Rick Austin is a professional artist born and raised in rural upstate New York very near to the Canadian border. He spent much of his childhood exploring the woods of the Adirondack Mountains, and it was here that he acquired his deep appreciation for nature and drawing the natural world.
After he served 4 years in the US Navy, Rick majored in Illustration and Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston. Upon graduating, he developed a commercial art and illustration studio in northern New York while teaching art classes for the New York State Council of the Arts. He went on to lead the Communications Design Department at Clarkson University. Moving south to Charlotte, he managed the multimedia department for an international marketing corporation. Retiring from the corporate world, he moved to Charleston to open a painting studio, but he was lured back to Charlotte by land developers, who requested he create branding materials and 3-D architectural renderings for their proposed communities.
Rick’s lifetime love for the peace and beauty of the natural world is communicated in his oil paintings, his favorite medium. He uses oil paint as one would work with watercolor, painting thinly in a transparent glaze that is airy and light. He slowly builds the thin glaze to achieve a range of tonal effects. Rick’s atmospheric, light-filled landscapes and seascapes have been exhibited at the Spencer Art Gallery, the Ellis Nicholson Gallery, the Charleston City Gallery, and North Charleston City Gallery, among others.
At the LEC, Rick teaches drawing and painting classes for both beginners and advanced students. He loves interacting with the LEC students and introducing them to a new, artistic perspective. His favorite part of teaching is getting his students to see beauty where they never saw it before.