Shaw’s art captures the beauty of the world
How many local artists can say their artwork graced the walls of a former president’s home? Local artist, A.D. Shaw can.
“Ed Haggar, an owner and executive of the Haggar clothing company was a friend of President and Barbara Bush, and when the president left office in 1993 to live in a new home in Houston, Ed purchased one of my paintings entitled The Family Reunion as a house-warming gift for the Bushes,” said Shaw. “The painting was purchased through the Coda Gallery in Palm Desert, California, and one evening in Palm Springs, at a fundraiser dinner, Connie and David Katz, owners of Coda Gallery, found themselves seated at a table next to George and Barbara. The ensuing conversation turned to discussing the painting and President Bush turned his place mat over and wrote me a thank you note. As part of the provenance, I have copies of the emails Mr. Haggar and the president sent to each other regarding the painting.”
He was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, but Shaw’s family eventually moved to Utah during the second World War. According to Shaw, his dad was too old to enlist, so he became a defense worker at U.S. Steel’s Geneva Works plant in Orem.
His dad had a choice between Utah and Alabama, and the decision was based on the flip of a coin. That was fortuitous for Shaw. After leaving defense work, his dad wanted to return to his farming roots and moved his family to the Montwell/Cedarview in Duchesne County.
Shaw studied commercial and graphic arts in school, which led to an extremely successful career in commercial graphic design and printing before taking the leap of faith to pursue his art full time.
“The decision to leave my well-paying job at the Jordan School District in 1984 to become a full time artist was a joint one between my wife, Ina Lee, and me, Shaw said. “It was scary because of the uncertainty, but it was one of the best we ever made. Throughout my career as an artist Ina Lee has been by my side as my partner, to help me, to give me moral support and encouragement. Every trip we took to attend receptions for gallery shows, we took together, and they were the highlights of the year and not one did I do without her. Her talent as a writer has been invaluable in preparing promotional material. She was often my best critic.”
Shaw met his wife-to-be when they were teenagers. Shaw and Ina laughed when he shared the story of their first date.
“We were maybe 15 and she took me out to steal watermelons,” he said.
They were married at 18 and just recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June. In 1995 they moved back to the Montwell homestead and have lived there since.
A.D. has received many awards and honors throughout his career. In 1988, Shaw was accepted into the Plein-Air Society of Northern California. In 1997, he received the prestigious Governor’s Artist Award, given by then-Utah governor, Michael O. Leavitt. In 1998, he received the Purchase Prize from the Dixie Invitational Art Show.
His artwork graces the walls of many homes throughout the United States.
The Southam Gallery, one of a number of galleries that has exhibited Shaw’s artwork, has been a purveyor of his work for the last 30 years.
“He is truly one of the finest painters of his generation,” according to Southam. “His art is a gift to the viewer, celebrating the splendor and light of the landscape, children at play, dogs frolicking, folks interacting, and heavenly trees….humanity at its finest. Lucky you, if you have one of his wonderful paintings.”
The art world, at first blush, presents itself as a close-knit community, and it is. Shaw’s mentors and friends include brothers Ken and Dan Baxter, Ian Ramsay, Kathryn Stats, too many to name individually. He also works with a group of en plein air painters in the Basin.
En plein air is another way of saying painting outdoors.
They get together when the weather is agreeable to paint and to enjoy each other’s company.
Shaw has a Ken Baxter work among the acquired paintings in his collection.
“Ken was married to a girl from Indonesia I think, Bali, but I’m not sure,” Shaw said. “One day he said I’m going to go there (Indonesia) for a few weeks and paint, but I don’t have enough money to do it he said. So if you could advance me money I’ll pay you back with a painting, so I did.”
The painting hangs in his living room, nestled among artwork of his fellow artist friends.
“I love the process of art, recognizing the challenges and solving the problems that each painting poses,” Shaw said. “How well you meet these challenges determine the success of each piece and how well its message is conveyed. Whether we’re cognizant of it or not, our art reflects our views on life.”
One of Shaw’s pieces titled “The Storyteller” has a spot of honor at the local library. Shaw says Beverly Evans purchased it and donated it to the library.
It was one of two titled “The Storyteller” that he painted years ago. The piece hanging in the library is of Joyce Powell, who used to be a local storyteller and volunteered at the old library.
“To sum up my life in one paragraph, ‘My strength is my faith, my joy is my wife and sweetheart of 70 years and our beautiful family,’” Shaw said. “A big bundle of friends I’ve gathered in for nine decades.To live in a nation that has given me the freedom to pursue a career that I’m passionate about, and to be continually amazed at the beauty of this world.”@Scoop/Photo Credit:Kate Belcher
A.D. Shaw talks with budding artist Abby Collier. Shaw says he loves to share his knowledge with young artists.@Scoop/Photo-Credit:A.D. Shaw
Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were gifted this painting by A.D. Shaw as a house-warming gift when they settled in Houston after leaving the White House.@Scoop/Photo-Credit:Kate Belcher
A.D. Shaw’s latest work titled “Nauvoo.”@Scoop/PullQuote:“His art is a gift to the viewer, celebrating the splendor and light of the landscape, children at play, dogs frolicking, folks interacting, and heavenly trees….humanity at its finest.”@Scoop/Photo-Credit:Kate Belcher
Joyce Powell said she was honored to be asked to pose for this painting by A.D. Shaw.