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Home > Artist Bio

GENE HAYES

Eugene B. Hayes, a native of the Wallowa Valley of Northeastern Oregon, has been drawing since the age of four. From his childhood he was at home in the mountains and valleys of the "Switzerland of America." His natural artistic abilities, coupled with his love of the outdoors and his keen observation of nature, have produced realistic works of detail and beauty.

Hayes served in the First Cavalry Division in the Pacific during World War II. Back in Oregon, he lost his right hand in 1947  in a feed mill accident. While still recuperating, he began sketching with his left hand.

After training at the Jean Turner Art Center in San Francisco in 1948, Hayes earned a diploma in commercial art from the Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls.

In the ensuing years Hayes has worked in both commercial and fine art. He has explored various media, including oil, watercolor, pen and ink, and pencil, specializing in realistic wildlife, landscapes, and historical scenes. He paints some scenes from real life, doing background research and drawing preliminary sketches on location.

In addition to drawings, paintings, and prints, Hayes has produced cartoons, maps, book illustrations, and murals. The book A Wallowa County Sketchbook: 50 Drawings by Gene Hayes featuring his pencil sketches, was published in 2003.

Hayes has shown his work in various art shows throughout the Northwest, and he has operated galleries in Northern Idaho and Northeastern Oregon. His work has also graced the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

Through his art Hayes is endeavoring to preserve the scenic beauty and wildlife of  the Pacific Northwest as well as the scenes of the everyday life of an earlier time in the history of the Northwest. Recent themes have included an Oregon Trail commemorative series, the one-room schoolhouses of Wallowa County in Oregon, horse logging, and wheat threshing.


 

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