes art has the power to create new realities and understanding for people. Leading with this philosophy, Martin approaches his artwork with a dedication to inspire wonder in a beloved subject matter –– Western desert and alpine landscapes with unexpected and vibrant color palettes. 

Whether it is a burnt orange sunset or a cotton candy-colored vista, Martin emphasizes composition and design, and executes his works with impasto brushwork and pallet knife application. This results in thoughtful and unique textural images that have been capturing collectors’ imaginations for close to 40 years. 

We know art touches people’s hearts, but oftentimes we forget the process of creating it is just as meaningful. For instance, painting has allowed Martin to observe the quiet power of countless sunrises and sunsets, as well as the sudden, still moments just before atmospheric changes in storms. His ability to create space and transport viewers to those same moments of calm and beauty is truly awe-inspiring for the viewer and deeply rewarding for him. 

Also among Martin’s favorite memories are those special moments he experiences with others, like this one he recently shared:

A thoughtful woman carefully looked over my paintings from a distance for a few minutes, and when others left, pointed to a painting hanging low on the wall. She said, “I like this painting.” I replied, “So do I. It is one of my favorite paintings.” When she asked why I explained I had painted on it on and off for over four years! I could never get it right. There was always something out of place, a wrong color, composition difficulties, inconsistent rendering, and so on. 

I painted over troublesome passages, scraped back paint, and even resorted to sandpaper. Finally, when I got the illusion of light over the landscape surface, I recognized it felt right and I finished it. I told her the title was “First Light over the Fields.” She paused for a moment and said, “I think the painting is a metaphor of our lives! You didn’t give up. You overcame your failures. You fell down and picked yourself up over and over again. You resolved your difficulties and overcame it all! This painting represents what we do in this life.” 

Martin says he celebrates moments like this where new realizations can be uncovered, shared and cherished. It’s what has driven his work and life as an artist, and for that he’ll always be grateful.