Author Archives: Russell Ricks

About Russell Ricks

When Russell was nine years old, his father, Don Ricks, founded a national plein air painting school he called, Painting Vacations. Two nationally renowned art instructors, Sergei Bongart, a Russian native and noted Soviet artist (originally from Kiev, Ukraine) and Milford Zornes, a watercolorist from Southern Utah, taught in the school along with Russell's father. The nationally advertised school was in operation for about 15 years, bringing a solid instructional foundation to hundreds of artists, including Russell and his three brothers. Spanning a career of thirty plus years, Ricks' work has been collected throughout the US. Although Ricks had painted an occasional mural mostly for diversion during his gallery years, he began focusing more seriously on mural work in 2001 when he was commissioned to paint his first mural for Novatek International. He has since done 4 more for Novatek and 5 murals for Cabela’s in East Hartford, Connecticut. Throughout his career, Ricks has been represented by established western art galleries in Park City, Sun Valley, Dallas and Jackson Hole.

July Is Birthday Month!



In Utah, we observe several birthdays in the month of July. We have the 4th of July, which is the birth of our nation. We have the 24th of July, which commemorates the Mormon pioneers arriving in Utah. And on the 15th of July, we celebrate the birth of our favorite artist, Russell Ricks.

60 Candles

This year is a particularly significant birthday, as Russ turned 60. It was so monumental, in fact, that all 14 of our children, all their spouses, and nearly all our grandchildren joined us in Logan, Utah to spend an afternoon.

An Old Friend Study

Come Join The Party!

We are inviting You to celebrate with us, as well. This year, we are giving away the presents. The first birthday treat is a free giveaway of a painting called “An Old Friend Study.” It is a framed 8×10″ oil on panel. The subject is one of the last remaining kit barns bought through the Sears catalog and arriving to the lot as a pile of lumber. It would then be put together piece by piece by the new owner. This particular barn is the Thayer barn located in Duvall, Washington.

The second present is a discount on Russ’ art. We are selling his art at 60% it’s original price. That’s a 40% discount! For example, if you were interested in buying “Pathway Through the Aspens”, it’s normal cost is $650. At 60% it will only cost $390! (Unframed, and plus Shipping, of course.)

This Is How It Works

To qualify for the giveaway, follow Russ on Instagram @russellricks_art, and/or Facebook, Russell Ricks.  Then sign up for his newsletter by going to his website at Once you are on both lists–Instagram/Facebook and newsletter–tag a friend on IG or FB and then you will be entered into the drawing for “An Old Friend Study.” The more tags, the more entries. You can enter the drawing through July 31. The winner will be announced August 3.

To buy Russ’ art at a discount, go to The prices listed on the website are the full price. To purchase the piece you want, send us a message through the website with the name of the painting you wish to purchase. We will then email you the discounted price, including shipping, and we will arrange payment and shipping.  (Paintings listed with Sego 3 Gallery are available to purchase, but not at the 40% discount.)

Happy Birthday!

We hope you will all join in the birthday festivities by signing up for the newsletter and entering the giveaway. Feel free to contact us about any of the other available paintings on the website to find out what great savings we are offering. Sale and giveaway end July 31, 2018.

P.S.  If the newsletter signup doesn’t pop up, just click on Contact Us and send us your email address. I will get you on the list.







Grandma’s Pink Lilacs–Miniature Auction


Grandma’s Pink Lilacs by Russell Ricks, 6″ x 4″, oil

I loved being at Grandma Samuelson’s house. We could be kids there. Noisy, rambunctious, active kids. Peace roses with their pink tipped yellow petals and noisy, rust-colored, yard-strutting roosters were both a part of the outdoor experience at Grandma’s house. There were cookies and cousins, bouncy beds and Lawrence Welk.

When the Aunties would come, it seemed like a gathering of the generations. They talked of family, both living and long passed on. They filled us with stories that gave us a glimpse of where we came from and who we would someday become.

