▶️ Landscape artist finds new home, rejuvenation in Bend after 58-year career

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David Kreitzer has been a professional artist for almost 60 years and he’s still going strong with no end in sight. After pursuing is passion, he came to Bend not to retire — but to find new inspiration.

“Painting can be soothing. It can be exciting. It can be irritating. It can be a lot of these things. Whatever it is, you’re responsible for it,” David said. “Art follows money. I don’t care how that sounds. It’s the truth. There is no formula for success. Nobody knows what sells, what the rules of painting is. One of the rules in painting is you paint fat over lean. 

“You’ve got to love the process. Too many many artists want to get to the point where they’re finishing the painting. That’s the fun part. They want to get it on there and get it so you got this good looking thing to show for all your work. But I love the preparation, too.”

What started as a boyhood obsession has turned into a lifelong obsession and a career as a professional artist for 58 years.

“When I told anybody I wanted to be an artist, they’d say, ‘But what are you going to do for a living?” David said. “I don’t care how positive you think. Most of the time you’re going to get rejected. That’s true of all the arts.

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“So one things I like about painting is that it’s practically impossible to master. You can get good at it. Instead of letting that frustrate you, hat’s what the philosophers called divine discontent that. You’ve got to use it to your advantage. It keeps you going, keeps you interested in divine discontent.”

It’s just one of the many things that keeps David painting.

“As long as the thing is difficult, you’re into it, you’re interested, you’re working at it, you’re discovering things,” David said.

“My desire has always been to do harmless and beautiful images,” David said. “The highest compliment I get on a painting was somebody says, ‘That makes me feel good.’ or ‘I like it.’ Because when you’re saying I like it, they’re saying it healing. To me, that’s the higher aspect of of painting.”

David grew up in Nebraska and went to graduate school at San Jose State. He cut his teeth in the San Francisco Art scene and made a living as a painter for decades in San Luis Obispo.

He moved to Bend four years ago — not to retire, but to be inspired.

“We came up here and it’s very rejuvenating doing mountains now,” David said. “I love it.”

His wife, Jacalyn, is a Bend native — born and raised here before moving away and pursuing her own career in the arts as a professional opera singer.

“I met him at Seattle Opera backstage,” Jaclyn said.

Their life revolves around art. David’s paintings line the walls of the house and his studio.

“He’s obviously very prolific,” Jacalyn said. “He’s painted around 1,600 paintings in his lifetime, sold around 1,300-1,400, and has around 200 paintings at any one time.”

There’s been highs and lows along the way.

“It got to the point where my phone was cut off. Had no heat in the apartment, so I was painting in the kitchen with the stove on,” David said.

But the one constant has been painting, and David’s unrelenting pursuit of his passion.

“And the one thing I didn’t want to do was go the rest of my life telling people ‘I could have done it’ or ‘I should have done it. I could have done that.’ Nothing sounds more lame,” David said.

A career spanning seven different decades has provided David with the kind of perspective that only comes with time.

“You have to understand why you’re painting. If it’s really important to you, you’ll do whatever you need to do to keep going,” David said.

David continues to sketch and paint almost daily, finding inspiration across the Central Oregon landscapes. If you’re interested in visiting his gallery or finding out more about David’s art, you can call or text 805-234-2048 or email jkreitze@icloud.com.

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