Martin Grelle In his Studio
Whether painting the Native Americans in a dramatic, picturesque setting, or the American cowboy in the dusty cattle-working pens, Martin Grelle captures the spirit, beauty, and vastness of the West in his historically-accurate, compelling images. Grelle studies diligently to portray the diverse cultures of the American West accurately and with sensitivity. His knowledge of the cowboy's way of life, gained from his time spent horseback on ranches during the annual Cowboy Artists of America's (CAA) trail ride, as well as the time spent with local ranchers and friends, is evident in his contemporary cowboy paintings. The many hours spent in museums, at historical re-enactments, in visiting with experts on Native American culture, and reading from his extensive library, have helped him to bring his vision of the Plains Indian culture to life on canvas.
Winter Quest Tribute Signs along the Snake From proxy.baremetal.com Teller of Tales From somersetfineart.com In 1995, Grelle is one of the youngest active members and won the People’s Choice Award at the CAA exhibition in October 2002. Grelle’s painting, Teller of Tales, received the top award at the 2002 Prix de West Invitational held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and was chosen for inclusion in the museum’s permanent collection. The artist is represented by Overland Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he has enjoyed one-man shows each March since 1989. Quote: “I thank God for the ability and the opportunities He has given me, and I hope I can continue to grow and learn more with each finished painting. I am honored by everyone who collects my work, and I will always strive to create artwork worthy of their attention and their investment.”
Like Wolves in the Night
When Crow Hunt Geese
Images from FAR WEST FORUM at farwest.it
Martin Grelle (pronounced: gree-lee) was influenced by terrific Western artists like James Boren and Melvin Warren. It was Boren that saw the potential and gave Martin the confidence to be a full time artist. In 1995, Martin Grelle became a member of the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America and he says, "I know that my association with them has been a catalyst for growth that I may not have known otherwise." In 2005, Grelle became one of five artists to have ever won the coveted Prix de West Purchase Award twice. He's also won multiple People's Choice Awards at the show. These awards are major collection factors.
While his Indian scenes are more coveted than his Cowboy scenes, there's still a very strong demand for both subject matters. The overwhelming demand and limited supply contribute to the collectability of Grelle's works. More importantly, his dedication to research, exploration of historical and social aspects of the new and old West and understanding of the people and landscapes he paints is unmistakable when confronted with his paintings. While Grelle paints in both oil and acrylic, he paints with moderate detail, emphasizing texture and color to create visual imagery and light and shadow for dramatic effect. Whether it's the splashes of color, familiar landscapes, or Martin's intimate knowledge of horses, it's hard to not stop and be taken away while standing in front of Grelle's big paintings. Just when you don't think you're not going to see any more progression, Martin continues to challenge himself by taking on more difficult compositions or adding more figures to steer your eye around the canvas.
Martin Grelle lives with his wife, Terri, and their children near the small, Central Texas town of Clifton, just a few miles from where he was born. Rich in beauty and history, the area has become a mecca for artists, which is one reason why the artist has spent his whole life there. Many of his closest friends are artists, and they gather to see each other’s work, exchange ideas, and just “shoot the breeze”. Grelle treasures the camaraderie among these artist friends and the rare opportunity it affords him. Grelle’s work reaches far beyond his Texas home conveying the spirit, drama, beauty and vastness of the American West. Whether painting a Native American in a dramatic setting or a working cowboy on the range, he captures the essence of the West in his historically-accurate, picturesque, peaceful, yet compelling, images. He enjoys the Cowboy Artists of America’s trail ride each year, and manages to spend some time occasionally working cattle with local friends. He is proud of the Native American part of his ancestry and studies diligently to portray their culture accurately and sensitively.
Offering to the River Spirit
Grelle is able to take even the most mundane daily task and elevate it to a new level in each painting. This is particularly true in Peaceful Morn as the pair pause to allow the horse to drink. Grelle captures them in the most intimate and dramatic setting, giving it all an overwhelming sense of peace. Sometimes he adds a note of humor as in Offering to the River Spirit where the Asparoke are indeed giving an offering, but rather than offering a piece of their own finery, they are offering the River Spirit something captured from an enemy tribe – something special, but not integral to their own existence. He has studied, traveled widely, and sought subject matter throughout the American West. Working primarily in oils on canvas, Grelle marries his figures with the landscape in a painterly style rich in vibrant color. Grelle has been profiled in many publications, including Southwest Art, American Cowboy, Art of the West, Western Horseman, The Equine Image, Art Talk, Persimmon Hill, and InformArt. His work has also been featured on the covers of several magazines and on various historical novels published by the University of Nebraska Press. Elected to the Cowboy Artists of America.