Leon Parson

The official site of Leon Parson: http://www.leonparson.com/

Leon Parson's BYU-I Profile http://www.byui.edu/art/faculty-and-staff/leon-parson

Article about Leon Parson by Jessica Potter titled, “Professor Paints a Memorable Legacy"

Article about Leon Parson by Kris Millgate titled, “Temple Artist Mixes Hunting, Painting”

A speech by Leon Parson titled “Testimony of the Savior as Creator-Artist"

Memories of Figure Drawing with Leon Parson, January - April 1987

Leon Parson was my professor of Figure Drawing in the Winter of 1987 at Ricks College. Although I was his student for only one semester, his influence continues to be felt both in my art, and in the way I instruct my own classes.

I knew of Leon Parson in high school because of his cover illustrations for the magazine, “Outdoor Life,” and his other artwork that I found in various hunting and wildlife publications. I began a collection of his work then, and referenced his work for some of the pieces I did in high school.

I enrolled in my first and only class with him at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, in January of 1987. I was shocked by his intensity and honesty. For a student interested in improvement, nothing could have been better. Although uneasy and unsure if I could meet his expectations and requirements, I resolved to do the best I could.

Leon asked us, “Why do you want to paint, when you don’t even know how to draw?” I quickly realized that he was right. Although I had high school experiences in watercolor, acrylic, and oil at that time, and ‘thought’ I knew how to draw, I was wrong. He insisted that on our own time, we work from George B. Bridgman’s book “Bridgman's Life Drawing,“ and John H. Vanderpoel’s book, “The Human Figure,” asking us to copy accurately the drawings inside.

During class we worked almost exclusively from live models, both male and female. We were arranged in a circle, around the model, and generally poses would last from five minutes to thirty minutes (sometimes longer), depending on his objective. I was awful at the beginning, but with each pose my speed, observation, and accuracy increased. I was stunned at the end of the semester when I compared my pre-instruction drawing with those completed at the end. I felt that I had made more progress in drawing in four months, than I had made in all my other art classes up  to that time.

I left Ricks College in April of 1987. I spent two years in Sao Paulo, Brazil on an LDS mission, and when I returned, I chose to continue my education at BYU. For my artistic career, this was a mistake. I should have gone back to Ricks College and continued my education with Leon Parson.

Below you’ll find many of Leon Parson’s artworks. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. Maybe one day, if you hurry (he’s still teaching at BYU-I), you’ll have a chance to have him as your professor, too.


It was January 14, 1987 and I was in the middle of my Figure Drawing Class with Professor Leon Parson. We had been working for a few minutes from a live female model, when he stopped behind me and watched me draw for a moment or two. Abruptly he said, “Stand up. Let me see if I can pull this drawing out of the fire.” I stood up and he took my seat and paper, and began to work. I watched as he drew for just a couple of minutes. He then stood up, saying, “There you go.” The result is below, and I’ve kept it for more than twenty years as a tangible reminder of a master artist at work.

p antelope
p bear
p caribou
p elk
p goat
p moose
p mulie
p setter
p sheep
p turkey 1
p turkey2
p whitetail 1
p whitetail2
barn owl
All Spruced Up-01
autumn whitetail-01
backside of notellum-01
Barren Ground Monarchs-01
big buck-01
Black hole bull lo 2
buck fever-01
Catching Some Sun-01
center of attention-01
Checking His Backtrail-01
clearcut bonanza-01
cliff stalker
dinner guest-01
in his prime-01
into the silence-01
king speaks-01
lodgepole madona-01
lookin over menu-01
Machelle My Belle-01
majestic morning-01
master of the high count-01
Midday Repose-01
Migration Time-01
On the Move-01
out the backdoor-01
over the top
prairiegoats lg
ridgeboss lg
september again-01
slipping away-01
snow buck-01
sunrise at gibbon meadow-01
The Ol' Recluse Himself-01
The Rookie-01
The Veteran-01
third weekend lg
this land is mine-01
Tundra Sovereign-01
Utah stamp-01
weather change-01 copy
truth restored lg
IF Temple
TempleBuilders Hinkley
parsons handcart 4x6