Native Arkansan and Decades-Long Experienced Artist and Photographer
Natural vistas, vivid sunsets, striking wildlife – these are all showcased and celebrated in the artistic work of native Arkansan and decades-long experienced photographer, Clint Murchison. Born and raised in Arkansas, Murchison has always been naturally drawn to art, including oil painting, pen and ink drawings, etching, woodworking, metalworking, and of course, photography, as a means of creative expression. In fact, he first began to paint and draw when he was only five years old, and as his mother would recount, he created his very first piece on the side of her piano. Clearly his eye for artistry began at a young age.
Murchison graduated high school in 1990, attended Arkansas State University at Beebe, Arkansas, then joined the National Guard for six years. During that time period, he also graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas, in 1996, where he majored in Graphic Design and minored in Technology. From when Murchison was a young student, his talent was recognized with art awards for his work, including first, second, and third placings for paintings when he was only a young teenager. He continued to garner awards later in high school, with a first place for a drawing of a duck, as well as other awards, and then in college, where he was recognized with both first and second place for oil paintings, and first place in the pen and ink division.
After college, he continued the pursuit of his passion for the arts and soon discovered woodworking and metalworking. Woodworking led to designing handcrafted duck calls for several years, where he would shape the pieces out of wood and then accentuate them with a variety of painted or drawn images based on people’s interests. Many times, these paintings and drawings took the form of nature scenes or wildlife, whether it was ducks or even favorite college mascots reimagined. With metalworking, he purchased a welder in order to craft his pieces; another favorite type of medium he learned around this time period is etching, which is a process of printmaking. Whatever type of stylistic interpretation, Murchison notes that he has sought out and tried his hand at most every category of art. These artistic avenues he discovered and then set about mastering proved to be even more ways for him to harness his creative side and in turn follow his passion that began at such an early age and he has now carried throughout his life.
Photography is another medium he became enamored with early in his life. Murchison began to pursue photography seriously around 1994, while still in college. However, he was first introduced to it by his father as well as one of his uncles, and he learned basic photography tools and techniques from them, such as developing pictures, along with how to take black-and-white photographs. The remainder of his photography training is largely self-taught, driven by his regard for artistry and craftmanship.
His work and process eventually and naturally evolved through the years; currently, his photographs are shot entirely on digital with a Canon camera. Murchison appreciates digital because it allows him to immediately review his shots, decide in the moment what is working and what is not and make adjustments, as well as magnify, delete, edit, and more on the spot. His favorite subjects and the theme that ties his work together are wildlife and nature; indeed, that is what the majority of his photographic work centers on as he finds it relaxing and peaceful; however, he also has experience with wedding photography.
Since he lives in the countryside and is an outdoorsman and hunter, he often carries his camera with him at the ready. Much of the time, his inspiration stems from “what hits me at the moment: the sun may just be right hitting a tree or casting shadows across some scene, and …I just happened to be there at the right moment of the day.” Having a creative eye to capture his natural surroundings in photographic form, Murchison likes to choose his subjects and themes at the “spur of the moment and capturing scenes as they are.” Whether that is a bird in flight, a squirrel atop a branch, or a bright sunset at the end of the day, they are all captured by his camera through his unique and artistic perspective.
Two of his favorite photographic works that are currently for sale at Schmidt Fine Art Gallery are one of a dove flying in the snow and another of a doe standing in a sunlit grassy field. Both of these photographs feature wildlife in their element and urge the viewer to stop and survey their beauty.
As noted, Murchison’s process is often one of chance. For the dove in snow, Murchison captured the image while snowed in at home. He had filled up the bird feeders in his front yard, and from his vantage point, he was able to take several photographs as the birds were landing on the feeders and approaching him in flight until he was happy with the end result.
For the photograph of the deer, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time; Murchison likes to take his camera with him and photograph his surroundings while in his deer stand. This day, he happened to see a deer crossing below him in the early morning and knew the minute he took the image that the picture he got was what he was trying to achieve. “Everything just worked out, the sun, the way the deer posed…Everything was all natural,” he describes. He especially likes how the photograph of the deer highlights the fact that the animal and its grassy surroundings are almost the same color, creating a natural camouflage.
Murchison’s future photography plans include continuing his pursuit of capturing nature scenes and wildlife images as that is his main passion. He believes people are drawn to his photographic work because of a shared appreciation for nature as well as the peacefulness that the landscapes and wildlife images evoke.