Seeing Purposefully – An Artist’s Statement

My paintings are a personal record, a visual journal of scenes that have caught my eye and held my attention. My goal is to accurately document and artistically interpret the beauty that I see in the landscape, and create a record of my impression for others (and myself) to enjoy.



My artistic process relies heavily on observation — that is to say that I trust my eyes to “tell” me what to put on the canvas, how to paint it, what is important, and what is not. Perhaps I’m a bit like a story teller who blurs unimportant details and emphasizes the essential themes, all for the sake of composing a more dramatic narrative.

Recurring subject matter in my landscapes are mountains, trees, rivers and lakes, cityscapes and architecture.

My work, in both my subject matter and color palette, is optimistic, reflecting a sense of contentment with my home in Western North Carolina and my appreciation of the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

— Brennen McElhaney


Brennen McElhaney was born in 1968 in Santa Barbara, California. He studied fine art and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1990. Back in California, Brennen married Sheila Springer in 1992. As newly-weds they had the opportunity to run a fine art gallery for a time.

Brennen went on to have one-man art shows at the Delphine Gallery, the Hahn-Horn Gallery, Gallery 113, the Faulkner Gallery, Sterling K Gallery, the University Club of Santa Barbara, Antioch University and the Gallery Off Grand (Los Olivos, Ca.). During that time he served on the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Art Association.

In 2005, Brennen, along with his wife and their three children, relocated from California to Western North Carolina. They live in Arden (South Asheville) NC.

Mr. McElhaney is creator and curator of the website which promotes the visual arts in the Asheville area by listing a directory of local artists, galleries and art resources. Brennen works as an illustrator and art director, his main client being Oodles World, a family entertainment company.

Brennen is a signature member and president of Western North Carolina Plein Air Painters, and is a strong advocate of the arts in the Asheville area.

Curriculum Vitae

Rhode Island School of Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Illustration – 1990

2012 – Pres. President – WNC Plein Air Painters
2008 – Pres. Art Director – Oodles World, LLC (Freelance)
2009 – 2010 Graphic Illustrator – FastPivot (Freelance)
2005 – 2008 Manager, Graphic Design – Big Dog Sportswear – Santa Barbara, CA
1997 – 2005 Graphic Illustrator – Big Dog Sportswear – Santa Barbara, CA
2004 Juror, Guest Lecturer – Goleta Valley Art Association
1995 – 97 Board of Directors – Santa Barbara Art Association
1995 Painting Instructor – Studio One
1994 Arts Liaison – Santa Barbara Parks Department
1993 Art Instructor – San Marcos High School (mini-course)
1993 Gallery Owner / Director – Gallery at Paseo Nuevo

2013 The Cliffs At Walnut Cove – Arden, NC – Solo Show
2012 Gallery at Studio B – Asheville, NC – Solo Show
2011 Nature ART Gallery – N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences – (WNCPAP)
2011 Alta Vista Gallery – Different Strokes
2011 Design Gallery – WNCPAP group show
2002 – 03 Arts Fund Gallery – The Canvas Project
1998 Montecito Frame and Gallery (3 person show)
1997 University Club of Santa Barbara – Solo Show
1995 Cannery Row Fine Arts – Monterey, CA
1994 – 95 Delphine Gallery – Santa Barbara, CA – Solo Show
1994 Gallery off Grand – Los Olivos, CA
1994 8th Annual Vaquero Days Art Show – Los Olivos, CA
1994 Hahn Horn Gallery – Santa Barbara, CA
1994 Townley Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library – Solo Show
1993 Antioch University, Santa Barbara, CA – Solo Show
1993 Cabrillo Arts Center Semana Nautica Art Show – Award – 4th Place
1993 Montecito Frame and Gallery – Solo Show
1993 Danica House, Westlake, CA – Solo Show
1993 Gallery at Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA – Solo Show
1992 – 93 Sterling K Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1992 Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library
1992 California Visual Artists League – Jurried: Award – Best of Show
1991 Gallery 113 – Santa Barbara, CA
1991 Santa Barbara Visual Arts Invitational
1990 Rhode Island School of Design Woods Gerry Gallery – Senior Show
1985 Cabrillo Arts Center – Summer Solstice Show

Artsy Shark Gallery – Online Representation
Western North Carolina Plein Air Painters – Signature Member & President (2012 – Present)
Asheville Urban Landscape Painters – Member

2012 Rapid River Magazine
1997 Passport Gateway Magazine
1995 Passport Gateway Magazine
1993 Montecito Magazine

1993 Cabrillo Arts Center Semana Nautica Art Show – Award – 4th Place
1992 California Visual Artists League – Jurried: Award – Best of Show
1986 Arts Scholarship – Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundataion

Get My 2017 Catalog of Artwork

For your viewing pleasure…

Filled with original drawings and paintings by American artist Brennen McElhaney.