Jeff Cochran's impasto oil paintings depicting the New Mexico landscape are a mix of realism and romanticism. They depict a world where the perfect light meets the perfect view. Jeff Cochran has been living and working in Taos, New Mexico for nearly twenty years and has a love for the land that goes beyond his art practice. Stemming from his work as an organic farmer, Jeff is well-tuned to notice every nuance and subtle change in the landscape. He works the land and alfalfa fields that surround his high desert property, which abundantly provides him with inspiration for his paintings. Cochran thinks of his farming as an extension of his art and as a form of large scale sculpture made of the Earth. He says, "The different colors of plants, soil and mulch contrasting with furrows and beds are like a three dimensional painting."
“I enjoy painting the landscape of New Mexico. It is a challenge to capture the sunlight and beauty. I enjoy the big sky and the mountains and the way the light reflects off of them.”
Jeff Cochran began his art career at the age of twenty, while he was working as an illustrator for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. He began selling his paintings while still in college and quickly found gallery representation. He estimates that there are about two thousand of his paintings “out in the world”. Much of Cochran's early success and renown came from his large paintings of chimpanzees. He was interested in how his paintings of chimps allowed viewers to see themselves in the paintings the same way they would with a portrait of a human, but the paintings were very obviously depicting chimpanzees. This dynamic creates a very special kind of cross-species empathy. Primate activist, Jane Goodall, owns one of Cochran's chimp paintings (and even invited him to her 70th birthday party).
Jeff Cochran's recent focus has been painting the beautifully rugged yet gentle landscape of Taos, where he lives and has his farm. His impasto oil paintings have a direct and confident application, even letting areas of canvas shine through. Cochran lets the oil paint be oil paint - his brushstrokes retain the paint's natural thick and luscious quality, while at the same time articulating the details of the landscape that only someone who works the Earth may notice.