Meyer Gallery’s ‘Facing West’ opens new landscape
Seth Winegar and Silas Thompson exhibit opening reception 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 29 Meyer Gallery, 305 Main St. Free meyergallery.com
Oil artists Seth Winegar and Silas Thompson are fascinated with painting landscapes.
They both like how natural light creates values that define positive and negative space in the works that represent what they see.
But that’s where the similarities end.
The public will get the opportunity to see the differences in the works of the two artists when they open a joint exhibit called “Facing West” at Meyer Gallery, 305 Main St., during the Park City Gallery Association’s Gallery Stroll.
The exhibit will open with an artist reception, which is free and open to the public, from 6-9 p.m.
Winegar’s approach to his art comes through his acute perception of the world.
“Sometimes I’ll be driving on the freeway with my wife and look off to the side of the road and see a flying hawk or a perfect sunset,” he said. “When I see these things, I always tell myself that they would make a good painting. But then I remember I’m driving 65 or 70 miles an hour down the freeway, and I can’t really stop to do it.”
When Winegar does get time to paint, he doesn’t just try to capture exactly what he has seen.
“The bottom goal is to survive and make money, so I try to paint things that other people like or connect with,” he said.
By doing so, Winegar takes a little artistic liberty with his color palette.
When he first started painting nearly 30 years ago, Winegar used the same color scheme that involved many browns and a little bit of blue, he said.
“Sometimes artists will get stuck with a certain palette, and, like what happens with me, the art gets stale,” Winegar said. “As I grew older, I tried to choose different colors.”
Working with the limited palette early on in his career helped Winegar learn about artistic contrasts.
“Most beginning painters just see the green leaves and paint them green without realizing that the values are more important than the color,” he said. “If you work on a vertical plane, the colors will be darker than they would on horizontal plane, because the sun shines down. It takes a lot learning to realize that on a normal afternoon the ground will always be lighter than the trees, unless the sun is directly hitting the tree. That’s when you start to see that everything in between is a different contrast.”
Still, Winegar said, color is a good tool for artists.
“Color sells, and it’s more fun to paint with colors,” he said. “The trick is you need to learn how powerful colors can be, because it’s easy for an artist to lose a painting to color.”
Winegar’s go-to medium is oil, and the draw is more than the colors and the smell of the paints.
“Oils last longer,” he said. “They can be handed down from generation to generation. I’m a fan of hand-crafted furniture. And like well-made furniture, an oil painting will be around long after I’m gone. They’ll last for decades. I think that’s cool.”
The painter works mostly with brushes.
“I know you can use a palette knife and get a lot of textures, and some of those textures are cool,” he said. “I just think it’s just a preference for me to use brushes.”
Meyer Gallery has represented Winegar for 24 years, and he is grateful for owner Susan Meyer for taking a chance on him.
“I was painting on my own, but she was the first to let me in the door,” he said. “She’s been a mentor and friend. She knows the art market. She knows what sells. And I remember she came to visit me when I was in the hospital and gave me an art book.”
Like Winegar, Thompson, who has been represented by Meyer Gallery for nearly two years, is attracted to a scene’s natural contrast.
“I think artists would be lying if they said they weren’t drawn to dramatic lighting,” Thompson said. “I also think I’m drawn to the combination of naturally linked and almost abstract shapes that landscapes have and are emphasized with the lighting.”
When painting these landscapes, Thompson knows he has a duty to find truth in representation, but he also feels freedom with choosing his colors.
“I am able to exaggerate colors and shapes based on what I’m seeing,” he said. “I have found the colors of nature are more intense than what I can mix on my palette, so there are times when I will adjust the intensity of color to a higher level and drop the contrast value of a painting to create a sense or illusion of what I’m seeing.”
Sometimes Thompson flows with his art. Other times he wrestles with it.
“I think that can be related to other factors in life and what else is going on in my life or how relaxed and comfortable I feel,” he said. “The funny thing is I feel more comfortable when I push myself to do different things. So, I’m more comfortable when I’m less comfortable.”
Thompson paints both outdoors and in the studio, and can’t detach himself from either one of those venues.
“I think I prefer probably painting outdoors, but I try to keep my outdoor-versus-studio ratio at 50/50,” he said.
The reason is because Thompson said his studio work looks better due to the time he’s spent outdoors, and vice versa.
“The studio lends itself more to experimenting, because I’m not about to get hit by rainstorms or blown over by the wind,” he said. “On-locations lend themselves to truer sense of colors and I feel a part of what I’m trying to create.”
Thompson likes oil paints because of their texture, and he uses both brushes and palette knives to apply the paint onto the canvas.
“I find the brush lends itself to softer painting, and the knife can create harder-edged paintings that can be little overpowering,” he said. “So I use both on every painting, and when I find myself using more brush on a painting, I try to use a little bit of the knife. If I find myself painting more with a knife, I will then find places to use a brush.”
The painter said he likes to use the brush and knife to build up texture with his paints.
“I do this to give the viewer another dimension of viewing experience,” he said.
Thompson also likes that oils take a long time to dry, even in cold weather.
“Acrylic and watercolors just dry too quickly, and that’s a problem when I’m working outside,” he said. “There’s also the fact that I can still work with the paint outside in below-freezing temperatures.”
Thompson has loved art since he was a child.
“I drew anytime I could get my hands on any medium, and pen and paper came with a low price tag,” he said.
His early sketches were experiments with expression. As he grew older, he developed a love for the outdoors.
“My mom was very supportive,” he said. “She had all the supplies but never forced me to do it.”
These days, Thompson gets his support from his wife Bianca and daughter Ruth.
“I could never do what I do without them, although Ruth is only 10 months old,” he said. “She has this energy when she comes running through the studio.”
Visual artists Richard D. Pick and Kristen Mitchell show their love for landscapes with new Park City Library exhibit.