December 2016 featured artist: Walter Porter
Now through December 31, 2016 – All Walter Porter paintings are 15% off
What makes a painting extraordinary?
Plein aire painter and art teacher Walter Porter believes that for an image to be truly remarkable, it must have more than just an attractive subject. For him, the composition – the underlying structure – of the painting is where the magic happens.
In fact, Walter is so convinced that the underlying composition of a painting is what speaks to the viewer that he chooses his images based primarily on that criterion. “I no longer choose a ‘thing’ to paint,” Walter says. “Instead, I search for shapes and an interplay between light and shadow before I ever pick up a brush.”
The realization that good composition was the key to exceptional art came to Walter in 2004, when he switched from painting watercolors in the studio to working in oils out-of-doors. Painting this way, (called en plein aire, meaning painting outside, directly from life) necessitates rapid decision making on the part of the artist to capture a scene before the light changes and everything looks different.
It was this need for fast decisions that forced Walter to rediscover the core concepts of painting composition, determining how to construct an image that would engage the viewer on a visceral level.
“I worked as a professional illustrator and watercolor painter for years, so I knew about using color, temperature, and value but mostly on an instinctual level,” Walter says. “But around the same time I started exploring oils, I began studying the technical aspects of art and that was when these principles and the ‘why’ behind them became real to me.”
The artist also credits teaching for giving him a heightened insight into his painting. “In order to explain a concept or a technique, you have to really understand it or you can’t communicate to others,” says Walter. “I learn as much from teaching my students as they do from me.”
Walter was born in 1952 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Ripon College, The Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Arizona. During his years as a commercial illustrator, his clients included America West Airlines, Arizona Highways Magazine, AT&T, IBM, Park Hyatt Hotels, U.S. West Communications and the U.S. State Department. Today, Walter lives with his wife Betsy in the mountains just outside of Tucson, Arizona.
Looking to add a Walter Porter landscape to your collection? All purchases of Walter’s work made from December 1 – 31, 2016, will receive a 15% discount. Please contact the gallery with any questions you may have.
Contact the gallery
Regular season 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week
Summer season- May through September 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., seven days a week