Joshua Baird is an oil painter whose primary subjects are the animals and landscape of the Southwestern United States. Baird is a former high school teacher and he holds two degrees from Southern Oregon University. He was profiled previously on The Krakens for his inventive series Animal Facetime. He lives with his family in Southern Utah.
You like to paint landscapes. How does your art connect you to Mother Nature? Making art is my way of studying and processing my interaction with the natural world. When I was growing up I went through phases where I would become obsessed by natural phenomena. I would draw dinosaurs repetitively, and then I’d move to whales, then birds of prey, then volcanoes, and so on.
I’ve been living in the Colorado Plateau and studying it through my art for many years. This place is so beautiful it’s overwhelming! It’s beyond description with awe-inspiring colors, curious geologic formations and spacious vistas. Sublime is the best word for such a place! The process of geologic creation is evident everywhere you go. The landscape changes with each season and time of day and best of all there is a constantly changing skyscape. This place is endlessly inspiring and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface with my artistic exploration.
You taught art to high school students. How has the role as teacher changed you as an artist? Currently I’m a full-time artist, but previously I taught art for nine years at Kanab High school. I probably learned more from my students than they learned from me. I learned a lot about communication, patience, managing expectations, organization and most important that we have a lot more in common as humans than we think. It was also very interesting to see how my students reacted to pre-modern, modern and post modern artwork. The most significant thing I learned in my time teaching was the importance of clarity. There is a learning theory that states, that anything can be understood as long as it is presented in a clear and logical sequence. Art relies on clarity as much as a room full of teenagers! Clarity of intent and clarity of vision are as important to an artists career as visual clarity is to the image.