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 Paul Kratter  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: wildlife, sports illustration, painting, graphic arts

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Biography from Nancy Dodds Gallery:
Paul Kratter was born in San Francisco and raised on the Peninsula, South of the City.

Artist Statement:

I spent my youth either outdoors playing tennis or indoors drawing my favorite athletes and wild animals.  After graduating from high school I attended College of San Mateo, where I received a degree in Graphic Arts.  I spent four years at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Illustration in 1980.

My two great passions have always been sports and wildlife.  I was fortunate to make a living mainly in advertising, which included a long relationship with the National Football League and various Major League Baseball Clubs.

As time went on, I concentrated solely on wildlife illustration.  I worked for a variety of zoos and the Nature Company.  I illustrated a number of children's books, including The Living Rain-forest with award winning paintings in Communication Arts Annual in 2002.  Around the same time I became interested in the immediacy and spontaneity of the Plein Air approach
and started painting in the East Bay Hills near my home.  I soon had a collection of works and began to show in galleries and join various plein air events.

My style changed almost overnight, although my approach remained intact, utilizing solid drawing skills and portraying strong graphic shapes.  Painting outdoors has become a passion. I continue to participate in a number of plein air events annually in California.  Each has its own unique topography, light and challenges, which forces me to keep my work fresh and
loose.

In 2005, I joined a group of fellow artists to paint in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  We packed in our supplies, hiked to nearly 10,000 feet and painted the majestic peaks.  This has become an annual event.

My wife Tia, whom I met at Art Center, is an Art Director at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA.  We have two grown boys, Joel and Marshall, both artistic and athletic.  Orbit is our ever-faithful dog.  Painting outdoors is physical.  We have to deal with various weather conditions from cold winter mornings, to summer heat and glare.  Windy days can challenge the best of scenery, but these changing variables are often exhilarating and force the artist to make decisive brushwork.

The first impression I try to capture is a strong composition.  I look to simplify the scene by making bold, graphic shapes.  The light and atmosphere are ever changing, and I want to quickly establish a color script.  One of the first things I determine is what is going to change the quickest.  This is the key area to capture and determine the feel of the painting.

I usually finish my paintings on location, so I keep the fresh spontaneous feel.  Sometimes these works are used as a study for a larger piece, but they can stand on their own as a finished painting.

The bold work of Edgar Payne, William Wendt and Carl Runguis and the atmosphere of Sam Hyde Harris are huge inspirations to me as I continue to grow in this ever-challenging medium.

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