Whether painting the Native Americans in a dramatic, picturesque setting or the working cowboy peacefully on the range, Martin Grelle captures the spirit, beauty, and vastness of the West in his historically-accurate, compelling images. Grelle is proud of his Native American ancestry and studies diligently to portray their culture accurately and sensitively. The artist also has an intimate knowledge of the cowboy’s way of life; each year he enjoys the Cowboy Artists of America’s (CAA) trail ride and spends time occasionally working cattle with local friends. Grelle has the incredible ability to take the most mundane, daily tasks of his subjects and elevate them to a new level in each painting.
Grelle was born just a few miles from the small, Central Texas town of Clifton, which he calls home today. This beautiful and historic area has become a Mecca for artists, which has always kept his heart close to the land of his ancestors. Many of Grelle’s closest friends are artists. Happy hours of camaraderie are spent gathering to look at each other’s work, exchanging ideas, and enjoying everyone’s company. Grelle treasures this feeling of community and the opportunities he is afforded living in such a creative environment.
The artist’s talents were evident as a child and he began painting at an early age. Luckily for the budding painter, acclaimed Western artists James Boren and Melvin Warren had settled in the same area while he was in school. With such excellent guidance from these masters, a full-time artist was born in his early twenties. Grelle has studied and traveled widely to seek material and subject matter for his outstanding paintings of the American West. Working primarily in oils on canvas, the artist’s figures and landscape become one in a painterly style rich in vibrant color and narrative.
Grelle's work reaches far beyond his Texas home conveying the spirit, drama, beauty and vastness of the American West. Whether painting a Native American in a dramatic setting or a working cowboy on the range, he captures the essence of the West in his historically-accurate, picturesque, peaceful, yet compelling, art, prints and posters. He enjoys the Cowboy Artists of America's trail ride each year, and manages to spend some time occasionally working cattle with local friends. He is proud of the Native American part of his ancestry and studies diligently to portray their culture accurately and sensitively. Grelle is able to take even the most mundane daily task and elevate it to a new level in each painting.
Grelle was elected to the Cowboy Artists of America in 1995, and he is one of the youngest, active members. He won the CAA People’s Choice Award in 2002 with his painting, Monarchs of the North.* Also in 2002, Grelle’s painting, Teller of Tales, received the top award at the Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. In 2004 at the annual Prix de West Invitational, his painting, Signs Along the Snake, won the Nona Jean Hulsey Ramsey Buyer’s Choice Award for the Most Popular Work of Art and was chosen for inclusion in the museum’s permanent collection. 2005 also brought more acclaim with Two Coups capturing the Prix de West Purchase Award. In early 2007, his painting, Paradise Lost,* was chosen to appear in the silent bid portion of the Masters of the American West at the Autry National Center. The artist is represented by Overland Gallery of Fine Art where a one-man show is held each March; the 2008 show will mark Grelle’s 20th anniversary with the gallery.
The artist has been profiled in many publications and his work has been featured on the covers of several magazines including Southwest Art, American Cowboy, Art of the West, Western Horseman, The Equine Image, and Persimmon Hill.
The artist and his family cherish their rural life near Clifton and feel very fortunate to live in such an idyllic setting. Grelle says humbly, “I thank God for the ability and the opportunities He has given me, and I hope I can continue to grow and learn more with each finished painting. I am honored by everyone who collects my work, and I will always strive to create artwork worthy of their attention and their investment.”
paintings will be published in giclče editions in 2008