Bennett B. Strahan was born at the end of World War II to an artist mother and an engineer father.
"My father was an Irish American. He grew up in the wheat plains of eastern Oregon, Pendleton was his birthplace - home of the Pendleton Roundup. He may have been a much better businessman than father, but he left me with a work ethic that came from hard laboring Irish ancestors.
"With his hands and those steel blue eyes, he could have become a very fine artist himself. I recognize that now. But in those days that was a risk you did not take with life. Besides that, 'you can't make a living at it'. I heard that a lot growing up - it became his gift to me.
"My primary caretaker was my mother's great uncle. He was born in 1874. His gift to me was 'Can't never did nothin'. Uncle also gave me an insight on myself that has stuck with me all my life. 'Son, you're just diff'rnt, that don't make you wrong. You see things as you see them and it's okay to be that-a-way -- just don't get in'ta trouble'.
"Though I'm no stranger to trouble or my own dark side, I have tried my best to use my gift positively. Having grown up in an atmosphere as traditional as an Oregon wheat seed and sometimes twice as hard, at fifty years old I returned to that life, near Cimarron, New Mexico, where the folks here are tending what's left of their herds, waiting for the rains and worrying about the fires in an impending drought. On the flip side two weeks each month I spend the other half of my time in the lush humidity of the North American rain forests in the Great Smokies of Western North Carolina. The constrast between the two places and the fine line I travel between them drives the inspiration for my paintings.
"I have been privileged and fortunate to have gained a fine formal education, as well as rocks in my boots from the dirt roads of this country we live in and from the concrete jungles of our biggest cities. I am a graduate of Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, studied art at Alma College with Kent Kirby, and economics at Lawrence Institute. I am a licensed architect and as a Frank Lloyd Wright scholar have restored some of America's finest architecture. (I have designed and built a few good ones myself.) I started painting seriously in 1961 and have maintained a working easel continuously in more than forty years since.
"My inquisitive nature has led me to the jungles of Malaysia and the Philippines, had me climb the mountains of the Rockies, work the deserts of Nevada, experience the humidity of South America and the Southeastern United States (quite often with my fly rod), learn to love the art and architecture of Europe and Asia and had the honor of dining with a few kings and their royalty. My work has been appreciated abroad and at home and I am proud to be an American artist and have the privilege to paint what I see."