Matthew Higginbotham was born in Colorado Springs in 1963. His interest in art began at the age of 11, in a pottery studio at Tulsa’s Philbrook Art Institute with a weekend cart class. From 1991 to 1995, Higginbotham owned Northwest Pottery and Fine Arts in Spokane, Washington, where he sold functional pottery and fine art ceramics. His work was exhibited throughout Washington State, in galleries such as Sasak and Southwest Collections. In 1995, a creative transformation led him to painting. He discovered a new way to communicate his creative vision on canvas. The change was profound. In a matter of days, he decided to sell most of his pottery equipment and to devote himself entirely to painting. His decision was life changing. “It was really a transformational event for me when I started painting. I remember diving into all the art books on painting I could get a-hold of and going back to the studio to practice and practice. Then it took off for me. I painted a series of Southwest churches that led to a solo show in 1995 at Metro Mall Gallery in Spokane, Washington, and later, an exhibition at Bedford Gallery in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But it wasn't until I moved to northern New Mexico in late 1995 that I began to mature as a painter.” Higginbotham moved to Chimayo, New Mexico, at the end of 1995 and continued his series of churches, including a large commission of the famous Santuario de Chimayo. He also managed Casa Escondida Bed & Breakfast, sold his own paintings and postcards to guests, and was represented in a local gallery. Gradually, he began to focus on landscapes as his choice subject for his paintings.
“In the early years of painting I experimented with many subjects; eventually landscapes became my primary focus. It just seemed natural for me to want to study the nuances of what I was seeing in the fields and skies, and the more I painted them, the more I began to understand how they made my feel. Then when I found the colors that worked best for me and I could paint better, a whole new world opened up. I could really get into a landscape and start seeing the many wonderful opposites: darkness and light, peace and chaos, subtlety and directness, intensity and muteness. At that level, I could begin to really express my emotions on canvas.”
To Summer Pasture
by BONNIE ZAHN GRIFFITH