Scott Gellatly: My Wetland
Scott Gellatly, Pond-Side Thicket, 2024, oil on canvas.

Scott Gellatly: My Wetland

Laura Vincent Design & Gallery, Portland, OR - June 6 – July 27

by Joseph Gallivan

Scott Gellatly makes oil paintings that are recognizable landscapes. While at times these landscapes break down into abstraction, they are so saturated in color that the eye puts the puzzle together, into things we recognize. Gellatly makes sketches outside in nature. He works the ideas out in grayscale, to master the composition of the hills, land, and water that he sees. He then uses these sketches to make large oil paintings, which hang in the gallery this summer.

His images of wetlands burn with bright yellows and reds as well as the expected greens. The paintings are seductive and yet energetic. Grasses are fluffed up, bursting with energy, and water reflects as cleanly as a mirror. For years Gellatly worked for Gamblin Artists Colors, sourcing pigments and developing new colors. As he told Preview, “That made me think about my painting and that color isn’t just the describer of the subject matter, color becomes the subject matter of the painting. And landscape is the vehicle which I use to express that.”

He developed a sense of the physical attributes of paints and pigments, the way a cook gets to know different spices. For instance, “A cadmium red is red, but it also has a great opacity, it has a density off of the brush that a transparent pigment doesn’t have.” Gellatly limits himself to using just six or seven tube colors for 95% of his painting. So what’s his favorite color? “Cadmium orange.” He says he does not use a computer in his work. “In my day-to-day life, I have enough ones and zeros I want to turn it off. I want paint on my hands and on my clothes.”

He doesn’t fool himself that photos capture every detail of his works. “I love the idea that paintings reward people who show up to look at them.” A 52-plate catalog of Gellatly's plein air sketches, created between 2019 and 2023, is available now.

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