Most art lovers — even the most cerebral and academic — turn to the medium for simple delight or deliverance from everyday cares. It would be hard to find a more unabashedly joyful expression of life than on canvases Tom Myott creates.
His eclectic portraits of horses and the Saratoga racetrack are well-known and sought after in the region. Inspired by Chuck Close’s grid style of painting, Seurat’s pointillism, the grand whirl of impressionism and more recently, graffiti art, his renderings of the horse life and its glorious ephemera are so much more than the sum of their parts. They reward close study and gazes from afar.
But his work of late has taken an unexpected turn.
“I’ve been doing a lot of driving recently,” Myott tells Saratoga Living Magazine. An art teacher at South Glens Falls High School, his summers ‘off’ are anything but.
“Everyone thinks the summer is when I finally get to relax, but it’s just the opposite — that’s when things really ramp up for me.”
There’s the hectic world of festivals and art shows that he attends and exhibits at all over upstate New York.
And then there’s life.
“I’ve been driving two hours a few times a week to see my mom, who is recovering from a broken hip in Hoosick Falls. I’ve been driving out to Vermont to hang paintings for clients and I’ve just been going where I need to be for shows,” he explains.
“Most people zone out during through these long drives and when they notice smoke coming from the Finch paper plant in Glens Falls or a storm cruising across the Green Mountains, they might see pollution or a bad drive ahead. But I just end up seeing all of the amazing colors — bright oranges and pinks — on the clouds, the wind through the trees, the tricks of light.”
From what could be a series of depressing or stressful drives, Myott has extracted a new artistic direction and a rich trove of source material for his newfound passion: landscape paintings.
He says he pulls over several times during his drives to take pictures. While the stopovers delay his journeys, the inspiration they provide is well worth the extra time.
Landscape painting seems antithetical to the vitality and fun his celebrated portraits of horses offer. But Myott’s acrylic renderings of land on canvas become as vibrant and brimming with life as the land itself.
“I’ll often use several shots taken on different days of the same landscape and combine several elements,” he says. “I embellish them just like I do with the horses, adding dashes and dots of color and movement.”
The spirit and heartbeat of the race course. The beauty and majesty of the Adirondacks.
All looking good.
Tom Myott’s exhibit at Silverwood Home and Gallery (398 Broadway) launches July 20. S