Mark's early career began as an Army illustrator in the Vietnam war, which led to a job in Los Angeles illustrating magazines for 10 years. In 1983 he became a full time professional artist in the fine arts and has never looked back. Mark is not a formula painter, just churning out what the public is told is good art. Instead, artist Mark Downey aspires to produce great art.
He has no qualms about calling his work original, as he goes out in the field to find his subject matter, and spends much thought and preparation on each painting. It is an act of providence that his keen eye always sees something that can be celebrated in art. Whether it's capturing the mood of the stormy Pacific coast or the magnificence of the northwest mountains, you can count on a Downey painting bringing directly to you the spirit of life in depth and detail.
A Downey original touches the soul. This explains the continual accolades, year after year, in major art shows of People's Choice Awards, Best of Show, and first place recognition. His peers have also acknowledged his abilities by inducting him into the second oldest fraternal art organization in the country, the prestigious Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters (being nominated by the late William 'Bill' Phillips, Gig Harbor watercolorist extraordinaire). Mark was also accepted into the Western Heritage Artists and was president of the Rainier League of Art. He is a member of Oil Painters of America and, by virtue of his professional success and 'consistent excellence', Mark has been inducted as a Signature Artist of National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society.
He has donated artwork to help the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wolf Haven, the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Portland Audubon Society and other charities. For the last 15 years, he has participated in major western and wildlife art shows.
In 2003 Mark's piece "Above Rainier" was selected for the Arts for the Parks "Top 100" national juried competition. This is one of the biggest art contests in the United States, with thousands of artists competing and only 100 picked for exhibition. The piece was on tour for a year to art museums and art institutions throughout the country.
Although Mark has been capturing the dramatic and poetic ambiance of the Pacific Northwest for many years, he is not limited to a regional genre. In fact, he and his wife have travelled the backroads of Hawaii, discovering new subject matter. In 2005, they moved to Kentucky where the bluegrass aesthetics of horse country has made an impression on Mark's palette. He was accepted as a signature artist in the Cincinnati Art Club in 2008.
Mark's work appeals to the average art connoisseur as well as the serious art collector. Several originals hang in corporate collections. From time to time, Mark does special commissioned work for patrons who have a personal idea in mind. The latest technology in image reproduction is also available.