Walt Wooten

“A great catalyst to my artistic development was participation in the early stages of the avant-garde “Hairy Who” movement led by Don Baum. I credit that experience for my contemporary sensibility and a willingness to take chances artistically. Don Baum gave me the encouragement and recognition to believe in myself and to stay in the art field where I would learn to express myself through unique ideas and their presentations.

As to technique and color, I’m perhaps more faithful to my Art Institute background where drawing training was paramount and figures a focus. As my paintings have evolved, drawing has taken on an even greater emphasis. I believe as Ingres taught, that in great paintings, drawing is three-fourths of the effort. As a child of 13, wandering around the museum, I was fascinated with how the great masters produced such fabulous paintings. How did they do it? I spent every Saturday afternoon losing myself in the world’s they created. Whether it was a great landscape or a religious masterpiece, their visions were so beyond my daily reality. I could escape to imaginary places that were so exciting.

 

In Sargent’s biography, I was impressed with Sargent’s study and influence of Franz Hals. It led me to learning to look for influences among artists for hints of their genius. It continues to make me reach for capturing the person behind the figure.

 

Parallel to these influences, has been my interest in the Southwest and the Taos Founders. Their impressionistic approach to beauty and culture has influenced me greatly. Blumenschein’s work especially reflects such great beauty of form and light. Walter Ufer is another artist of that era whose drawing beneath the painting shows such skill and artistry. Southwest art in this context creates an exciting opportunity for me as a painter.”

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