Richard Burke grew up in central Oregon and the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana. From his earliest memories he was absorbed with discovering and drawing everything in the natural world. The beauty, tranquility and drama of the mountains and forests have always captivated him. Exploring countless wild places instilled in him a poignant desire to capture and communicate fleeting light and ever-changing atmospheric conditions; a longing to hold to that experience and appreciate it forever. In painting, he desires to seize and revere nature’s ever varying harmonies of light and space. For Richard, an early morning spent on a forested stream bank is the ideal retreat.
Considered a self-taught artist, Richard’s formal education was in Religious Studies. He worked as a minister for almost two decades, but he continued painting, carving and sculpting in every available moment. For years Richard carved decoys for Ducks Unlimited and captured many bird species in wood sculpture. Eventually it occurred to him, if he had a day where he could do anything in the world, he would go to the mountains and paint. It was his desire to focus on painting landscapes fulltime which pulled Richard away from all other pursuits. Currently, he is fully dedicated to painting landscapes in oil.
Richard long appreciated great western artists C.M. Russell and Thomas Moran for their interpretation of the vast western landscape. Equally significant in influence are some contemporary painters such as Terry Miura and Brian Rutenberg, who convey a sense of place in a more loose and painterly fashion. Majestic stands of trees and reflections in clear water are the characteristic subjects of Richard's work. Burke prefers to work tonally with a limited palette, but it is the way he utilizes the palette knife which makes his style truly unique.