“Ron’s paintings are unique, careful, evocative, beautiful serene, passionate. They grow out of his roots into the wild country, and define those roots. The artwork is a lifelong commitment, inherent in his aliveness.”…….. John Nichols
Ron Gardiner is one of the finest artists of the natural world I’ve ever known. Long ago just out of military service, he spent five years studying art at night at the New School in New York City while managing a family manufacturing business by day. After five years as an oil field directional drilling engineer in the Gulf of Mexico, he eventually found his element and soul in Taos County. The cultures, art traditions, and above all the landscape of New Mexico have been his inspiration and life’s work ever since.
This man is a true conservationist, with twenty-five years of serious, watershed field-work, wildlife surveys and habitat restoration work combined with exploring and retracing the aboriginal trails of the high country. He has been a wilderness ranger and traveled and camped through six wilderness areas in northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. He has worked as a field biologist for the Forest Service surveying goshawks, trout, elk, and big horn sheep while also putting in 20 years of golden eagle research and photography.
Ron is a first-rate historian of the natural and human worlds of the Southwest and Taos, and, as a tireless advocate for the Rio Grande De Norte National Monument, Ron helped make the vision for its’ protection happen. He has been a ski patrolman, backcountry medic, and river, hunting and backcountry guide. He knows the land.
As much as he has spent his New Mexico life outdoors, Ron has also been involved with the New Mexico Legislature working along side elected officials as staff to pass bills that effect changes in policy to help protect the watersheds, forests and rivers that sustain us. My connection to Ron is personal, and artistic, as well as political. The core of our relationship has always been our identity with, and sympathy for the country around us, and our concerns about how to maintain the balance of nature and humanity in a developing world. We share a deep sympathy for New Mexico’s flora and fauna, its mountains, watersheds, and the Rio Grande Gorge, its wilderness areas, its water tables and ancient irrigation systems, all of the issues that touch on human contact with the natural world.
For decades both of us have sought to transmit our love of the land and concern for it through both our politics and art. Like Ron, I am a photographer, and his photography and paintings have informed my efforts. I have also published numerous fictions and non-fiction works in defense of the cultures and lands of New Mexico. Many of Ron’s surveys, studies, articles, personal stories and information about the land, waters, and forests surrounding me have seriously informed and guided my writings.
We often sit and schmoose for hours about our journeys and adventures thorough the Pecos and Wheeler Peak Wilderness areas, our numerous contacts with big horn sheep, elk, nesting eagles coyotes, bears, rattlesnakes, glorious sunsets and summer blizzards at Latir Lakes or Truchas Peaks.
The natural world is our reason for being. We have both covered much territory on foot, high and low all these years. We know the game trails, the elk wallows, the alpine tarns, and the rarely used old bajadas into the gorge. We know where the grouse and the petroglyphs are found. This is an intimate and important knowledge. And it gives us deep personal perspective that underlies all of our work.
We seek to transmit this love of the wild through our art and advocacy. Ron is truly a rare bird. He is an eclectic Renaissance man, a serious naturalist with a macroscopic overview of the entire ecosystem rather than an academic focused into specialized areas of inquiry. He is a great teacher; of children, county commissioners, of state and federal legislators, of people like me.
Above all, Ron’s beautiful paintings and photographs of wildlife and landscapes add a powerful and precious dimension to everything else he has done for the conservation of our natural world. His paintings are a capstone of all else he has achieved, all his knowledge experience, and love of the outdoors made immediate for all to see and appreciate.