“In the past, I would have an idea for a painting and hold to that idea through to the finish. I could pretty much see the end result before I started. There were no surprises. But now my understanding of the process is that the idea is just the first impulse. From that first impulse forward, improvisation takes over. The end result is not about that first idea, but is instead a record of all those impulses along the way. Each stroke of paint carries emotion and power.”
Walt grew up in Irvington, New Jersey, He studied for three years at an art school in Newark and, after that, three more years of study at the Frank Reilly School of Art. He started his art career as a free-lance artist as a men’s fashion illustrator. After a trip to visit his sister in Taos in 1971, he decided to move here and leave the fashion industry which was transitioning from illustrations to photography.
“My best work comes when I’m able to give up control, to trust my impulses. Then the painting takes on a life of it’s own. When I don’t know what is going to happen next, the process becomes full of surprise and wonder.”
Walt has been featured in numerous publications dating back to 1976. In 2007 he held a one man show at the Taos Art Musuem and Fechin House. His paintings are included in notable collections including the Eiteljorg and The Gilcrease Museum.
Joseph Christopher Morel was born in 1958 in rural Maryland. Encouraged by his parents with paper, pencil, paints and brushes, Chris pursued his artistic interests at a very early age. His father was an X Ray tech and would bring home sheets of yellow paper that were used to separate X-ray film. These were his first sketch books.
The verdant rolling farmland and rustic structures nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains offered powerful inspiration and the subject matter for his earliest work.
As a young man working outside on farms he was fascinated with the forms and shapes of the landscape. The atmospheric moods of his Mid-Atlantic homeland were embedded into his psyche inspiring him to pursue an artist’s life.
Chris graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Towson University in the Baltimore area and immediately began working in the printing industry as a graphic artist. He was impressed with the complexity and structure of creating publications from concept to a final printed product. He became art director at a Washington DC based printing firm. He was also pursuing his musical interests in bands as a guitarist playing in and around the Baltimore area.
In 1985 Morel moved to Austin Texas taking a position with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a staff illustrator all the while painting in his studio at home. The illustrator position allowed Chris to illustrate in many different mediums ranging from watercolor, airbrush, oil, acrylic, pencil etc.
In 1988 Morel decided to leave the TPWD and pursue a full-time career as a painter. In Austin Morel began his fine art career primarily as a watercolorist, transitioning eventually to oils as his primary medium.
1994 he moved with his family to Taos and opened the Morel Gallery next to the Historic St. Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, NM. Upon arriving in Taos, Morel began to paint primarily outside, on location in the spectacular Northern NM high desert region. The massive scale of the Taos landscape, the rich artistic tradition of the Taos Society painters and the legendary Taos light provided the best environment for his continued development as an artist.
The tall peaks of the Rockies in New Mexico, Colorado and north through Montana, the canyons and mesas of Utah and Arizona to the west, and the Oak covered hills of California have been a source of much of Chris’s work. Morel has also painted extensively throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Northeast, into Mexico and abroad capturing the landscapes of the regions and celebrating the incredible experience of the “artist” life.