Doug and Alfie, 2014, photo Judy Howells
“HIGGINS CAN DO IT ALL” – Paul Strisik NA
From his home in Santa Fe, NM, Doug travels throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe painting landscapes and seascapes on location. He works en plein aire either with a portable easel, or in his fully equipped RV studio His painting career was sidestepped by more than a decade of acting on stage, film and television. In 1980 He resumed painting and turned professional. He exhibits his work in prestigious national art exhibitions, in galleries throughout the country and is represented in many prominent collections both here and abroad. His work is in permanent collections in colleges and museums. The subject of numerous articles in art publications, he was recently included in a book on marine painters and was given a six page article in Art of the West magazine and an eight page article in American Artist magazine including the cover, December, 2007 edition (His second American Artist cover).
He is best known for his plein air landscape and seascape paintings as well as animal and cowboy art. He also explores working from memory, limited palette, still Life, figural painting, portraits and enlarging studies in his Santa Fe studio. He will also frequently begin a painting on location and finish it at home in his studio using invention and memory.
Born September 25, 1939 in Montclair, New Jersey, Higgins’ early influences came from his artist mother and from his mother’s first husband, Samuel Burtis Baker, both Boston School painters. They both initiated him into the “Life of an artist.” From this early exposure to art appreciation, Higgins went on to study drawing and painting with the legendary Frank Reilly at the Frank Reilly School of Art in New York City.
1939 Eugene Douglas Higgins born September 25th in Montclair, NJ, to Grace Louise Higgins nee Whalley (1901-2000) and Eugene Francis Higgins (1905-1943). Father is a department manager with the Lackawanna Railroad, mother is a portrait painter. Mother had studied art at the Boston Museum School, Boston, Mass. and taught art at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art.
1943 Death of father, Higgins age three.
1940-50 Views art with mother at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY, and in numerous galleries, including the Grand Central Gallery at the Biltmore Hotel.
1952 Has the clearly remembered thought… “There are beautiful paintings inside me, all I have to do is to find a way to get them out.” Visits mother’s first husband, Samuel Burtis Baker (1882-1967) in his Washington, DC, home and studio. Baker, a prominent Boston School painter of a variety of subjects, taught drawing, anatomy and composition at the Rindge school, Cambridge, MA, and later at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC. From Baker, Higgins is introduced to impressionist color judgment and theory. He also learns to value classical music, poetry and the study of the philosophy of aesthetics (Benedetto Croce, in particular). For information on Baker see American Art Review magazine, Feb-Mar 1994, pp. 110-115ff.
1953-57 Attends Hillside Grammar School and later Montclair High School, Montclair, NJ and graduates in 1957. Wins prizes in contests sponsored by Art in Opera and a shoe company. Has cartoons published in the school newspaper, and is offered a scholarship to Cooper Union Art School, New York.
1959 Attends Montclair State College as an art major. Leaves due to what he believes to be a faulty curriculum centered on various modern art movements.
1960-62 Studies art at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, NJ.
1961 Creates first plein air painting in watercolor during an outdoor painting class at the Newark School.
1961-62 Six months active service in the Army Reserves. Six year commitment ending in an honorable discharge.
1962-67 Works in the Public Relations and Advertising Department of the Prudential Insurance Company, Newark, NJ, while attending classes at night at the Frank Reilly School of Art, New York, NY (four years). Mr. Reilly (1906-1966) also taught fine art and illustration at the Art Students League, New York, NY for 29 years and was a syndicated columnist, illustrator, fine artist and muralist. Higgins became drawing monitor and later painting monitor at the Reilly School. Monitors paid no tuition, kept order, started off new students, posed the models and locked up on nights when Mr. Reilly wasn’t there. Higgins drawings and a figure painting were displayed in the school as examples of student work.
1967-69 After Mr. Reilly passes away, attends classes at the Art Students League, NY, and becomes a life member. Initiates practice of painting outdoors. 1966 Moves to New York and is represented by Stewart Men as a male fashion model and begins acting classes with Wynn Handman of the American Place Theater.
1967-80 Pursues an acting career as an on-camera television presenter (over 200 commercials including Lucky Strike, Brylcream and Clairol Nice and Easy which won a Cleo award). Performs in three plays off-off Broadway and five plays off Broadway at the American Place Theater, one of which was taped for the Theater in America series on PBS. Plays the character Roger Stoff in the motion picture A Different Story and the romantic lead Bennett Hadley in 102 segments of the soap opera As the World Turns and continues painting in spare time.
