Artist, entrepreneur, and jack of all trades Bruce Burtenshaw was born in the state of Washington in 1958, as the fifth of nine siblings. Bruce was surrounded by many artists in the family, including his mother, aunts and uncles, cousins, and sisters. At the age of 14, he carried forward the legacy of generations of artists and began selling his realistic drawings, including many detailed images of custom hot rod cars, which were literally indistinguishable from their photos.
Burtenshaw excelled in art throughout many years of art classes in high school, but worried that selling artwork wouldn't pay the bills. Instead of pursuing his true passion as an artist, he followed his and his older brother's fascination for electronics and joined the Navy to learn electronics theory and repair.
In 1979, Burtenshaw fell in love with Hawaii and Hawaiian artwork while stationed in Oahu, Hawaii as he served on the USS Rathburn as an electronics tech, where he maintained and repaired every piece of electronics on the ship. Bruce knew that he truly belonged in the Hawaiian Islands the very moment that he stepped off the plane.
After leaving the Navy, Burtenshaw opened and operated several businesses, including Burtenshaw's TV and Electronics Repair, Burtenshaw's Auto Restoration and Paint, and Burtenshaw's Antique Furniture Refinishing. As if running three businesses at once wasn't enough of a challenge, Bruce simultaneously authored several books on the country's problems and their solutions, and purchased and remodeled many properties, where upon he became a landlord for over 20 families at once.
During this time period, Bruce experienced the joy of visiting the Hawaiian Islands and the disappointment of returning home many times, each time wishing he could keep that feeling. Amid each stay throughout the islands, he frequented all the art galleries and longed to become an artist in Hawaii.
Bruce began buying Hawaiian art, and found that it helped him to continue to nurture that feeling of peace and serenity in his everyday life when he had something beautiful to gaze into and remember all the quality time spent in Hawaii with family and newly discovered friends.
That's what Bruce wants to do for you: To help you bring a piece of this Hawaiian love and contentment into your home. Bruce is passionate about accurately capturing the gorgeous detail of this beautiful paradise. His dream is to create such a realistic painting that it instantly transports you back to your happiest moments whenever you view the painting.
Throughout the 1990's and early 2000's, Burtenshaw became fascinated with the artwork of two of his favorite highly successful Hawaii artists. One of them airbrushes his backgrounds in acrylic paint and then brushes in fine details, the other paints with multiple transparent layers of oil paint. Bruce self-taught himself how to be proficient at both techniques.
Upon visiting Hawaii the next year, Burtenshaw presented photos of his artwork to many highly successful Hawaii artists. All remarked with the same exact statement, saying, "I can't believe these are paintings. They look like photographs!" Quite a few of them stated, "What are you doing in Idaho? Get yourself over here to Hawaii!"
Bruce and his wife Kim finally gained the courage to make the change and moved to Kihei, Maui. They now live on the cooler gentle slopes of Mt. Haleakala, away from the bustle of city life. Since 2006, Burtenshaw's Hawaiian themed original paintings and limited edition prints have been enjoyed by his patrons. Bruce invites you to share his journey as he reveals his passion for the Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands in his paintings.
It took Bruce many years to decide to follow his passion and leave the safety of everything he had built on the mainland to pursue his real dream of painting scenery in Hawaii. He hopes that his art will inspire you to take that leap in your own life.