Martin Grelle lives with his wife, Terri, and their children near the small, Central Texas town of Clifton, just a few miles from where he was born. Rich in beauty and history, the area has become a mecca for artists, which is one reason why the artist has spent his whole life there. Many of his closest friends are artists, and they gather to see each other’s work, exchange ideas, and just “shoot the breeze.” Grelle treasures the camaraderie among these artist friends and the rare opportunity it affords him.
Grelle’s work reaches far beyond his Texas home conveying the spirit, drama, beauty and vastness of the American West. Whether painting a Native American in a dramatic setting or a working cowboy on the range, he captures the essence of the West in his historically-accurate, picturesque, peaceful, yet compelling, images. He enjoys the Cowboy Artists of America’s (CAA) trail ride each year and manages to spend some time occasionally working cattle with local friends. He is proud of the Native American part of his ancestry and studies diligently to portray their culture accurately and sensitively. Grelle is able to take even the mundane daily task and elevate it to a new level in each painting.
Grelle began painting at an early age. With the guidance of Western artists James Boren and Melvin Warren, both of whom settled in the Clifton area while he was in high school, Grelle was able to become a full-time artist in his early 20s. Since that time, he has studied, traveled widely, and sought subject matter throughout the American West.
Working primarily in oils on canvas, Grelle marries his figures with the landscape in a painterly style rich in vibrant color. Grelle has been profiled in many publications, including Southwest Art, American Cowboy, Art of the West, Western Horseman, The Equine Image, Art-Talk, Persimmon Hill, and InformArt. His work has also been featured on the covers of several magazines and on various historical novels published by the University of Nebraska Press.
Elected to the Cowboy Artists of America in 1995, Grelle is one of the youngest active members and won the People’s Choice Award at the CAA exhibition in October 2002. Grelle’s paintings frequently garner awards at the annual Prix de West Invitational held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. In 2004, his painting, Signs Along the Snake, received the Nona Jean Hulsey Ramsey Buyers’ Choice Award for the Most Popular Work of Art. In addition, his painting, Teller of Tales, received the top award at the 2002 Prix de West Invitational and was chosen for inclusion in the museum’s permanent collection. Again in 2005, Grelle captured the Prix de West Purchase Award with his painting, Two Coups. It was the second time he won this very prestigious award, which positions him in a group of only five artists who have done so in the history of the show. The artist is represented by Overland Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he has enjoyed one-man shows each March since 1989.
“I thank God for the ability and the opportunities He has given me, and I hope I can continue to grow and learn more with each finished painting. I am honored by everyone who collects my work, and I will always strive to create artwork worthy of their attention and their investment.” – Martin Grelle.