1972 Trip to Hollywood in his Excalibur automobile. En route, visits art school friends Walt Gonske and Allen Polt in Taos, New Mexico.
1975 Buys Ferrari Daytona and drives it to Hollywood, CA for an extended stay seeking acting work.
1976 First trip to Europe, to shoot Chevrolet commercials and print ads. Three weeks in various locations in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland which included high performance driving.
1978 Marriage to Cecily Hughes. Travels to Spain on honeymoon. Continues to paint outdoors nearby their home in Bernardsville, NJ.
1979 Moves to Darien, CT, and works as a contract player on the TV soap opera “As the World Turns”. Appears in over one hundred shows as Bennett Hadley.
1980 Moves to Hollywood, CA, and appears in one motion picture, three television shows and then moves to Santa Fe, NM to begin his professional painting career. Drives throughout the state to paint and shows his work at the Pellham Gallery, Santa Fe.
1981 First Annual painting trip to Gloucester, MA, where his mother and Baker had painted while attending the Boston Museum School, circa 1920.
1982 Joins Gallery at Shoal Creek, Austin, TX, and participates in a three-person show in 1984 and in all group shows through present. Modifies his van in order to paint inside looking out.
1983 Participates in annual exhibitions of Society of American Impressionists, Scottsdale, AZ, through 1985. One-man show at Magic Mountain Gallery, Taos, NM.
1984 Purchases larger, custom-built truck. Joins Nedra Matteucci Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM, through 1997. Joins second Santa Fe gallery of same owner, Nedra Matteucci’s Fenn Galleries, through 1997. Participates in one-man shows in 1987, 1990, 1993 and 1995. Participates in group shows through 1997. First article in a national magazine, September issue of Southwest Art.
1985 Shows in annual Nita Stewart Haley Library Shows, Midland, TX, through 1994.
1986 Two-person show with Glenna Goodacre at a private home, Midland, TX. One-man show at private home in Amarillo, TX. Begins 12 years of participation in Artists of America annual exhibitions, Denver, CO. Divorces and moves to Ranchos de Taos.
1987 Travels to southern Spain to paint for two weeks. Shows in Borderlands Art Auction, El Paso, TX, and in the Scottsdale Rotary Club, Scottsdale, AZ, art show. Selected to judge the Miss USA Pageant, international television viewing audience of 500 million. Artists of America show, Denver,Co.
1988 Moves back to Santa Fe. Travels to Venice with Joe Abbrescia and the Plein Air Painters of America group. Begins regular painting trips to California, New England, Mexico and Canada. One-man show at O’Brien’s Art Emporium, Scottsdale, AZ. Artists of America show, Denver, Colorado.
1989 Purchases new pickup truck with a slide-in camper that allows for painting and living inside during extended trips. Travels to Yugoslavia with Ann Fisk of Traveling Paintbrush, Rockport, MA. Shows at Annual Exhibition, Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM, through 2002. Artists of America show, Denver, Colorado.
1990 Second painting trip to Venice, Italy. Builds adobe home with spacious studio on 2 1/2 acres with mountain views and oversized garage for RV. Group shows at Pam Driscol Gallery, Aspen, CO, and Altermann Morris Gallery, Dallas, TX. Artists of America annual show, Denver, Colorado.
1991 Travels to Nevis and St. Kitts, British West Indies withTraveling Paintbrush. Artists of America show, Denver, CO. Photograph in People Magazine at Perry King wedding.
1993 Self portrait exhibited in James M. Goode’s Self Portraits Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Group show at Blount Corporation, Atlanta, GA (Winton Blount, former Postmaster General, and the Blount Corp. own more than 20 Higgins paintings). Painting acquired by the Campbell County Public Library, Gilette WY. Guest artist for two years at Symposium de Peinture de Baie-Comeau, Canada, with Gloucester artist/author Charles Movalli. Artists of America show, Denver, CO.
1994 Paints on location with actor Gene Hackman and in his studio. Gives him a private painting demonstration. Gene owns six Higgins paintings. Travels to London and Dartmouth, England. Exhibits at national show of Oil Painters of America (Master Signature Member). Teaches first of two workshops at Valdes Art Workshops, Santa Fe. Shows in Kidney Fund exhibition and sale, Nedra Matteucci’s Fenn Gallery, through 1997. Artists of America annual show, Denver, Colorado.
