IVINS — One glance at a detailed painting by this artist and chances are you’ll think it’s a photograph. And for good reason.

Waldo Kidd stands in front of his art inside his home in Kayenta, Ivins, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Waldo Kidd, St. George News

“I can just see 3D inside my head,” Waldo Kidd said. “It makes it easier. And I love painting cityscapes and that kind of stuff. I’m a photo realist. Things that don’t really show up on photographs, I can figure it out. Certain angles of the buildings, all of that.”

But Kidd didn’t spend his life pursuing art. In fact, it wasn’t until he was in his 50s that he truly realized his art potential.

When he was younger, he had a talent for drawing and said he was often the best in his class. But he never had the proper influence to pursue an art career. He instead pursued a career as a home builder, carpenter and furniture maker.

Following in his younger footsteps, Kidd said his daughter Celene’s talent for art came naturally. When she was 12, an artist came into their home and taught her art lessons once a week. One day, her art teacher suggested that Kidd take one of her watercolor classes. And he decided to go for it.

The painting “Dewey’s Bail Bonds” by Waldo Kidd is pictured | Photo courtesy of Waldo Kidd, St. George News

“I did a watercolor class from her and it was like, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ I mean, I could tell right away,” he said.

While he loved painting, he didn’t love painting in watercolor, so the teacher gave him old acrylic paint to see what he could do. From there, he continued to paint and taught himself. He believes that building experience allows him to provide the viewer with a greater sense of depth in his paintings.

His favorite subject to paint is cityscapes, which have included scenes from places like San Francisco, Salt Lake and New York. All of his paintings first start with a photograph, which he turns into a drawing before painting the final piece.

While he admires many types of architecture, he said he particularly respects the unpretentious, functional nature of industrial buildings. The sometimes gritty reality of those places is something he finds familiar. He sees the beauty in the rust and years of wear and the evidence of the people who perform the work inside.  

A cityscape painting by Waldo Kidd hangs inside his home in Kayenta, Ivins, Utah, Dec. 14, 2023 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

He’s also attracted to historic buildings, especially those that are cultural landmarks in a community. Fascinated by how they have evolved over the years, he said it reflects changes in collective style, social preferences and technical capabilities.  The passage of time shows in the signage, the color of the exterior paint and conveniences like outdoor seating and customer access.

Many of his other paintings include still-life — single items on a solid background — and have featured different types of salad dressings, condiments, fruit and more.

After having a few art shows in Salt Lake, Kidd and his wife moved from Park City to Kayenta six years ago. He’s now a member of Spark!, an art group in Kayenta that meets several times a year. Each meetup is themed, and members show up to each meeting with an art piece they’ve created under the theme.

When St. George News met up with Kidd at his home in Kayenta, he was working on a “Size Matters” theme in which he was painting a D9 bulldozer.

“I guess I finally got to a point in my life where I thought I could just do it,” he said about pursuing art. “And painting is much easier on the body than being a builder.”

See work by Waldo Kidd on display at Sunset Framer. Visit waldokidd.com for more information. For available art and commissions, contact him directly at waldok@xmission.com.

Photo Gallery

The painting “Carrots” by Waldo Kidd is pictured | Photo courtesy of Waldo Kidd, St. George News

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