Kirk Richards photoKirk Richards began his professional painting career in 1980 after studying four years with artist Richard Lack. Having received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and his Master of Arts degree from West Texas State University, he sought instruction in the traditional methods of the old masters, which was not available through the university. He discovered Richard Lack through the 1971 summer edition of American Artist magazine. Mr. Richards studied at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis from 1976—1980.

Understanding the difficulty aspiring students have in acquiring a competent training in painting and drawing, Kirk opened his own atelier, modeled after Atelier Lack. Richards’ atelier operated from 1982 until 1988 in Amarillo, Texas. In the Fall of 1988, he received a commission to paint a large, three panel mural project for the First Baptist Church of Amarillo. Having recently closed his atelier, he devoted his energies entirely to the execution of this commission, and it was completed and dedicated in the winter of 1989. From that time, Kirk has concentrated on a full-time painting career.

Mr. Richards has achieved much success as a painter of portraits, still life, and “imaginative” paintings (religious, symbolic, allegorical, etc.) As a result, his work has been included in many prestigious exhibitions, publications, and catalogs. These include exhibitions at Sotheby’s, Three exhibits at the Newington Cropsey Foundation in Hastings on Hudson, NY, with a fourth scheduled for 2010,The American Artist Professional League in NY, The Boston Guild, and the Springville Museum of Art to name a few. He has participated in many traveling exhibits including: East Coast Concepts, West Coast Ideals, a collaborative exhibit of the California Art Club and the Guild members of the American Society of Classical Realism; Classical Realism, the Other 20th Century; Painters of Light; and The Boston School, America’s Premiere Realists. Juried exhibitions include several Grand National exhibits with the American Artist Professional League, National Spring Salon exhibits at the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah, the Deposit Guaranty Salon International exhibit in Jackson, Mississippi, and many others.

Kirk has been the focus of articles and interviews in several publications including American Artist Magazine, The Artists Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, the Classical Realism Quarterly, The Classical Realism Journal, International Fine Art Collector, and has been featured in two books, The Best of Flower Painting, and The Best of Portrait Painting. He has also written an article for The Classical Realism Journal entitled “From the Academy to the Pueblo.” The article details the European training of E.I. Couse, Joseph Sharp, and Bert Geer Phillips, three of the seven artists who make up the Taos Founders. Kirk is also author of a chapter entitled, “The Art Student’s Dilemma” from the book entitled Realism in Revolution—the Art of the Boston School. In 2002 Kirk co-authored a book on Christianity and the visual arts entitled, For Glory and For Beauty, Practical Perspectives on Christianity and the Visual Arts. The release of the book coincided with a two man exhibition with Steve Gjertson at the Biblical Arts Center in Dallas, Texas, entitled, For Glory and For Beauty.

Mr. Richards has received several important portrait commissions including the late Timothy Jenkins, tenor at the Metropolitan Opera in NY, and Mary Jane Johnson, soprano, also with the Metropolitan Opera. Local commissions include many prominent families and professionals, such as James Setapen, director of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, and Sister Olivia Prendergast, founder of the St. Anthony’s Hospice in Amarillo.

Kirk was selected from over 1000 entrants as one of ten finalists in the 2004 American Society of Portrait Artists international competition, and in 2004 was given a one man exhibition at the Amarillo Museum of Art entitled “Kirk Richards, Classical Realist.” He was one of only 24 artists ever to be certified for the American Portrait Society, has held membership in the American Artist Professional League, and was the only artist to be added to the roster of the original “Full Guild” of the American Society of Classical Realism. He has exhibited with Steve Gjertson and Steve Armes of Dallas in two exhibits called “Triad- Three American Painters.” A fourth Triad exhibit is scheduled for Fall, 2010.

Kirk lives in Amarillo with his wife Linda and is an active member and Bible study teacher at First Baptist Church.


Double Hollyhocks oil painting by Kirk Richards

Double Hollyhocks


  • First Baptist Church, Amarillo
  • Timothy Jenkins, Metropolitan Opera Tenor
  • Mary Jane Johnson, Soprano, International Opera Performer
  • James Setapen, Director/Conductor,Amarillo Symphony Orchestra
  • Sister Olivia Prendergast, Saint Anthony’s Hospice, Amarillo, TX