Painting with Paul Strisik in Gweek, England, 1994, photo Ray Balkwill
1995 Purchases full-size RV and customizes it for painting. Travels with artist friend Paul Strisik NA (1918-1998) to Venice, Rome and Luca, Italy, and then Paris. Packs into the Sierras on horseback with California painters Ted Goerschner and Marilyn Simandle. Artists of America annual show, Denver, Colorado.
1996 Travels to Umbria, Italy, with Ann Fisk’s Traveling Paintbrush. Travels with Paul Strisik to Cornwall, England. Conducts painting workshop in Santa Fe studio. Elected Artist Member Rockport Art Assoc. and exhibits in summer shows. Wins Hattie & John Wentworth Memorial Award for Excellence in Oil. Participates in first Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Armond Lara Studio, Santa Fe. First of two visits with New Mexico painters Charlie Kaufman and Gary Niblett to the 300-square-mile T4 Ranch, Tucumcari, NM, to observe cowboys working cattle. Begins learning computer including web site support. Artists of America annual show, Denver, Colorado. Higgins dog Reilly, Belgian Tevuren, photographed by much admired cowboy artist James Reynolds for reference material. Reynolds and Higgins both show at O’brien’s Emporium, Scottsdale, AZ which goes out of business neglecting to pay Higgins for a 40 x 60 sale, ($19,200).
1997 Designated Master Artist of Artists of America, Denver, CO. and participates in show, Opens Doug Higgins Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM. Wins Mariboe-Swift Memorial Award for Excellence in Painting in any Medium, RAA. Second horseback trip to paint in the Sierras. Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe.
1998 Wins People’s Choice Award, OPA, at P & C Gallery, Washington, DC. Travels to Venice, Italy in the spring and Majorca, Spain in the fall. Participates in the Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe. Albuquerque Museum show, Albuquerque, NM. Artists of America show, Denver, Colorado.
1999 In May, Travels to Provence and the Maritime Alps in France. Wins the Aldro T. Hibbard Memorial Award at RAA. Joins Jan Ballew’s Northern Gallery and the Jackson-Kirkland Gallery both in Santa Fe. Shows in Albuquerque Museum show, Albuquerque, NM. Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe. Returns to French Alps in September.
2000 Invited to the Artists of America final show in Denver, Colorado. Wins the Chet D’Andrea Memorial Award at RAA. Participates in Small Painting Show, Albuquerque Museum. Painting trip with Traveling Paintbrush to Sicily, Italy in the fall. Wrangles cattle in California with actor Perry King. Quoted in People magazine in an article about Perry King. Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund, Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe.
2001 Six page article in Art of the West magazine. Elected Artist Member North Shore Arts Association, Gloucester, MA. Travels to Ronda, Spain in April with Traveling Paintbrush. Annual painting trip in RV to Gloucester, MA with Australian Shepard, Whalley. Travels to Sospel, France in September with Traveling Paintbrush. Dec.28, One Man Show, Jackson-Kirkland Gallery, Santa Fe. Participates in Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Chiaroscuro Gallery, Santa Fe.
2002 Annual RV painting trip to Gloucester, Mass. Wins John Manship Memorial Award for Excellence, RAA. One Man Show, Landmark Gallery, Santa Fe. “Whalley” reproduced in Santa Fean Magazine. Albuquerque Museum show, Albuquerque, NM. Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Chiaroscuro Gallery, Santa Fe.
2003 Painting trip to California coast. Annual RV painting trip to Gloucester, Mass. Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Riva Yares Gallery, Santa Fe. Joins Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe.
2004 Higgins paintings acquired by sculptor Glenna Goodacre and musician/actor, Harry Connick Jr. Restores ’84 truck for New Mexico painting trips. Annual painting trip to Gloucester, Mass in July. Technical advice regarding fishing boats from Cpt. Ed Boynton. One man show at Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe, in August. New Mexico Wilderness Alliance show, Albquerque, NM, October.
2005 Painting trip to Portugal and Spain. Annual trip to Gloucester in June. Six year book project completed and installed on web site.
2006 Adds essay on modern art to web site. Oil Painters of America ads, Art of the West magazine and OPA catalogue. Exhibits at the OPA national exhibit. Group show, Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe. Purchases ’05 Chevvy van and Hyundai SUV for location painting. Comisssioned Baylor University quadrangle painting printed in University magazine. Included in library of (artist) quotes, Lani Picard, Internet.
