Leon Parson

Leon Parson moved to southeast Idaho with his family in 1954 when his father, Oliver Parson, was invited to start the art program at then, Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho. As a young boy he developed a deep love and insight for wildlife, the outdoors, and all that nature offers. 

Since early in his childhood, Parson has increased his appreciation for art and biology and has taken that passion into higher education. With nine years of formal art training, he earned three degrees; an Associate in Art and Science in 1974, Ricks College, Idaho; a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration, 1977, The Art Center College of Design, California; and a Master of Fine Art in Illustration in 1985 from Syracuse University, New York. 

For 40 years he was a faculty member of the Department of Visual Art at Brigham Young University-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) in Rexburg, Idaho, teaching: basic drawing, head drawing, life drawing, design & color, illustration and oil painting. He served 6.5 years there as Chairman of the Department.  Before retirement he helped co-author two online art courses for the Department. 

Parson is recognized among the top wildlife artist in the world and has received numerous regional, national and international awards and honors.  He is a signature member of the prestigious, SAA (Society of Animal Artists), an international art guild of wildlife artists. 

Throughout his career, he has produced magnificent works of art that have endured in collectability and popularity, both in illustration, as well as framed fine art and commissions. More than 50 of his paintings and drawings have become limited edition lithographs and giclées. His artwork has been featured on the covers of over 100 wildlife, hunting, and religious magazines and publications. He was commissioned by the United Nations to design 4 of their postage stamps.  

In addition to painting wildlife Leon has produced scenic paintings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that include: the murals for the Temples of Rexburg and Twin Falls, Idaho; Calgary, Alberta; and Rome, Italy.  Framed paintings for several temples that include Vancouver, BC; Laie, Hawaii; Gila Valley, Arizona; El Salvador; Pocatello and Burley, Idaho; and Manaus, Brazil.  He is also an accomplished portrait artist, having had the opportunity to paint portraits of political and business figures, University Presidents and several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and members of the First Presidency. 

Leon feels that art communicates on three separate levels:  Intellectual, emotional and spiritual.  The degree of an artist’s skill level, as well as their conceptual capabilities, helps determine to what level, and how well, it will communicate.  ‘It is relatively easy to visually communicate something “intellectually”, for example, tree, sky, man, etc.”   The next level of communication is emotional; an individual’s inner feelings.  “True art must stir the heart and reach deep into the soul of the viewer if it is going to last.  The feelings that are generated in people’s hearts when looking at art is what makes it live not just the intellectual thoughts in their minds.  I believe, however, that before an artist can hope to touch the heart of another, he must first have that feeling within himself.”  

“I have been intrigued with animals since I was a small child and am thrilled inside each time I get a chance to observe them. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a fleeting glimpse or if I have the privilege of spending all day with them. It is crucial to me to experience, as much as I can first hand, of what I paint; from listening to a pair of bull elk insult each other across a canyon with their bugles or realize that a big old buck has been watching me and then, with eye contact made, see him turn and magically vanish into the timber.  I need to experience the first light of morning as it turns the gray-green pines into a soft orange, or watch a forest’s complexion change with the seasons, beginning in the Fall, through heavy Winter and finally into Spring and then Summer.  If I’m not living it myself, how else can I say it honestly in art, or ever hope to stir another?!” 

A form of intellectual and conceptual “spiritual communication” can be accomplished using content and stories from the scriptures.  Nevertheless, true lasting spiritual communication cannot be achieved solely by either an amazingly developed skill level or profound conceptual reasoning.  Although they help, art must be accompanied by the Spirit of the Lord, which is not something that can be “on demand” by anyone, in any field – including art.  The Lord Himself must choose to send His Spirit to touch the soul of the viewer. Leon also states, “All things were created by the Savior and in reverence to God, I believe that it honors Him if, in art, we say it well.” 

He has served a Spanish speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Arizona in 1970-72.  He has also served in the Sunday school, primary, and in scouting for over 40 years; as Young Men President, in 4 bishoprics, once as Bishop, on the Stake High Council, High Priest Group Leader, High Priest Group and Elders Quorum instructor and with his wife as a Temple Ordinance worker.  He is currently serving as a bishopric counselor in his ward. Leon resides in Rexburg, Idaho with his lovely wife of 49 years, Kathryn. Together they have seven children and 29 grandchildren.

33 products
Mountain Poetry
Mountain Poetry
by Leon Parson
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Always in His Care
Always in His Care
by Leon Parson
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Prairie Angels Large Wall Art
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Prairie Angels
Prairie Angels
by Leon Parson
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Red Barn in The Wilderness
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Turbulent Beauty Large Wall Art
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Turbulent Beauty
Turbulent Beauty
by Leon Parson
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Poplar Springs
Poplar Springs
by Leon Parson
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Aspen Ridge Plein Air
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In The Rough Plein Air
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Spring Runoff on Camas Creek
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Always Captivating Plein Air
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A Stone's Throw Plein Air Original Artwork
$175.00
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One Lane Footbridge Original Artwork
$1,675.00
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His Majesty
His Majesty
by Leon Parson
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The Brink of Fall
The Brink of Fall
by Leon Parson
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