Richard Willson is a plein air painter, poet, enviromentalist and teacher in Los Angeles, California. A co-founder of the Mount Washington Plein Air Painters, his work seeks to create empathetic observation of the interaction of the natural and built environments. The geographic focus of his work is the communities of Northeast Los Angeles.
Willson’s art is influenced by the urgency of global environmental challenges. He sees plein air painting as a way of understanding and appreciating nature. Plein air painting places the artist in a context of changing light, weather, seasonal variations, and plant cycles. It also provides opportunity to observe the effects of human activity on nature. In Willson’s case, a bridge, road, or building is often seen in its relation to nature.
Willson’s paintings are a parallel effort to his research and teaching activities on environmental sustainability as a professor at Cal Poly Pomona. Willson holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and has studied art at Otis Parsons Institute in Los Angeles.