Making it as an artist can be difficult.
Many struggle for years to perfect their work in a chosen medium before making a name for themselves.
Craig resident Israel Holloway didn’t need quite so long to begin garnering attention for his work.
Holloway has artwork featured in the American Plains Artists 28th Annual Juried Exhibition and at the Museum of the Southwest, where he received the 2012 Clyde Heron Award for most accurately rendered artwork of a historical subject.
He has exhibited work with the Colorado Watercolor Society, Foothills Art Center and two of his pieces have been juried into the Meeker Classic 25th Annual International Art Contest.
Holloway's artwork has even been talked about by Greg Moody on CBS.
And he’s only been producing watercolors for a year and a half.
Growing up with the western backdrop that is Northwest Colorado, Holloway’s pieces portray the hardworking agricultural and western lifestyles of the Yampa Valley people.
“I hope my paintings help people embrace the power and grace of the real living west that still exists today,” Holloway writes on his website.
Holloway said one of his favorite pieces is called “Skiing Main Street,” a scene he captured in Steamboat Springs during Winter Carnival of a child in skis being pulled by a cowboy on horseback.
“I like it because it bridges the old west with the modern,” Holloway said.
Holloway said he enjoys painting with watercolors because he likes the challenge. All the white color you see in a piece is the paper itself. There is no white in watercolors, so Holloway can’t make mistakes or he has to start over.
“Water always wants to bleed together,” Holloway said. “I enjoy painting with watercolors because it helps get rid of the all the human nature in the piece. Mother Nature’s in there a little bit.”
Holloway’s wife, Jennifer Holloway, said she thinks he’s found his niche with watercolors.
“I think he’s found it," she said. "He really loves it and does amazing work."
Jennifer met Israel when they were just 10 years old growing up in Craig, and even then she said he was drawing.
Always a part of his life, Jennifer said Israel took art classes in high school and did wood working.
“He would work on random projects, he made everything you can think of out of wood,” Jennifer said.
Holloway built houses for a while, and Jennifer said even then he would draw at night.
“He didn’t enter competitions for wood working, but would get hired for certain projects, mostly building related, home designing and closet designing,” Jennifer said. “We never really took the leap for him to be an artist as a profession, he was awesome enough to work so I could stay home with the kids when they were little.”
But things have fallen into place to turn the dream of being an artist into reality.
Jennifer said Holloway was offered a teaching job at Colorado Northwestern Community College out of the blue, which allows him to teach something he loves while focusing on his art at the same time.
As for his quick rise to national recognition, Holloway said he is shocked and humbled.
Holloway has taught workshops and currently teaches a concurrent enrollment art class for high-school students and a watercolor class at the new CNCC campus.
You can view his art online at his website www.israelhollowayfineart.com
Darian can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org