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Various Biographical Twists

I was born and raised in Turlock California, originating from illegitimate Irish stock temporarily residing in Iowa, a mix of Indian, Chinese and European ancestors and directly descended from Rob Roy McGregor. I found my way into art in the early 1970s, when I began taking seriously the use of the camera with which I had piddled for over 15 years on and off. My father had a darkroom for many years, from the '40s on, which contained all the necessary equipment and a lot of guns. The guns got more use than the photographic equipment and resulted in my affinity for the landscape. My artistic interests were further, but unconsciously, influenced by camping trips with my family, including an early '50s trip (excused from school) to Death Valley where I used my Brownie camera extensively. I still have some of the pictures taken at that time.

Other early influences on my artistic aspirations came in the form of figure drawing books located at the local stationery store in downtown Turlock, and the girl in the green sweater behind the counter (I'm sure she was at least ten years older than me at the time). There were Peter Gowland's figure photography books at the local library, which given that it was Turlock, I'm surprised that they were available for a kid like me to view.

Anyway, I began in the late '70s s to take things more seriously and joined several camera clubs, working in black and white photography, shooting figure studies and other scenic topics. In the early '80s I shifted my interest to a photographic method called Gum Bichromate, where watercolors are used in suspension with gum arabic to form a photo-sensitive surface and image. By 1988 I thought I should expose myself to painting and spent several years working in watercolor, producing some landscapes from my desert wanderings.

By 1998 I had been exposed to digital methods of photography and computers and decided to try working outside a darkroom, with only the computer and the camera. I currently shoot 35 mm film which is drawn out and squeezed into the spirit of my experience while actually making the photographic exposure. Images are printed on inkjet printers.

If I had to identify a number of artists of particular import to me in years past they would be not necessarily in order:

Thomas Moran
Georgia O'Keeffe
Edward Hopper

Charlie Russell
Maynard Dixon
Russell Iredell
Karl Bodmer
Herbert Dunton


My main interests are in landscape work using color materials. I perceive art for myself as mainly a process of color and form abstraction, with the emphasis on color. I also create avian imagery when the time and the damned birds allow. In addition to camera-derived art, I also continue my interests in paint and intend to dive head-first into sculpting. I do not know where that will lead.



places to go  

  • Red Desert, Oregon Buttes, South Pass, Powder River, Crazy Woman Creek, Green River, Freighters Gap.   
-Eastern Oregon
  • Steens Mountain, Alvord Desert, Owyhee and Little Owyhee Rivers, Jordan Valley,  Blizzard Gap, Guano Valley, and Catlow Rim.   
  • Denio, Black Rock Desert and all its surround, Highway 50 clear to Colorado, Ely, Tonopah and Highway  375 to Caliente, the Monitor Valley and others close by and don't miss Anderson's Crossing.  
  • Crystal Peak, Just about anywhere south, Highway of the Ancients, Monument Valley.    

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Gwendolyn Collins

1994 to 2002


Steve Sanchez Collins

1994 - 1999

Cody Montoya Collins

1994 - 2000