Cholla at Sunset


"He was a man, once great in wealth, a lord of house and lands, until he fell into Love's arms, but more into her hands."

--John Meister

from the accompanying poem for my painting "Love's Fool"

Artist Bio

As a child comfortably playing on the banks of a creek in Austin, Texas, my parents uprooted us several times a year to drive across the desert of New Mexico, returning us to their own childhood homes and memories.

Threading through mesas, thunderheads, and virga, I imagine from the vantage point in the back seat of our Ford LTD station wagon, that my brother and I resembled young Jim Morrisons traveling across the desert floor, kindling memories that would eventually spark moody rock-n-roll hits. We were truly ‘riders on the storm’, soaking up the visual cues that we experienced.

I am grown now with a family of my own, and my wife and I have dwelt in this enchanted land for over thirty years. Having moved beyond formal art training and twenty-three years of commercial work, painting now occupies me full-time and frequently draws me out of my studio and into nature, giving me the opportunity to observe my subject on its own terms, witnessing its strength and endurance. The light, the air, and the soils all play their part, creating a unique rhythm of texture and color that defines this special place.

The term ‘magical realism’ had to be created for New Mexico. Living here, I appreciate the aesthetic of life in all its forms and gravitate toward intimate views of nature and the structure of things. Life must do a little something extra to thrive here, and sometimes it displays great beauty in the process. I strive to capture that.


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John Meister is best known for capturing light and color in his paintings while exploring the unique strength and beauty of nature. He currently lives in Albuquerque, NM.

“Life must do a little something extra to thrive here, and sometimes it displays great beauty in the process. I strive to capture that.”

John began his career as a commercial graphic artist and illustrator in Austin, Texas later moving to New Mexico in 1990 – his parent’s home-state. After 23 years, he made the shift toward full-time painting. Primarily self-taught in oils, he often paints along-side artists whom he admires, dividing his production between his studio and painting en plein air (in open air). He considers the New Mexico outdoors the best “classroom” for the artist.

In 2018, he served as President of Plein Air Painters of New Mexico, an organization of over 400 people nationwide dedicated to painting outside. John’s work has received multiple local and national awards and can be found in collections across the Southwest and abroad.


Demos, Articles, and Project Links:



"Tips for Tackling a Visually Complex Painting Subject":

On Nov. 21, 2020, I was invited to do an online Zoom presentation to the Rio Grande Art Association. The first part of the talk was an overview of some of my art. The three images below show the subject photo (left), the underpainting (middle), and the final painting (right), for the second part of my presentation titled, "Tips for Tackling a Visually Complex Painting Subject". (The painting process demo begins at about the 36 minute mark.)


*Click here if you would like to see this presentation.



*Click on the following link to read my article for Plein Air Today (, on visiting and painting Norther New Mexico...

Painting in New Mexico’s High Desert - A Land of Resilience in the Face of Decay


My Studio:

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The Artist Studio is where I currently have my professional studio workspace. It is a cooperative artist studio with 12 artists. Visits to the studio are by appointment. To see The Artist Studio page, Click Here.


Painting group:

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In 2014, a friend and I began painting outside on a regular basis (termed painting en plein air). Now our group, Plein Air Friends, is in its seventh year. To see the Plein Air Friends page, Click Here.


Concept Art Project:


"Biologique" was an exhibition that I co-curated with the New Mexico Art League. Read the review in the Albuquerque Journal.

Natural design is a source of infinite variety and form. It can follow complex patterns that can repeat, scale, and progress with incredible complexity and aesthetic beauty. Artists are often moved to capture the whims of Mother Nature and in the process of artistic discovery we have unearthed amazing constants such as the “Golden Mean”, the Fibonacci sequence, π (Pi), fractals, and mathematical harmony. Nature can display these in the form of storms, erosion, trees, flowers, shells, feathers, and endless other ways. Artists may depict them, whether rooted in reality or imagination, through drawing, painting, photography, or other creative methods.


Cooperative Art Project:

Paint the Ballet

In 2013, I began the Paint the Ballet cooperative arts project. Painters work with the New Mexico Ballet Company to paint the subject of ballet. Click Paint the Ballet above to see more about this unique project.


My art is currently represented by:

Purple Sage Gallery - Representing some of my Plein Air Paintings

201 San Felipe NW (In Historic Old Town), Albuquerque, NM 87104


I am currently a member of the following art organizations:

PAPNM - Plein Air Painters of New Mexico
RGAA - Rio Grande Art Association
NMAL - New Mexico Art League
OPA- Oil Painters of America