Jon Crane

Artist of the Black Hills member Jon Crane

I work in transparent watercolor on paper.  This medium allows me to express what I have seen.  It is a delicate medium with soft tonalities.  Whites and light colors are achieved by allowing the paper base to shine through the transparent pigments.  No white paint is used.  As romantic sounding as it may be, painting en plein air is not very practical for me, so most of my work is done in a studio.  My work often involves hundreds of hours, and sitting in an Illinois cornfield in a snowstorm just would not work.  As a result, photographic reference material plays an important part of my work.  My subjects are of real places that I have visited and enjoyed.  This is where I live and what I paint.  It is what I love.  It offers a peacefulness that I fear won't last.

I have two great studios.  One overlooks a creek in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  The other is in Ed, our all wheel drive motor home that overlooks many great places where my wife Gail and I camp.  Both provide controlled environments and good lighting.  Both provide a sense of calmness and a relaxed atmosphere.   When the tranquility of my environment transfers to my painting, I have accomplished what I have set out to do.

Jon Crane art is known for a subtle and realistic treatment of subjects from rural America in transparent watercolor.  Using washes and a dry brush technique, he captures with exquisite detail nostalgic landscapes from all around America.  Claiming the trademark of "Art That Takes You Home," Jon's paintings evoke emotions of familiarity and belonging among his collectors ad admirers.  

Born on November 18, 1948 in Morristown, New Jersey, Jon discovered the West as a teenager on a family trip and resolved to return there at the earliest possible moment.  That moment arrived in 1967, when he left the crowded East to attend college at the University of Northern Colorado, where he earned a B.A. in Fine Arts in 1971.  After graduation, he spent the next five years as an Air Force pilot, logging combat missions in Southeast Asia.  He returned to civilian life in 1975 after being stationed at Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City, SD.  Enthralled by the beauty of the Black Hills, he remained there to begin his art career.  Now, after 35 years as a watercolor artist, Jon still lives in the Black Hills with Gail, his wife and traveling companion, in a home and studio near a secluded trout stream.  

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Chapel in the Hills
The Stavkirke in Rapid City, South Dakota
click on image to enlarge