Leon Parson moved to southeast Idaho when he was a young boy. There, he developed a deep love and insight for wildlife, the outdoors, and all that nature offers.
Since early in his childhood, Parson has increased in appreciation for art and biology and took his passion into higher education. With nine years of formal art training, he earned three degrees; an Associate in Art and Science in 1974, Ricks College, Idaho; a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration, 1977, The Art Center College of Design, California; and a Master of Fine Art in Illustration in 1985 from Syracuse University, New York.
He is currently a member of the art faculty at Brigham Young University-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) in Rexburg, Idaho. As faculty of 27 years, he has taught drawing, design, color, illustration and oil painting. He has served the past three years as Chairman of the Department of Art.
Parson is among the Top Wildlife Artists in the world and has received numerous awards and honors, ranging regionally, nationally and internationally. Some of which are:
· The First Arts in the Park best wildlife painting in 1990.
· Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Artist of Quarter and their 7th Anniversary print in 1991.
· Utah First of State Waterfowl Conservation stamp in 1989.
· The Veteran print received "The President's Choice" at an S.C.I. show in Illinois.
·Artist of the Year for the National Mule Deer Foundation in 2005.
He is a member of two prestigious, international wildlife guilds, the SAA (Society of Animal Artists) and the WNAG (Worldwide Nature Artists Group). Throughout his career, he has produced magnificent works of art that have endured in collectability and popularity. More than 50 of them have become limited edition lithographs and giclées. His artwork has been featured on the covers of nearly 100 magazines and publications, both wildlife and religious.
Parson feels that true art should communicate both intellectually as well as emotionally.
“True art must stir the heart and reach deep into the soul of the viewer if it is going to last. Emotions make art ‘live’. I judge everything first with my mind and then give it the final critique from my heart. I believe that before an artist hopes to touch the heart of another, he must first have that feeling within himself. Sometimes your heart chooses things that you have to be true to, regardless of what your mind thinks. I have personally been intrigued with animals since I was a small child and am thrilled inside each time I get a chance to observe them. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a fleeting glimpse or if I have the privilege of spending all day with them. It is so crucial to me to experience first hand all that I paint from listening to a pair of bull elk insult each other across a canyon with their bugles or realize that a big old buck has been watching me and then, with eye contact made, see him turn and magically vanish into the timber. I need to experience the first light of morning as it turns the gray-green pines into a soft orange, or watch as the snow changes the forest’s complexion, beginning in the fall through heavy winter and finally into spring. If I’m not living it, how else can I say it honestly in art?!”
[Leon currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho with his lovely wife Kathryn. They have been married for thirty three years! They have seven children and ten grandchildren.]