Some artists like to be right in the middle of the mix, but that would not include Richard Painter.  His choice of work location high on a bluff outside of Smithville overlooking Center Hill Lake provides plenty of solitude for his quiet pursuit of art.  He and his wife moved here in 2003, whereupon Richard proceeded to build his ideal studio - garage on the ground floor, large open room atop and loft filling up the half-floor above it all.  This former welding mechanic - he followed his dad into the practice the first 10 years of his working life - used an extendable engine hoist to lift into place the walls and roof built lying flat.  Richard’s process begins in the loft at his computer station, where his favorite part - conceptual cogitation - takes place.  Once the imagining has crystalized into a direction, it’s down to the main floor to put hands and tools to ideas.  No brushes and paints allowed here, rather instruments of fire blaze image onto wood panels.  The broad propane burnings are done outside - fumes and smoke not being so healthy - and more delicate, small tip work is handled back inside, where panels are screwed into the wall and several fans take the offending clouds up and out the opened windows.  Relief work may be added with carving tools.  When the work is finished, the panel is screwed onto strong, handmade frames.  Richard is an experimenter.  Constantly digging around for different ideas, if he sees it, he pretty much believes he can do it, only better.  He sets about figuring out how to do something he’s totally unfamiliar with, adapting tools and objects to accomplish his purpose.  He usually has 2 or 3 different art forms going at any given time.  I said he worked alone.  That’s not exactly accurate, as Buddy, the ball of fluff dog, has the run of the place.  Literally.  Worn paths on the rubber pad flooring bare witness to Buddy’s favorite exercise routes.


From the artist:  “I believe work should be seductive, then reveal itself.”

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