This lovely little painting, Grandma’s Pink Lilacs, holds the memories of childhood in Grandma’s yard. We are excited to be auctioning it off this weekend. Follow the directions below and this little gem could be yours.

How the Auction Works

The auction will proceed as follows: 

  • You are bidding on the painting only, Unframed
  • Opening bid starts at $100 USD
  • Bids will go up in $25 USD increments, minimum
  • Place your bid in the “Comments” section of this blog post (above)
  • Highest bidder gets the painting. No holds.
  • The bidding for this painting will go from Thursday evening (6/28/2018) 7 pm MDT until 7 pm MDT Saturday evening (6/30/2018)
  • Shipping cost will be charged separately.

Once the bidding is closed, we will contact the highest bidder via email to arrange payment and to exchange shipping information.

Good Luck!!




Tranquility–Miniature Auction Piece

auction3.jpgTranquility, artist Russell Ricks, 6″ x 12″, oil

Experiencing the arts can transport you to a different place for a moment or a few hours. Good literature, amazing music, or a beautiful painting offer respite from a fast-paced world.

You can’t always drop everything to read a book or watch a play, but you can take a few minutes anytime or anywhere to lose yourself in an inspiring painting.

I am offering an opportunity to start or add to your art collection at a reasonable cost. Another tranquil lavender scene is up for auction this weekend. Soft sunlight illuminates the lavender field in bloom.

This piece called “Tranquility” is 6” x 12”, unframed.

How the Auction Works

The auction will proceed as follows: 

  • You are bidding on the painting only, Unframed
  • Opening bid starts at $150 USD
  • Bids will go up in $25 USD increments, minimum
  • Place your bid in the “Comments” section of this blog post (above)
  • Highest bidder gets the painting. No holds.
  • The bidding for this painting will go from Friday evening (6/22/2018) 7 pm MDT until 7 pm MDT Saturday evening (6/23/2018)

Once the bidding is closed, we will contact the highest bidder via email to arrange payment and to exchange shipping information.



Working In the Lavender–Miniature Auction


Working in the lavender                                   Working In the Lavender by Russell Ricks, 7″ x 5″, oil

Lavender, by its nature, has a peaceful calming effect. Add to that a field worker using hand tools instead of machinery to cultivate the herb and you are transported to a simpler, quieter time. Russell Ricks’ painting, Working In the Lavender, 7” x 5” could be from any lavender field in the world. Whether in France, England, Italy, or even the United States, this painting captures the charm of the world’s favorite essential oil.

Participating in an auction is a great way to get your art collection started. We will be auctioning this painting this weekend. We will be taking bids from Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 7 p.m. until the auction closes at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 16.

How the Auction Works

The auction will proceed as follows:

  • You are bidding on the painting only, Unframed
  • Opening bid starts at $100 USD
  • Bids will go up in $25 USD increments, minimum
  • Place your bid in the “Comments” section of this blog post (above)
  • Highest bidder gets the painting. No holds.
  • The bidding for this painting will go from Thursday evening (6/14/2018) 7 pm MDT until 7 pm MDT Saturday evening (6/16/2018)

Once the bidding is closed, we will contact the highest bidder via email to arrange payment and to exchange shipping information.

Good luck!! We look forward to sending this little beauty off to a new home!

Moving in Essence


Mention to someone, “It feels like Monday” and he will likely nod knowingly. Whatever it is about Mondays, they seem to be notorious for problems and things not going quite right. On the other hand, we can have days that are productive and everything seems to fall into place.  What makes the difference between a “good” day and a “bad” day?

A few years ago, Russ and I took a self-awareness class. One of the concepts they taught us was Moving in Essence.  The idea is that if you move at your personal optimum momentum you will not bump into people, drop things, or make mistakes.  Basically, you can do away with “Mondays.” You will be aware of everything around you and can maneuver yourself to avoid collisions.

