"As an artist, I see the eyes, broad colors, the impression of life and its surroundings. A memory, a recollection of an encounter, not too much detail, just enough to suggest what I thought I saw, just enough to let you, the viewer, fill in the details from your own memories. The Montana landscape is constantly changing—the light fleeting and the weather unpredictable, the awe inspiring lasts only moments—capturing that special moment challenges the artist in me.”
In 2011 Paul Tunkis revived his interest in painting and drawing after 27 years of living in Montana. Combining his artistic skills with his years of experience as a hunting and fishing guide in Montana and the West, Paul paints Montana’s landscape and wildlife in his chosen media of transparent watercolor and graphite pencil on Arches cotton hot press paper.
Paul grew up on a ranch in Northern California. After studying art and architecture at the University of Oregon, Paul went on to study drawing and painting at Leighton Studios in San Francisco, California with Thomas Leighton & Marjorie Lester Leighton. Thomas Leighton was an expatriate Englishmen trained at England’s Royal Academy of Arts. He taught for more than 25 years in art schools and colleges in Canada and the U.S. Marjorie Lester Leighton was an illustrator for National Geographic and other international publications.
Paul’s lifelong experience as a naturalist, hunter and angler has taught him that one is not only an observer but a participant in nature. Paul strives to captures the momentary presence of wildlife - always in motion, coming and going in an instant. He desires to portray the memory of an experience, suggesting just enough of what was seen to allow the viewer to fill in the details from their own memories and dreams.
In 2013, Paul was recognized by the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, MT as their “ Montana Emerging Artist of the Year”. In 2014 he won the “Creative Catalyst” award at “Watermedia 2014”, the Montana Watercolor Society’s yearly National Exhibition. In 2015 he was awarded Artist-in-Residence for the Upper Missouri Breaks Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Monument. In 2016 one of his thirty watercolors from his Upper Missouri Breaks Artist-in-Residence was picked to represent the National BLM Conservation Lands Program on their poster. In 2017 Paul became a Signature Member of the Montana Watercolor Society.