After beginning his career as an illustrator, Douglas Allen, born in Jersey City, New Jersey, has emerged as a strong colorist among today’s wildlife painters. Portraying animals and their landscape settings, he creates images that sparkle with light and suggest the tensions and quiet dramas of life in the wild.
Whether depicting animals against broad backdrops, such as high mountain lakes, vast rolling grasslands, and misty forests, or in more intimate environments, Allen’s works are intended to establish a strong sense of place and mood.
His images carry on the legacy of such noted painters as Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and Carl Rungius. Encouraged by his father, who collected books, prints, and paintings by Remington, Allen began to draw animals during his grammar school years in his native Jersey City. He received his first official art training in weekend painting classes at the Ford Art School in Jersey City, and during his teenage years he spent his free time drawing animals in the Central Park and Bronx Zoos.
In 1953, he enrolled at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, where he studied with W.J. Aylward, a student of illustrator Howard Pyle, John R. Grabach, and Colonel Charles Waterhouse. Through his father, Allen met the prominent wildlife illustrator and artist Paul Bransom.
In the summer of 1960, he headed west to study at Bransom’s Teton Artist School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For a month he drew and painted horses and landscapes and for the first time observed elk, bear, bison, and pronghorn in the wild. In the late 1950s, after a term in the National Guard, Allen was hired to illustrate a series in Outdoor Life magazine entitled "Big Game Animals of North America," written by Jack O’Connor and George Goodwin. Allen produced twenty oils of animals and eighty pen-and-ink drawings for this project. The series, which ran for twenty months, was published as a book in 1961.
A retrospective of his work, 1945 to 1995, was held at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell, New Jersey in October, 1995. One of his commission works, for the National Museum of Wildlife Art, is a painting of artist Carl Rungius working in the field.
Source: "Wildlife Art