Gordon Coulthart – Friday Night Guest- April 29, 2022
(Submitted by Mary Intven Wallace)
Gord Coullhart, Acrylic Landscape Painter, was our surprise Friday night guest artist. From Morewood, Ontario, Gord worked for many years as a commercial illustrator and cartoon animator, specializing in backgrounds. Besides co-creating the syndicated cartoon,’ Farcus’, he designed and created Family Channel’s Gemini award-winning series, ‘King’.
Nowadays he is focusing his passion for painting on local landscapes and developing his own personal style. In his slide show, he shared images of his wonderful landscapes which represent his romantic view of the natural world, where everything is connected and moves in sync with its surroundings. In his animated sky paintings, we can sense the magic of the world around and above us.
He enjoys painting a waterfall that he visits regularly, showing how the water moves in synchronicity with the leaves, the trees, and the sky. In his artwork, we see spring water rushing down, breaking and trickling over the rocks – with everything else in a background supporting that theme. Gord’s composition is made even more harmonious with little strokes of related colour that he adds in the background to show the interconnection of land, sky and water.
Gord likes the Group of Seven style of plein air painting where bits of the un-primed wood board remain unpainted so the orange/brown colour peeps through the applied paint, uniting the whole painting while giving a sense of warmth and vibrancy; this has inspired him to use a dark warm red colour as the first colour to cover his canvas. Gord uses liquid acrylic paint, and sometimes gauche. His palette includes the basic colours of Phalo blue, Ultra Marine Blue, Prussian blue, Payne’s gray, Crimson Red, Lemon Yellow, Naples Yellow, Hunter Green, orange, and white. He likes to play with contrast, in both dark/light value and and in warm/cool colour.
In his demonstration, Gord describes the steps he takes to complete a small painting. First, a red background is painted onto the canvas using latex (acrylic) house paint. Next, his sketch is penciled in, using a photo reference. Gord blocks in the silhouette of the tree (his main character) using green, red and orange, and then will paint everything else around that center of interest, making sure that the horizon line is straight. He tells us that the background needs to support the main character in all his paintings so that each one tells a story. He paints a light-yellow sky colour around the tree so that it appears that light is emanating from the tree, almost like an aura. Then he paints in the background hills and the water. Overall, his large brush strokes create a lovely loose image. Finally, Gord uses a small brush and a lighter warm sky colour to add little lines that follow the contour of the tree so it looks like it is emanating energy.
Many thanks to Gord for a fascinating look into his unique style of painting. He reminds us of how important it is to work on our own personal style and to convey our world view in that style.
See more of Gord’s work at: https://the-art-of-gord-coulthart.myshopify.com/