The exercise we did to discover our “Essence” was to walk in random directions around the room. The goal was to walk as quickly as we could, but not bump into or touch another person. We were all going different directions, with no set pattern or rhythm. As we moved around the room, we were eventually able to move within the group without knocking into each other, completely aware of each person as we passed by them. The tempo was different for each individual.  Being aware of our own Essence allowed us to move through the crowd without mishap. It was interesting how many were surprised that their Essence speed was slower than they expected.

I have learned a few things about Moving in Essence since my self-discovery:

  • One thing I have learned is that our Essence changes its tempo. Some days, you just have to move a little more deliberately. The key is to be aware of self and aware of your surroundings.
  • When doing something you are not familiar with, your Essence will slow down to accommodate the learning mode. Allowing yourself the time to be in essence while learning a new skill will actually help you to learn more quickly, even though it feels as though you are moving slowly.

Moving in Essence is crucial for an artist. To be fully aware of one’s self is to be fully aware of what is around you. Gina Soleil, in an article published on, calls this being grounded. Soleil states

“Being grounded means your feet are firmly planted in the here and now. You’re rooted firmly on Earth, present and mindful of your surroundings. When you’re grounded, you can actively engage in a conversation rather than looking right through the person in front of you. When you’re grounded you feel confident, strong and acutely aware of what’s going on around you — characteristics of someone who’s outrageously productive and calm.”  Gina Soleil

As an artist in touch with your Essence, your ability to capture the intrinsic nature of your subject will come more naturally. The clarity and honesty you see around you will be communicated to your audience through your art.

Tomorrow, when you step into your studio, take a moment to become aware of yourself, and your interactions with your surroundings, Feel the brush in your hand, or smell the clay on your wheel. Notice the light on your canvas, the movement of air against your face, or the sound of your pencils as they move over the paper.  Move in Essence and make tomorrow “a good day.”

Image: The Harvest is Ready and the Laborers Few by Russell Ricks, Oil on panel, 20 x 16

Don Ricks and His Legacy of Art



Don Ricks (1929-1996) was often referred to as an artist’s artist. He was highly respected by his peers and aspiring artists, alike. Don grew up in the shadow of the Teton mountains. His humble beginnings as the son of a turkey farmer gave no indication that he would achieve the level of success that he did.

Ricks knew from an early age that he wanted to be an artist. His fifth grade teacher enlisted Don’s help to draw illustrations on the chalkboard for the class. This kept the active boy constructively occupied, and helped Don realize that he enjoyed creating art.

When Don graduated from high school, he went to Ricks College in Rexburg on a football scholarship. After serving a two-year LDS mission in Helsinki, Finland, Don returned to Ricks College. Here he met his beloved wife, Iris Hunter.

Over the next few years, Don and Iris pushed through the struggles of starting a family while attending college. They ended up at Utah State University in Logan, Utah where Don studied Studio Art.

Eventually, they found their way back to Rexburg where Don set up a sign shop. It was difficult in the beginning, but eventually the business took hold and Don was able to support his growing family.

Through it all, Don never lost sight of his desire to paint. His family always came first, but he knew there must be a way to take care of his family and paint, as well. And always by his side was his greatest ally, Iris.

In 1968, Don was introduced to Russian artist, Sergei Bongart.  Bongart invited Don to come to California to study with him and in 1970 he was finally able to go. Don came up with the idea to sponsor a plein air workshop in Idaho, with Bongart as instructor. As soon as the Rickses got home, Iris got to work making arrangements for a workshop. This would be the beginning of many more workshops known as Painting Vacations.

Painting Vacations evolved to be highly successful, on-location plein air workshops held in different spots around the western United States. Don eventually became the principle instructor, as well as Milford Zornes, watercolorist.

The Painting Vacations were a family affair, involving Don’s children, as well as Iris. Russ has fond memories of helping his dad’s workshop attendees set up their easels and then painting along with the rest of the class. He received a unique art education in this way.

Eventually, Don was able to give up the sign shop and focus entirely on his art career. His work has been collected throughout the world. Many of his paintings are now familiar prints that have found their way into homes and businesses.

