FEATURED ARTIST Randy Willis grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received his BFA from Northern Illinois University in 1997. Soon after graduation, the artist put together a body of work that caught the attention of a Chicago gallery owner, who offered him his first solo exhibition in 1998. That show resulted in his work being placed in over a dozen private collections, and would prove to be a promising beginning for his art career. Willis' fascination with nature has provided him with endless inspiration, fueling him to explore the relationships between atmosphere, land forms, water and sweeping skies. The artist often spends time in nature and with a keen eye, observes the way light affects color, contrast, and the subtle ways it can move across the landscape. He allows the myriad sights, sounds and smells to permeate his senses with intent, only to be used later while creating his paintings. Using brushes and palette knives, the gradual buildup of paint layers reveal a textured surface and deep, rich color. His works are created using a combination of sketches, photos and memory, while his compositions rely on an underlying abstract design that serves to give the viewer the most visual impact. Willis' work can be found in private collections throughout the United States. He currently resides and works from his home studio with his artist wife, Jayne, in the small river town of Oregon, IL, that is surrounded by nature preserves, rolling hills and small family farms.