Adair Payne is a native of rural Northern California. He began painting the local countryside at an early age, being commissioned by local collectors and landowners. As a youth, he was compelled to speak for the land, calling attention to the natural world around him.
In 1984 he received a BFA from Brigham Young University, specializing in graphic design. After years of design work in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Phoenix, he still longed for brush in hand and transitioned into a career in commercial illustration, specializing in lavishly-illustrated story maps for corporate clients as well as the tourism industry. A short list of his favorite clients includes Crystal Cruises, Visa, Intel, Honda, Chrysler, Delta Airlines, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola.
In more recent years, Payne's career has come full-circle back to his roots, now focusing his energy entirely on painting his native landscape. His objective is to record the visual impressions of a rich, unique, and gentle land that is quickly becoming increasingly developed and exploited.
Consistently, Payne's finished art has a pervasive sense of tranquility, reverence for the natural world, and often an element of solitude and retreat. The play of light is key in his work. Typically, very early morning light and very late sunlight are his preference, although he's also fascinated with the moodiness of fog and California's seasonal thick, humid atmosphere.
While the artist is essentially self-taught as a painter, his approach to painting has evolved over a lifetime, influenced and informed by years as a graphic designer and illustrator. A viewer may first notice the artist's attention to detail. However, the overall design, the visual energy of the composition and its emotional impact are his key concerns as he begins work. He is equally versatile in watercolor and acrylic, but his large landscape work is always executed in oil since it provides the ideal working properties for his preferred subject matter.