Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 16
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Man's best friend from the
brush of Bob Bertram
by Zach Smith | email@example.com
s far as a midlife crisis goes, Bob Bertram's was a calmer affair than
most. To be fair, he saw it coming all along. At the age of 39, after fervently pursuing a freelance career in the St. Louis advertising world,
he felt the muse calling him again. This time, it couldn't be ignored.
"I always felt like I was supposed to be a painter," Bob says.
Bob is an artist with two studios: the great outdoors and the easel. With
pencil, brush or silverpoint in hand, he's drawn a new path for himself and
made a name for his renderings of wildlife, sporting dogs and hunting scenes.
Trained in commercial art, Bob gives credit to two mentors - Don Kueker
and the late Robert K. Abbett - for the artistic skill he has developed.
"Every painting has to be about something," says the Cuivre River Electric
Cooperative member. "If you pick a few areas to emphasize and subordinate the
other stuff, you're telling the story much better." Two strong elements of Bob's
style are his use of contrasting light and dark tones and hard and soft edges to
direct the viewer's eye. The dark tentacle-like branches of a live oak lead to the
locked gaze of an English setter who has just gotten the scent of a covey. A sea
of native grass waves around a Gordon setter, tongue lolling with rapt attention Above: Like the sporting dogs he's known for depicting, Bob Bertram followed his instinct and
at a pheasant bursting from its hiding place.
discovered new talents in painting. Bottom left: Bob says one of his goals with his paintings
"There's a degree of intensity that fascinates me about bird dogs," Bob says, is for the viewer to see the human hand at work in the details. Bottom right: Bob's mastery
"so if I can convey that, it makes me and the clients happy."
of contrast and edgework leads the viewer's focus to the face of an English Pointer on the scent.
From a distance, the trunks of pines or the stiff stems of
graphs and places the subject amidst the type of cover in which they hunt.
switch grass appear almost photographic in detail. A closer
Sometimes the unlikeliest of scenes becomes a favorite, such as the Brittany
inspection reveals them to be a collection of brushstrokes
and lines made with the edge of rubber rollers and paint
Whatever the scenario, the element that brings these paintings
knives. A different effect takes hold as textures begin to take
together is commemorating a constant companion. From an assortshape. Bark becomes rough and grass almost translucent from
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the light Bob manufactures. For this combination of realism
in time. Like all great art, the work hints at a deeper meaning than
and impressionism in the details, the painter takes his cues
simply the scene it depicts.
from another art form - music.
"Your brain gets more excited and jazzed, I think, about stuff
limit," Bob says. "As I get older, that becomes less important. It's
more about, 'Was it a great day? Did we have some laughs? Did we
do the same thing mentally: They tell you the story, but there are
get to watch some incredible dog work?' It's much more experiential."
things that make you think a little bit."
About 70 percent of Bob's work is done on commission, with the remainder
For more information on Bob Bertram's art, call 636-398-2000, email bob@
going to gallery shows across the country. Typical clients are hunters who want
a portrait or scene of their dog. Oftentimes Bob works from reference photo- bertramgallery.com or visit www.bertramgallery.com
Rural Missouri - December 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2019
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Contents
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover3
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