Local artist has spent over 50 years of painting ‘En Plein Air’

En Plein Air is a French expression that translates to “in the open air”.

Russell Ricks has been painting since he was just a young boy. He was taught by his father, Don, who was both an oil painter and an art instructor in Rexburg, Idaho.

At just eight years of age, Russell knew he wanted to be an artist and proudly declared that sentiment to anyone that would pay attention to him.

All four of the Ricks boys have pursued painting as a career at some point in their lives. None of Russell’s three sisters have chosen painting as a vocation, but Russell says each is gifted in the design world with fabric, food, and more.

Russell learned to love the open-air style of painting with the backdrop of old farms, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park nearby.

Work on Display

His work has recently been seen in Payson, Utah, on the outside wall of the Huish Theater and near the Parlor salon on historic Main Street. 

The city of Payson sees value and promise in the historic district, and having the large, beautiful mural of Payson’s heritage facing a busy traffic corridor fit well with their desire to honor the traditions of the community. 

Russell’s largest ever mural can be seen inside Novatek in Provo, an industrial equipment supplier. His mural at that particular location measures 22 feet in height and 200 feet in width. 

Another highlight he recalls is the creation of the murals on the inside of a Cabela’s outdoor recreation store in East Hartford, Connecticut. 

The Springville Museum of Art also has one of his paintings located there on permanent loan, which is displayed often, but not continuously.


When asked what encouragement he would offer to aspiring art students, he replied, “I would tell them that abundant opportunities are now available. Be passionate. Do what you love. 

I would also recommend that new artists get themselves some type of design or commercial art degree – there are so many choices out there – as a means of financial security while developing their art business.” 

Once the tenacity and the pursuit of becoming an artist has matured, Russell suggests, “Approach various art galleries until you find a good fit for your work, but rely on that degree to pay the bills until then. Don’t give up.”

Final Thoughts

As his website suggests, Russell Rick’s artwork invites us to slow down, take a breath, and get away to a place of serenity and peace, if just for a moment or two. 

His paintings often remind us of marvelous days gone by and the sensation of genuinely being home once again. They kind of whisper to us.

To see samples of Ricks’ artwork, go to russellricksart.com.

Kevin Jennings
Kevin Jennings
Husband to one - Dad to six - Grandpa to five - Friend and Neighbor to all.

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