Getting to know the artists of Sun City: Bruce Cody

By Deb Dahlin
Posted 9/8/20

Since the early 1980s, Bruce Cody has been regarded as one of the premiere painters of large urban and small-town architectural motifs. His contemporary images range from high-rise towers with busy …

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Getting to know the artists of Sun City: Bruce Cody


Since the early 1980s, Bruce Cody has been regarded as one of the premiere painters of large urban and small-town architectural motifs. His contemporary images range from high-rise towers with busy urban activities to small, purpose-built structures such as gas stations, motels and theaters.

In all of his paintings, the rich light and shadows of the western landscape are the primary motive for selecting his subjects. Light pouring on a sign covered facade reflects his interest and early years of being in his father’s neon sign shop. Learning to create hand painted signs was the experience that led him to the serious study and dedication to fine art studies of painting and printmaking. He graduated from the University of Wyoming and earned a master of fine arts degree at Washington State University At the heart of his work exists a positive observation of the American scene that records and mirrors our shared experiences of daily life and journeys across the United States.

Following eighteen years as a faculty member at three different university art departments, Mr. Cody resigned his tenured position at Colorado State University in 1983 to devote full attention to painting while residing in Denver. The works of Denver subjects became widely collected but by 1992, Mr. Cody and his wife Charlene moved to Santa Fe to increase the artist’s exposure and collector base. By 1994 he and Charlene opened the Charlene Cody Gallery that they maintained until the fall of 2005.

As early as 1961, Mr. Cody painted outdoors on location. He focused his Plein-air efforts in 1975 prior to a Sabbatical leave from teaching in 1976-77 in London, England where he did extensive outdoor painting. Mr. Cody’s current work is the result of road trips, often on the lesser traveled roads throughout the southwest and southern California. All of his subjects are places that currently exist. His works are reflections of the American penchant to find new places of opportunity and they are part of our time and place. His subjects are familiar but at the same time contain strong visual intrigue. Mr. Cody is quick to point out his work is not about nostalgia. It is an effort to capture the places we all encounter but often fail to fully appreciate as significant parts of our lives. He simply seeks elegance and subtle beauty in the commonplace. Recently, he was painting a bungalow in Glendale on location that captured the attention of a local photographer. The photographer created a great video on “YouTube” titled “Artist Brings Glendale to Life.”

Mr. Cody has presented 25 one man exhibits since 1984. His paintings are included in 30 public museum collections and has been acquired for more than 50 corporate collections across the U.S. including Citicorp, Exxon-Mobil, Qwest, and Hilton Hotels. His work is in nearly 500 private collections in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Among his collectors are the actors Burt Reynolds and Paul Newman, Vice President and Mrs. Dick Cheney and American historian Douglas Brinkley. His work has been included in many national publications including American Artist Magazine, Southwest Art and American Art Collector.

In Sun City, Mr. Cody teaches painting and drawing at Palo Verde Art Club at Sundial and at The Artists by the Lake Club located on the second floor of the Lakeview center, 10626 Thunderbird Blvd. The art room is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily for members only during Phase Two. Social distancing and masks are worn at all times in the art room. To join the club, email or call 315-591-650. Visit

Mr. Cody will teach a class titled “Landscape Painting and Drawing in Any Media 9 a.m.-noon Fridays, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. Bring a photo reference to work from and medium acrylic, oil, watercolor or pastel. All media and all levels welcome. This is for members only; sign up in the art room.

Artists by The Lake will also host a fine art sale Oct. 1-31, featuring current members’ artwork at WHAM Art Center, 16560 Dysart Road, Surprise. WHAM hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. There will be an open house for the show 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 17.

Editor’s note: Deb Dahlin is president of Artist by the Lake.