Montgomery-Lee exhibit will visually serenade art lovers | ParkRecord.com

Montgomery-Lee exhibit will visually serenade art lovers

Art lovers will find some new attractions when Montgomery-Lee Fine Art opens its new exhibit featuring the works of oil painter Dean Bradshaw and multimedia artist Eric Thompson Friday night.

The evening will kick off with a reception at 6 p.m. and both Salt Lake City-based artists will be on hand to talk about their paintings, mediums and subjects.

Bradshaw does what he loves

Dean Bradshaw got into art in a roundabout way because he didn't want to become an orthodontist like his father.

"He wanted me to take over the practice, and I went through all of that pre-med crap and just about died doing it," Bradshaw said. "I got my start in furniture design because I was working my way through college."

Bradshaw landed a job working under Andre Liardet, who is considered by some as one of the world's most famous furniture designers.

"He had a store in Beverly Hills and I got a good dose of what creativity was all about," Bradshaw said. "I saw that as a pathway faster than going through eight years of school."

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Bradshaw decided to start his own company, Bradshaw Design, and become a full-time furniture maker.

"I did that for a while, and while I was successful at it, I got bored," he said. "So I decided to pursue a full-time painting career and asked my son to take over the design company."

Bradshaw, who is known for his nature and landscape paintings, had dabbled in painting and would do a few each year while he designed furniture.

"I knew I could do it, and I would take workshops from two of my mentors — [artists] Steve Songer and Robert Moore," he said. "I also would spend a lot of time outdoors."

Bradshaw's medium is oil on canvas.

"I like oils much more because I'm so attracted to color," he said. "I love colorful textural paintings, and my goal was to get to the point where I could do that."

He also likes oils because they take longer to dry.

"There is the ability to put down quickly what you see and what you feel and then come back to it, because it takes days to dry and play around with it," he said. "I tried watercolor a few times and knew that wasn't going to work. And after I tried oils, I didn't want to do anything else."

Bradshaw enjoys working with a palette knife.

"Not only does a palette knife save me from cleaning brushes, it's a more direct way to paint," he said. "I like picking up color and directly laying it on the canvas. You can make a mess and sometimes things work out."

Thompson enjoys a challenge

Eric Thompson is a unique artist in that he specializes in three mediums — oils, watercolor and egg tempera.

"I have to flip my brain around when I shift from medium to medium," he said. "That can be painful because sometimes I will go from doing washes with watercolor and then move to egg tempera and have to remember to build up the work."

The different mediums allows the artist different ways to express himself.

"It's interesting because I always come to the mediums intuitively when I think of what I want to paint," he said. "I can get a ton of detail with egg tempera and more loose with watercolor, or in between with oil. And it's nice to have those options. It doesn't make me special. It makes me strange."

Thompson's style is realism, which was something he decided to do after seeing a work by painter Andrew Wyeth.

"I started out 18 years ago in surrealism, which is so far opposite of what I'm doing now," he said. "I thought realism was silly and boring until I saw one of Andrew's pictures of an ore that was lying on a rock wall."

The image "bowled" Thompson over, he said.

"I had never felt the emotion I felt by looking at a realism painting until then," he said. "I kind of switched my style overnight."

As Thompson began to form his style, he faced the challenges of painting representational works.

"It's always difficult to make something look real, and there are a million different ways to mess something up," he said. "Sometimes I look at what I'm doing and think it's just horrible."

Thompson approaches his works like they're puzzles.

"It's all about fitting things together," he said. "The funny thing is I usually work on six paintings at a time, and I'll flip back and forth and jump from one when it's drying to see if I can fit the pieces of each work together."

Thompson got into painting because he liked to get his hands dirty.

"I wanted to get into the medium and become one with it more," he said. "I'm also a super visual person and I wanted to make a two-dimensional image into a sort of three-dimensional image, without doing sculpture."

Thompson relies on his intuition when deciding what to paint.

"I think there is something in my soul that clicks and makes me want to capture something in paint," he said. "All of my works remind you of a simpler time, and I try to romanticize that when I create things in that world."

The artist has finished nine paintings for the Montgomery-Lee exhibit.

"That said, I might finish up a couple of more to sneak in," he said.

An artist reception for painters Dean Bradshaw and Eric Thompson will run from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 30, at Montgomery-Lee Fine Art, 608 Main St. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature new works and refreshments. For information, visit http://www.montgomeryleefineart.com.