Winter gives area farmer-artist time to paint

The new year is but two weeks old, but presently it is shaping up as one to remember for artist and farmer Grant Thye of Grundy County.

One of his works, “Barn” was recently purchased by the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

“Barn” is an oil painting which he completed in 2009.

“I am pleased to have it be part of the museum’s permanent collection,” he said. “And I’m also excited to have one of my works is in the same museum with art by Grant Wood and others.”

Thye’s subjects and style reflects his life and much of his livelihood – he grew up, lives and works on a 300-acre family farm between between Grundy Center and Gladbrook.

Rural landscapes and structures are favorite subjects, as is nature, where he will use bright colors and contrast them with muted hues.

His interest in art began as a youth and he pursued painting through college years at Central College in Pella, where he graduated in 1993, and into adulthood.

He credits professors in the college’s Art department for much of his success.

Thye turned professional in 2007.

His art can be found in private and corporate collections in Australia, Europe and the United States, he said.

When not helping on the farm, he paints.

Winter allows him more time for art, which he dearly loves, he said.

And winter’s timing was ideal.

Thye is busily preparing work in three mediums for a solo show at the Vertical Gallery in Chicago in March.

“Initially, I was to be one of three artists featured at the gallery,” he said. “Over a period of time, the other two artists withdrew for various reasons. However, their withdrawals opened up an opportunity for me to show more of my work, which is thrilling, but also challenging. So, I have been focusing on completing the projects in time for the show.”

The Vertical Gallery is known for contemporary, street art and urban themed works.

A second solo show planned will be at the Dubuque Museum of Art July through October.

While 2014 is already noteworthy, Thye enjoyed success in 2013 and 2012 as well.

Last year he finalized details for the Dubuque show and saw success for a second time at one of his favorite venues – the Iowa State Fair.

He earned third place – and a $750 cash prize – in the Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award presented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and Iowa Farm Bureau.

He was also a finalist in 2012.

To learn more about Thye and work, visit

Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or