Oil paintings by

John W. Grow

About the Artist

Durango artist John Grow portrays nontraditional subjects with classic realism. The award winning scholar and filmmaker has won eight Best of Show Awards for his symbolic/whimsical paintings of people. Other subjects include archaeological reconstructions, historic Colorado railroads, and contemporary small town life. John Grow studied Art at Northwestern University. His studio has been in the Four Corners region of southwestern Colorado since 1978.


2011 to 2012, I painted a set of symbolic images called "flora befora, a barefoot visit to the Existentialist Garden".

The collection for 2013-2014 will feature intimate views of Colorado streams.

Press Clippings:

Durango Herald Friday, November 12, 2010 by Stew Mosberg

”As a creator of classically painted allegorical images, John Grow has few equals...John’s insight and knowledge, whether depicted on canvas or in conversation, can startle the listener or viewer. Talking to Grow is like studying one of his metaphor laden oils: inch by inch the details present themselves; subtleties and nuances emerge in conversation as it does in his art. Both reveal great depth, introspection and a bit of whimsy, perhaps even some sarcasm or self-deprecation mixed in along with the dammar varnish.

The titles of his work seem personal, but like a word puzzle, they can suggest a path to interpretation. The art is so detailed in places that it evokes awe and wonder: The faces of the young women are fresh and lovely with a hint of some secret knowledge. The symbolic themes tell a story, but their mean ƒing might be obscure, with only a nod and a wink alluding the real subject. ...Yet the most arresting elements of his work - that grabs viewers by the lapels and shakes their platitudes - are his technical facility and the photographic exactitude of his brushwork. His talent is so exquisite that Grow makes the implausible believable.”

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The Durango Telegraph January 19, 2006 by Jules Masterjohn

”Through whimsy and impeccable skill, Grow lures us into a world of both personal and the universal possibilities. His painting hints at life’s nagging mysteries and the option that there may be bigger forces at play. He writes, “The angels/faeries are the messengers who accomplish the mysterious transitions from potential to “real”. They are the leading edge of becoming”.

Known over the last 25 years for making exacting paintings of trains and landscapes, Grow has, in last few years, let his inner child come out to play. Clearly confident with his facility as a realistic painter, Grow now combines perfected skills with his light-hearted, thoughtfully informed visions as an artist.”

Durango Herald Tuesday, January 10, 2006 by Patricia Miller

”Cecil, (juror John Cecil, exhibition designer for the National Hispanic Cultural Center), chose John Grow’s oil painting “In The Beginning Was The Word” as Best of Show...This picture belies any theory that this is an experimental show. It couldn’t be more trad...showing 17 tightly painted angels flying through clouds with 12 dinosaurs. They’re surrounded with symbolic alphabet blocks, a birthday cake, a golden egg, a globe and a book. Everything old is new again.

It’s the imagination informing Grow’s images that make his paintings head-turners...And he has the drawing and painting skills that allow him to realize his images.”

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