In earnest observation and study of nature’s nuances, D. LaRue Mahlke finds an emotional and spiritual connection that is revealed in her sensitive portrayals of the American landscape. Her paintings evoke a sense of peace that draws the viewer into an intimate encounter with place.
Creativity and work are God-given gifts, and Mahlke believes it is her responsibility as a painter to honor and glorify God with the work of her hands. Painting, for Mahlke, is a way to celebrate and share the beauty and truth of God’s creation with others. Annual painting trips out West bring new horizons to explore, making a lasting impression on her work. Soft pastel is Mahlke’s medium of choice for much of her work, whether in the studio or on location.
Mahlke’s paintings are in private and public collections throughout the U.S. and abroad, and have been exhibited in numerous distinguished museums. In 2019, she exhibited her work at the Brinton Museum as part of the Artists in Residence program. In 2017, her work was featured in “Painting Red Rocks Country, Past and Present,” a four-person exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum, and in “Stormy Weather: Western Atmospheres,” an exhibition at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Most recently, in collaboration with the Executive Director of the Museum of Western Art, Darrell Beauchamp, she proposed and curated “The Heavens Declare! Celebrating the Glory of the Skies,” based on Psalm 19:1.
In 2013, Mahlke was awarded the Gold Medal for works on paper and Best of Show at the Phoenix Art Museum’s West Select show. Numerous publications have featured her work including Art of the West, Western Art & Architecture, Southwest Art, Plein Air and Pastel Journal, as well as two North Light books on pastel.