Al Rounds: Mormon Artist
Al Rounds is an artist well known for his Utah landscapes and paintings of LDS historical sites. His work has been featured in the Ensign magazine and graces the walls in such places as LDS temples, Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, and the Salt Lake City-County Building.
His work goes beyond Utah and the historical sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which he is a member); he favors painting in England and upstate New York. With a camera and his family in tow, he has spent many years walking, hiking, and driving through Utah “looking for ‘paintings.’” He and his family have also traveled through Hawaii, the West Indies, Mexico, and France; he and his wife went to Jerusalem without their children. His paintings appear to be done in oils, but his medium is watercolor.
- “I’ve been painting full time for 25 years, and I spent one month on a painting recently and threw it away. You can mess up a painting with just one stupid stroke or one thing that gets away from you. You can't save it. You just have to start over. Watercolors are totally unforgiving.”
Part of his technique involves research and interviews to reconstruct historic scenes.
Rounds was born in Utah and raised in Walnut Creek, California. He studied art at Dixie College, Brigham Young University, and then at the University of Utah, where he earned his bachelor’s degree under the influence of portrait master Alvin Gittins and newspaper art critic and watercolorist George Dibble. He began painting full time immediately after his graduation. He spent the first years of his professional life rapidly producing paintings in malls to support his family. He also had a showing of his work three times a year at the home of a friend, where he sold his paintings in one night. He was trained in oil painting, but switched to watercolors because they dried faster than oils, so he could sell them faster.
He and his wife, Nancy, live in Utah. They are the parents of seven children. Al and Nancy say they have a mom-and-pop operation where he paints and she handles the business.