How David DeVary came to paint the American West - and some Holiday Offers

11/17/2022 7:12:18 PM

Greetings Western Art Fans.
November 14th would have been David DeVary’s 80th birthday! In celebration of a life well lived, we thought you would enjoy the story of his painting journey as he developed his signature style of Western Art.
While living in Chicago and working in advertising, David was interested in honing his painting skills. He enrolled in night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago where he began with watercolor, delving into still life paintings of flowers, decorative furniture, machinery and industrial parts including gears and rain gutters. Inspired by photographs of people in magazine ads, he knew that he wanted to explore figure painting with his own twist. 
Untitled, Watercolor.
Mastering watercolors, he moved on to oil paint, an entirely different beast. He loved working with oil paint because, in his words, it was forgiving. Oil paint, especially when used with certain oil mediums, stays wet for a long time, which allows the artist more freedom to blend colors and to add (or take away) paint as he sees fit. In the final phase of applying varnish, David saw the magic: suddenly, all the colors of the painting became more intense; depth was revealed in shadows and the painting became fully integrated. David fell in love with all the aspects of oil painting and started exploring different subjects.
As an experiment, David painted his dad, a sheet metal worker for the railroad in downstate Illinois. Borrowing inspiration from the painted icons he grew up seeing at church and Catholic school, not to mention the incredible collection at the Museum of the Art Institute, he applied gold leaf as the background for his dad's portrait. In a “Eureka!” moment, David knew he had discovered something special with this painting. He also realized that his dad, like so many of his era, was part of a vanishing America, the name given to the piece. A particular part of the "Vanishing America" in David’s mind was the legend, the myth, of the American cowboy, once distinguished in shows and movies and then lost to bigger, better, shinier things that came after.
That was how David landed on his iconic portraits of the American West. They glorify what he remembered in old John Wayne movies, adding in elements of glamour, mystery, and contemporary trends. "Vanishing American" was painted on a plain plywood board. From there, David transitioned this technique to canvas, and the rest, as they say, is history.
David’s dream of romanticizing the American West was realized in the decades that followed. Now, we are seeing a new generation of young people discovering David’s enduring work and we know how grateful he would be.
"Vanishing American," oil paint and gold leaf on plywood.
"Follow Me," Giclée available on
We still have a limited number of David’s original oil paintings for sale, which you can find here (follow this link). There are few remaining paintings left in our collection, so this is a very special purchase! Please enjoy these pieces by David and if something catches your eye, you can contact us for more information at
In the spirit of bringing some cheer for the season, we are also offering a special discount on reproductions of David’s work! From now through December 31, 2022, all print purchases will receive a 15% discount (applied before tax). We hope this brings a little joy, especially if you’ve wanted a piece but needed a nudge!
And, finally, we are offering free shipping on the DeVary Signature Tote Bag for the holidays! Order now through December 31, 2022, and receive free shipping for the tote bag to anywhere in the lower 48. It’s a beautifully-designed bag, featuring the painting “Just The Two of Us,” complete with thoughtful functionality. For more information,
DeVary Signature Tote Bag
We wish you a warm and happy holiday season and the very best for the new year. And, as always, we are grateful for your continued support and appreciation for David and his artwork!
Lee DeVary 
See more of David's work at
David was interviewed for this video piece several years ago.
Click on the photo below to watch!