Martin Blundell’s decades-long journey as an artist started on an ordinary day. In grade school, he had a teacher who would separate his class into groups for art projects. One day, Martin used watercolors to paint a scene of yellow aspen trees. His teacher was genuinely impressed, and soon enough his parents also took notice of his creative aptitude.
Before long, Martin’s simple paint by numbers projects turned into regular art classes in junior high. By high school, he knew he wanted art to become a cornerstone of his future career.
“I got a degree in drawing and printmaking at the university, so I did a lot more graphic work, like etchings, lithographs and screenprints,” Martin says. “I was working with paper and the printmaking process. Along with that, I used to do a lot of drawings, collages and mixed media.”
Martin eventually owned a printing business, and when he decided it was time to sell it, he took the opportunity to start oil painting, a medium he had once loved working with in the past. He dove into the process as he had with his business. He did research and explored the marketability of his work, finding oil paintings were in higher demand than other works, especially those on paper. With that, he started painting landscapes on canvas and hasn’t looked back since.
“I paint with very few colors on my palette,” he says. “I use ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cad red medium, cad yellow medium and white, primarily. And that gives all the paintings a uniform color sense.”
Martin says his artistic process and works meet at the intersection of reality and memory. He starts a painting in the location he’s scouted. While there, he takes photographs and makes multiple sketches and drawings. Then he heads back to his studio to begin the painting process. From there he paints half the painting with a paintbrush, and finishes the rest using only a palette knife.
“It forces me to back off of detail and make marks that are almost abstract,” Martin says. “Then, for the second half of a painting, I focus more on my memory and how I felt about a piece of art.”
Today his signature look includes rich colors depicting his beloved subject matter of wide western landscapes and the borderlands of Arizona and Utah. It’s a region that never ceases to amaze and intrigue him –– or other artists for that matter.
“There’s a history of painting the landscape with Western painters, from all over the intermountain area and California,” he says. “You look at painters like Richard Diebenkorn who was an abstract painter but was motivated early in his career and later in his career by the landscape. It intrigues Western artists and painters, so I’m going to give it my go at it.”
Given the Celebration of Fine Art is located in the heart of the West in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, many art lovers have fallen in love with Martin’s works of art, recognizing his color palette from the views from their own backyards. As an artist, he says he’s delighted to share his process with those who share his love of western landscapes.
“The big advantage is that artists have studios here and are working,” Martin says. “When people come around to take a look at your art, they’re also able to talk to you and see your paintings at different levels of being completed. That’s the real thing that distinguishes the Celebration of Fine Art.”
See more of Martin’s story below: