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Meet Walter, One of Our Artists

Walter Hurlburt / Oil Painter / Yuma Senior Living Resident since 2019

Q: How did you first become interested in oil painting, and what inspired you to pursue it as a passion?

A: My older brother was an inspiration to me as he was a fine painter of large landscapes. I was also impressed with the paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when my parents took me there.

Q: Can you share some memorable moments or milestones from your journey as an oil painter?

A: I was given my first set of oil colors when I was 12 years old. It took some time to get used to them and I created quite a mess, and I was frightened, but soon I was able to create the beginnings of a real oil painting.

Q: Are there specific artists or art movements that have influenced your style and approach to oil painting?

A: The French Impressionists painted what they saw in view around the and we can do the same by seeing the beauty in the common things around us. Vermeer, in my opinion, was the greatest painter that ever lived. However, there are great painters now and in the past that greatly influenced me.

Q: What materials, techniques, or tools do you prefer to use in your oil painting, and why?

A: The artist now, or painter has a wide choice of quality art supplies that make a painter’s life happy. Canvas’ are of excellent quality and not too expensive. It is better to buy the best quality oil paints. Students and beginners can buy less expensive brands. Brushes are also expensive, so it is wise to take good care of them and clean them after each use.

Q: How has your style or approach to oil painting evolved over the years?

A: A few of my teachers have told me to loosen up on my painting. One can be too rigid. I have learned over time to be careful what you choose to paint, be pleased with what you painted, and enjoy it.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring oil painters based on your own experiences and lessons learned?

A: I think it is important for young artists to find a good painting class in their community. Many are without cost, or little cost. Also, you can learn from seeing what your fellow students are doing and ask questions.

Q: Are there any particular themes or subjects that you find yourself consistently drawn to in your oil paintings?

A: I really like architecture and buildings of all types. I also love to paint portraits. I work from photographs, and not live models.

Q: Can you share any interesting or challenging projects you've worked on that left a lasting impact on your artistic journey?

A: I painted a series of grain elevators a few years ago. A total of ten of them, located in Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Most of them are now gone. I miss them; they were beautiful to paint.

Q: How do you stay motivated and inspired to paint over the years, and have there been times when you faced creative blocks?

A: The creative spark does go out, but it does come back. A friend of mine is a writer and suffers from “writers block” on occasion. It usually comes back when you least expect it.

Q: Are there any specific paintings or series that you're particularly proud of or that hold a special place in your heart?

A: The grain elevator series comes to mind. And there were many interesting places to paint in a place named Prairie Provinces – vast expanses of grain, as far as the eye could see.

Q: How do you see the future of oil painting evolving, and what advice would you give to younger artists who want to carry on this tradition?

A: I think the future of oil painting is a positive one. Creative arts are open to young people with unlimited fields to explore. Painting in oils is one of them.

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