Early in life Wes A. Newton was identified as the artist among his family and peers. Newton started drawing when inspired by watching his dad sketch and paint. A paper pad would often become his playground. Even in school he might draw things in the extra space on his paperwork. His teachers couldn’t help but notice his ability and encouraged him to pursue it.
In 1985 Newton received his Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Science and Art of Oklahoma. He attended U.S.A.O. on a scholarship that he received as a reward in an art competition for high school students. While attending college he won numerous awards from around his home state of Oklahoma as well as regional. He was awarded a special scholarship to attend the Art Student’s League in New York. In the fall of 1985 he attended the Art Students League and studied under David Leffel and Dick Geotz.
In 1986 Wes followed his father and became a firefighter for Oklahoma City. He did this not only to follow his father but the schedule allowed him to continue his art. Even though the job has been rewarding Newton has often struggled at times yearning to be an artist full time. It wasn’t long before he was married and started a family. Newton explained, “Once I was blessed with a family the decision became too difficult to move into full time art. I didn‘t want my family to have to sacrifice for something that had no guarantees. A respectable retirement seemed too close to leave early”.
In May of 2012 Newton took a big step towards his dream and retired from the fire department. He says he regrets compromising his dream. With that obstacle gone he can spend his time in the studio. “I can see my development growing already. The momentum isn’t interrupted and I’m free to participate in events I that I sometimes missed earlier.” He says his biggest problem now is that he’s producing paintings faster than his frames are coming in.
Newton made it to the top 200 of the Arts for the Parks national exhibition in 1991, 1996, 2001 and was selected for the top 100 in 1998 and 2003. He has participated in the American Art in Miniature exhibitions at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK in the 1998-2008 exhibitions. He has also participated in the “Western Visions Miniature Show” at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming in the 2000 and 2001 exhibitions. In 2005 he was invited to three of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters shows - “This was one of my favorite events. I not only enjoyed painting several plein air paintings but met several other artist and patrons.” In 2007 Newton was excepted and became a member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters.
Newton has painted with nationally known artists Wayne Wolfe, Jim Wilcox, and Scott Christensen. He says to interact with other artists is important. “Each artist that I have spent time with has shared knowledge that is invaluable to my growth as an artist. In many of my paintings I see a little influence of each.”
With his wife, son and daughter Newton resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma . He frequently takes trips to the northwest to paint on location and to gather reference material. He says, “It is very important to observe the colors and values that nature provides. The studies on location furnish that in the studio.”