2007 Article in American Artist Magazine (December issue). Eight pages plus the cover.The Frank Reilly School of Art by Doug Higgins completed (Book). Available on-line at virtualbookworm.com, $13.95. Makes their bestseller list. Teaches one-day class in July sponsored by PANM (Plein Air New Mexico) and posts class demonstration on web site. LPAPA (Laguna Plein Air Painters Association) October Invitational. A week of painting with forty nine other plein air painters in Laguna Beach, California ending in a museum show.
2008 October, 2008, establishes TheDoug Higgins School of Art. Second painting acquired by Musician/Actor Harry Connick Jr. “San Ysidro” advertised in Art of the West magazine. Donates painting to the Santa Fe Artists Emergency Medical Fund show, Riva Yares Gallery, Santa Fe. Invited on a trip to Kenya, Africa by a wildlife artist’s group.
2009 Participates in national OPA show. Suspends plein air classes for the winter months. Begins instructional DVD project. RV painting trip to California.
2010 Receives technical information from a generous professional on the internet and completes six month DVD project after learning the use of two Camcorders, a complex editing program and recording the process of over ten paintings. Joins the Wee Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ. Painting demonstration at the OPA National show in Scottsdale, AZ. Painting demonstration and book signing at the Art Expo in Santa Fe. Painting image, (Chamisal) included in the American Artist magazine 2011 calendar. Gloucester RV painting trip, May/June. Attends OPA Western Regional show, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and introduces Albert Handell demonstration. Attends OPA Colorado Paintout.
2011 Begins series of paintings over six feet wide and accomplishes ten of them mostly western scenes. Resumes plein aire painting class in the fall. New web site created by his student, Kathy Maniscalco.
2012 Demonstration at OPA National show in Scottsdale. Leaves final gallery and has no sales outlet other than his web site. Has an income from the Screen Actors Guild, Social Security, DVD and book sales, private painting sales and an annuity from a reverse mortgage.
2013 Publishes e book with the help of Karen Halbert, a student.
AOA Master, Artists of America, Denver, CO
Master Signature Member, Oil Painters of America, (OPAM) Chicago, IL
Life Member, Art Students League, New York, NY
Artist Member, Northshore Arts Association, Gloucester, MA
Member, International Society of Marine Painters, Oneco, FL
Screen Actors Guild (SAG), honorable withdrawl
American Federation of Radio and Television Actors (AFTRA)
Actors Equity Association (AEA)
Society of American Impressionists Annual Catalogues, Scottsdale, AZ, 1983-1986.
“A Conversation with Doug Higgins”, Southwest Art, magazine, Sept 1984, pp. 46-53.
Murphy, Joy Waldron, “Exuberance”, Southwest Profile, magazine, Nov-Dec, 1986, pp. 25-28.
Anthony, Katherine, “Doing What Comes Naturally”, Focus Santa Fe, magazine, Oct-Dec 1987, pp. 29-31.
Artists of America Annual Catalogues, Colorado Historical Museum, Denver, 1987-2000.
Hines, Jack, “Views of Venice”, Southwest Art, magazine, Oct 1988, pp 98-101.
Hines, Jack, “Plein Air Painters in Venice, Italy”, Antiques and Fine Art, magazineOct 1988, pp 53-56.
Miniatures! Annual Catalogues, Albuquerque Museum Foundation, NM, 1989-2002.
Gibson, Daniel, “Doug Higgins, Artist”, (cover), Santa Fean, magazine, Jan/Feb 1989
Nelson, Mary Carroll, “Loosen Those Brushstrokes!”, (cover), American Artist, magazine, Jan 1991, pp. 20-25.
Oil Painters of America National Exhibition Catalogues, 1994-2001.
Cauble, Dianne, “The Journey that Never Ends”, Focus Santa Fe, magazine, March 1996, pp. 52-55.
McClish, Jerry, “A Gallery of Marine Art”, Rockport Publishers, Gloucester, MA, book 1998. 20-21.
Ward, Edward Norton, “On Location in the Sierra Nevadas”, Southwest Art, magazine, Feb 1998, pp. 63-140.
Busler, Leslie, “Best of the West”, Southwest Art, magazine, December, 1998
Cogley, Christopher, “The Truth As I See It”, Art of the West, magazine, March/April 2001, pp. 70-75.
Pike, Joyce, “Masterstrokes”, Oil Painters of America, 2002 Newsletter,Volume 12, issue 3
“Healing Arts: Artists Emergency Medical Fund”, Art-Talk, newspaper, November/December, 2004 pp. 28-29.
Price, Linda S., “Attracting the Viewers Eye”, (cover) American Artist, magazine, December, 2007, pp. 50-57.