By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What inspired your winning entry? I was walking around the Duomo in Florence, doing some people-watching and taking pictures of the architecture, when I noticed a guy walking a dog. I thought it was odd: Who walks a dog at the Duomo where there isn’t any grass? There’s no place for a dog to pee. I thought it was a neat juxtaposition—an old-world structure and here’s this guy in a modern blazer and jeans. I ran across the square, took a few shots, and made some reference notes. It started me thinking, “Did people walk their dogs on the plaza back in the 16th century? What was it like way back then?” I thought the scene would make a pretty painting, too.
Do you come from an artistic background? I have an aunt who is an artist. My parents encouraged me at a young age because my teacher told them to put me in art classes. The teacher had noticed I drew with perspective.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? The figure. But I haven’t pursued it because of studio space and the cost of hiring models. I love landscapes just as much, though.
What is the best advice you have ever received? From Richard Schmid: “Be true to yourself and paint what inspires you. Once you do that over and over again, you will know your style, your voice, and find your way of communicating with the world.”
What is the most meaningful recognition you have received for your artwork? I would say the award from last year’s American Impressionist Society show, when Quang Ho chose my work. I was honored. That he saw something in it is a big compliment. Recognition by your peers is really important—the greatest compliment.
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? Dog portraits.
Future goals? To paint, paint, and paint some more. To focus on the figure and get into a larger national art market.
Representation: Evergreen Fine Art, Evergreen, CO; Art on the Boulevard, Vancouver, WA; Painter’s Chair Fine Art Gallery, Coeur d’Alene, ID; Valley Bronze of Oregon, Joseph, OR; River Bend Fine Art, Bend, OR; www.mitchbaird.com.
Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010