Valoy Eaton: Mormon Artist
A. Valoy Eaton is a contemporary regional landscape artist who relies less on the grandeur and power of his subjects and focuses more on the intimate narratives and his feelings about what he sees. He uses a variety of techniques and his work is free of formula or repetition. He is a master of light and brushwork.
Eaton was born on March 29, 1938, in Vernal, Utah. His father and mother who played popular and western music in a dance band fostered his appreciation for the arts. During the Depression, his father worked in the Kennecott copper mine. When Valoy was five, the family moved back to Vernal.
As a child, Eaton loved to draw and especially appreciated the beauties of rural Utah. During his teen years, he loved basketball, and thanks to his height and natural ability, he attended Brigham Young University on a basketball scholarship. He majored in painting and drawing but continued playing basketball.
While at BYU, he married his high school sweetheart, Ellie King. After his graduation, they moved to California for him to study at the Art Center in Los Angeles. When they discovered that they would have to wait one year to get into the program, they moved back to Utah where Eaton taught art and coached basketball at Cyprus High in Magna. He only occasionally painted, and his wife told him she didn’t know if she wanted to be married to someone with talent who was playing instead of painting. So he painted more and completed his master of art from BYU in 1971. At this point, Eaton was making the same amount of money painting as he was by teaching, so they found a three-acre piece of land with a rundown farmhouse near Midway, Utah, and relocated. Eaton was now painting full time.
In 1975, he was accepted into the prestigious annual exhibit of the National Academy of Western Art. In 1976, he was awarded the silver medal in the Royal Western Watercolor Show in Oklahoma. He has exhibited throughout the United States.
Eaton is a prolific artist. He estimates he has sold more than 2,000 paintings. His work is found in private and public collections, such as the Springville Museum of Art, and the Brigham Young University School of Law. At least fifty of his paintings hang in temples owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which Eaton is a member.
Throughout his career, his wife was the driving force behind his success. She made frames, arranged exhibits, set up shows, and sold his paintings.
Eaton and his wife, Ellie, had five children. They moved from Midway to settle back in the Vernal area. They came back to Midway in 2013. She passed away in June 2014.