Because he involved his family in his creative journey, his sons, Douglas, Russell, and Marty have all pursued art as a career. Douglas has since passed away, however, Russell and Marty are both actively following in their father’s footsteps, chasing their art with great passion.

Don Ricks was a man who worked hard at whatever he pursued. He was determined and passionate about his art. And now, his legacy lives on through his sons.


Falling in Love with Montana

When I was a teenager I visited Butte, Montana to spend my August birthday with my nephew who shares the same birth date. I remember thinking after that visit that Butte must be the ugliest place in the world. I couldn’t imagine anyone living there by choice. (Sorry, Butte fans, but that is how my teenaged self felt about it.) Through the years, as I would meet people who loved Montana and spoke longingly of going back to Big Sky country, I just didn’t get it. I thought they must be a little nuts.

Fast forward a few (ahem, 45) years and I have newly discovered Montana. My son and his wife moved to Kalispell, in the northwest region of the state. During my visit in September, I was amazed by the crystal teal-colored waters of Flathead Lake. Then I noticed that the rocks around the lake were teal and purple. Their color was reflecting through the clear water of the lake.

As if to welcome me to my new state of appreciation, an eagle flew along side our car and then disappeared over the trees. The sky, clouds and air were brighter and fresher than any I had ever experienced.

Thanksgiving brought with it some extra time off from our normal obligations, so Russ and I took advantage and headed back up to spend the holiday with our son and his family. Kalispell didn’t disappoint. Even though the weather was a bit chilly and foliage was heading into winter, we still saw plenty that was scenic and paintable.

I was so excited to show Russ this beautiful place! It turns out he had been here before as a teenager. His father held a painting vacation workshop at Flathead Lake, so Russ was quite familiar with its exquisite scenery.

We took a day to wander the galleries of Whitefish, just 15 minutes away from Kalispell. We met some great gallery people and saw some incredible art. We were planning a trip to Glacier National Park for the next Monday. When we walked in to the Walking Man Frame Shop & Gallery, they were just in the process of framing up some old prints of Glacier Park. The best conversation about Glacier, hiking, and plein air painting then ensued.

Peter, the owner of Walking Man, is a photographer. Daniel, his assistant, is a painter and digital artist. Both are in love with Glacier National Park. Daniel knew all the ins and outs and closures and habits of the park. He even enthusiastically offered to go paint with Russ anytime. The conversation ended with Peter telling us, “The sun is shining right now! You need to get your butts up there to paint!” Said like a true artist.


We made it to Glacier on Monday. It was pretty chilly, fluctuating between 21° and 34° fahrenheit. The Thermos of hot chocolate that our daughter-in-law sent with us, and Russ’ ingenious setup for keeping his paint supple allowed him to paint as long as the battery held out.


The sun and cloud cover played hide-and-seek creating some stunning play of light through the low hanging clouds.  When we started out, there was just enough of a breeze to create little rippled waves across the lake, but not enough to make it unpleasant. Geese flew overhead and called from the opposite shore. Little nuthatches foraged and played in the trees, keeping me entertained while Russ painted.

By the time Russ was ready to pack it in, the wind had picked up and the temperature dropped dramatically. The waves across the lake became more brisk. It was beautiful. And cold.

Tuesday came and it was time to head back home to Utah. We had decided to make it a material-gathering drive home, so we had planned to stop whenever we saw something worthy. We were like cartoon characters, driving a short distance then pulling off, jumping out, and running around taking pictures. Drive a few more yards, pull off, jump out, run around. It literally took us two days to make a 12-hour trip.

There was one good stretch where the snow was coming down pretty heavy. The snow falling from the sky even looked different, more fluffy, more lovely than any I had ever seen before.


Pine forests stood guard, keeping their treasure secret, until we snuck past them and discovered the lake hidden behind them. We saw lakes so still and clear that they gave a perfect reflection of the mountains and trees surrounding them. The snow created an almost dream-like effect. Fog clung to the surface of one lake, disguising where the lake ended and the fog bank began.

Never again will I wonder how anyone could love Montana. As John Steinbeck said, “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”