Paul Mudersbach Acrylics and Oils
Exhibited March and April of 2007

       Birdwatchers and painters alike know Boyce Thompson Arboretum as one of their favorite places in Arizona. Just ask Mesa artist Paul Mudersbach, who seeks inspiration for both pastimes here at the Arboretum. He carefully observes colorful species such as the Red-naped Sapsucker shown at right in his acrylic "Olive Treat," then renders the charismatic bird in feather-crisp detail on canvas.

       "My painting style tends toward realism, but not photo-realism," he explains. "And most of the time I prefer the tighter setting of being in-studio rather than plein air. Working in the studio seems best for my method of painting, where I can switch back and forth between various pieces while they're in progress. Sometimes plein air painting and drawing feels just right, though; being loose, quick and impressionistic."

       Mudersbach's work was the subject of a solo exhibition in our Visitor Center Gallery during March and April, 2007.

      "My paintings use a color pallet of muted earth tones, with just a touch of real color. When I see a TV cowboy riding the range wearing a spotless white shirt, it looks out-of-place and I feel the same way about color selection in my artwork. I want my artwork to look believable. Really, with the exception of birds and flowers, very little in life is brightly colored." The painting at left is titled "Yucca glauca: Circle of Life" (16-by-20 inches).

       "I'm inspired by the interaction of external forces; the way light and shadow play against an object in the wind. I mentally bend and twist and manipulate my ideas for a painting into an abstract composition. This is also my first rough layout on paper: I try to balance form against negative space, always looking for an edge, something unique about the subject that grabbed my interest in the first place. The next step is turning my attention towards a layout that shows specific details of my main subjects: the who, what, when, where, why and how of the piece. Once I know how my subjects are going to be placed, I come up with a light and shadow plan. And then last I'll decide how to create the background. Depth or no depth is the big question when selecting a background: the lighting is weighed against a background and my final layout comes into view.... although I just might change it again before I finish the painting!"

      Mudersbach was born and raised in Phoenix and now lives in Mesa, just west of the Superstition Mountains. He's an avid outdoorsman with a versatile artistic ability that has evolved since childhood and is expressed by his passion for Southwestern desert plants and wildlife. His work melds interests in landscape, Old West and frontier scenes; along with Native American themes, Spanish missions, flora and fauna - particularly birds. The painting at right is "Monsoon Over Red Mountain Peaks" (60-by-48 inches).

       "I was given my first professional oil painting set when I was eight. It had everything in a large wooden case. It was fantastic; I just loved every minute of the whole experience -- even stretching the canvas. My main philosophy as a young artist was to experiment with paint, and to draw all the time. I often studied other artists' paintings and tried to copy small parts of their work... striving to learn how other artists solved problems. When I was 14 I received my first commission to produce 11 paintings for an office building... I was thrilled, and petrified at the same time!"

      "Traveling the back roads of Arizona with my father gave me a taste for the Old West, an interest that seems to have lasted through the years. From the Rocky Mountains to Death Valley you can be face-to-face with wildlife and cacti, or walk through the occasional ghost town. You can still see pronghorn antelope on the Painted Desert, Gila Monsters on the caliche flats and birds of every description in all desert ecosystems. I continued my painting through college and dabbled in sculptures, woodcuts, and watercolors, but always enjoyed oil painting the most. Years later I began to work on a few acrylics and found them just as rewarding as oils, but with many differences in the way pigments must be handled."

"My desire to express myself through art seems at times to be an obsession... always planning a drawing, painting or sculpture. I'll be driving down the street and find myself mentally working on aspects of the underpainting, or some detail of a particular subject, or maybe thinking about a drawing or design layout. Sometimes I complete a painting mentally before I even choose a brush in the studio; other times I'll mentally paint and repaint the fine details of a subject. I can see it as clearly as if it were real, and on the canvas."

       "I never want to stop learning and creating. My objective, as an artist, is to capture reality without sensationalizing it. I need to capture the moment, the mood, the spirit.... to give the viewer the essence of that moment, but also to keep the painting loose enough for the viewer to interpret the moment as if it were your own -- your moment of passion and exhilaration, of joy and fulfillment, to be re-lived each time you see it."

       Original works in this exhibit ranged in price from $672 (16-by-20 inches) to $4,586 for an impressive piece measuring 60-by-48 inches. Giclee Canvas prints were available from $68 (11-by-14) to $875 (52-by-42). Festival prints were available from $18 for an 8-by-10 to $32 for an 11-by-14. Postcards and note cards were also available. To view more works or inquire about prices and commissioned works by the artist, visit his website

       Boyce Thompson Arboretum is located at Highway 60 milepost #223, just three miles west of the town of Superior - a drive of about one hour east of Phoenix or two hours from Tucson (take Oracle Road North to Highway 79 past Florence to Highway 60, then East for another 12 miles). Monthly exhibits may be seen at our Visitors Center gallery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during Fall and Winter months (Summer hours 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.). The Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where the gallery is found. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Annual memberships at the Arboretum begin at $45, and include a year's access, guest passes for your friends and family, along with many other benefits. A membership may be purchased in the gift shop on the day of your visit. To review other recent gallery shows from...

February, 2007 CLICK HERE
December, 2006 - January, 2007 CLICK HERE
November, 2006 CLICK HERE
October, 2006 CLICK HERE
September, 2006 CLICK HERE
July-August, 2006 CLICK HERE
June-July, 2006 CLICK HERE
April-May, 2006 CLICK HERE
March, 2006 CLICK HERE
February, 2006 CLICK HERE
January, 2006 CLICK HERE
December, 2005 CLICK HERE
November, 2005 CLICK HERE
October, 2005 CLICK HERE
September, 2005 CLICK HERE
July/August, 2005 CLICK HERE
June/July, 2005 CLICK HERE
May, 2005 CLICK HERE
April, 2005 CLICK HERE
March, 2005 CLICK HERE
February, 2005 CLICK HERE
January, 2005 CLICK HERE
December, 2004 CLICK HERE