Timothy David Mayhew is an award winning artist from the four corners area of New Mexico, located at the borders of Arizona, Colorado, and Utah giving him a uniquely varied environment to work in.
Mayhew's artwork has been acquired by several prestigious museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Art Institute of Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Harvard University Art Museums, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. He regularly receives awards and honors for his artwork including the prestigious Red Smith Award for Best in Show from the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Western Visions exhibition in 2015. The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Trustees’ Purchase Award in 2014,
the Artistic Excellence Award from Southwest Art in 2011, and the Robert Kuhn Award from the National Museum of Wildlife Art in 2010.
Mayhew and his artwork have been featured in several fine art journals including Western Art and Architecture, the Gray’s Sporting Journal, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Southwest Art.
Mayhew’s notable exhibitions include the Western Visions exhibition at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the international Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show, the Thomas Gilcrease Museum, Trailside Galleries’ Masters in Miniature Invitational Show, the Hilton Head Fine Art Auction, the American Art Invitational, the Evansville Museum of Art, the Settlers West Miniature Exhibition, and the Art of the Animal Kingdom. Mayhew has been listed in Who’s Who in American Art since 2006, and he was inducted as a signature member of the National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters in 2007. His undergraduate studies were done at the University of Michigan and he received a doctorate in 1978 from Wayne State University. To expand on his formal education, Mayhew studied with some of the finest living masters of art. For several years he studied with the renowned animal painter, Bob Kuhn, to learn how to depict animals in their natural environment and he studied landscape painting en plein air from Clyde Aspevig and Matt Smith.
Left side study of a trumpeter swan standing in water
Three head studies of a male wild turkey
Three head studies of sandhill cranes
Four studies of a black-crowned night heron
In the fall of 2019 I was in Jackson Hole after the Western Visions exhibition at the National Museum of Wildlife Art and was doing field studies of the wildlife and landscapes in the region. I also wanted to do some field studies in the Yellowstone National Park so I drove up there at 4 am in order to arrive before sunrise.
Although my goal was to study the elk herds along the Madison River, I have learned to always be on the lookout for other fascinating creatures along my route. By the time I was passing the Old Faithful area it was getting light enough to see the landscape draped in warm predawn colors. Driving along the Firehole River, I spied a lone Trumpeter swan standing in the shallows in the fast moving current.
The elk would have to wait, because I knew not to pass up such a perfect sighting as an elegant Trumpeter swan in a beautiful setting in the warm sunrise lighting. I pulled off the road and spent the next few hours studying the swan patiently going through its morning routine of preening and other fascinating behavior patterns, all drenched in the beauty of the early morning light. I created many drawings on this field trip, as well as small en plein air oil studies of the river and its surrounding landscape. All of these valuable reference materials were used back in the studio to create this oil painting that I named, Morning Trumpet, in honor of this experience.
Left side study of a trumpeter swan standing in water:
This is one of the field studies I did of a lone trumpeter swan standing in the shallows of the Firehole River at sunrise. It was used as the compositional drawing for the oil painting, Morning trumpet, which is also in this exhibition. This drawing was done in natural black chalk and natural white chalk, which are traditional drawing materials used by old master artists from the late 14th century until the first half of the 19th century. The natural chalks were fully-formed in nature, quarried from the earth, sawn into rod like shapes with a sharpened end, and traditionally held in a holder made of reed for drawing.
For the past four decades I have done extensive research into the traditional drawing materials and techniques of the old masters and have been able to locate specimens of these natural chalks to use for my own drawings. I have been invited to lecture on the various traditional drawing materials and techniques used by old master artists at several major museums that have large collections of old master drawings and have published a total of five manuscripts on my research into the nature of these materials.
In June of 2018, I began work with the Cleveland Museum of Art as a consultant for an important exhibition entitled, Michelangelo: Mind of the Master, which ran from September 22, 2019 to January 5, 2020, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and from February 25th to June 7, 2020 at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. As part the exhibition to educate the public about the drawing techniques and materials used during Michelangelo’s time I contributed to a didactic display case that contained specimens of five different natural chalks, the traditional tools use to draw with them, traditional metalpoint drawing materials, as well as prepared and unprepared antique papers, all of which were on loan from my personal collection.