In the book Oil Painting with the Masters by Cindy Salaski, George Gallo teaches readers how to create a landscape painting with a sense of movement.
Artist Profile: George Gallo by Cindy Salaski
In addition to being one of today’s great master painters, George Gallo is also a screenwriter, director and producer. He has enjoyed painting since his childhood. While in junior high, he discovered a building next to his school where paintings by both old and modern masters were made into prints for the mass market. “I can’t tell you the impact this had on me,” George says. “Two very kind employees let me spend countless afternoons there studying paintings. It was there, seeing those oil paintings up close, that I developed a love for the texture of paint.”
Oil Painting and a Hunger for the Landscape
George studied art at Manhattanville College outside of New York City but only attended for two semesters. “There were several good teachers there, but the school had a tendency to lean towards modernism, which I wasn’t very interested in,” he says. “I was hungry to focus on landscape painting, which led to me leaving college early.”
George began making trips into the city on a regular basis. One afternoon he wandered into an art gallery where a salesman introduced him to the work of the Pennsylvania Impressionists. “Edward Redfield’s large, dynamic snow scenes filled with huge smacks of paint were the most amazing canvases I had ever seen,” George says.
Around that same time, he met landscape painter George Cherepov. “He and I became fast friends,” George said. “We would visit places armed with our sketch boxes. Cherepov would scold me, saying that my clouds looked like flying rocks—that everything reflected the sky, and that I just wasn’t looking hard enough.”
Another of George’s mentors was Aureillo Yammerino. “He was a modernist but was also classically trained,” George said. “He kept talking about design and how it was the most important thing in any work of art. I would nod a lot, but had no idea what he was talking about. He kept drilling into my head that the placement of shapes was the most important thing. He was completely correct.”
After moving to Los Angeles to pursue a screenwriting and directing career, George shied away from oil painting for nearly eight years. He wrote and directed “Local Color,” a film about an aspiring young artist who befriends an elderly Russian master. It wasn’t until after the success of his screenplay, “Midnight Run,” that he picked up the brushes and began to paint again.
Get a free guide to oil painting for beginners when you sign up for the ArtistsNetwork newsletter for ideas, inspiration and instruction.
A Love for Oil Painting and Beauty in Nature
Fate stepped in when actor John Ashton told George that his neighbor was an artist. “He’s supposed to be pretty good. His name is Richard Schmid,” Ashton said. After George picked his jaw up from the ground, he asked if Ashton would introduce him to Richard. “Richard and I became friends via telephone and letters,” George said. “I sent him several transparencies of my work, and he sent me back beautifully detailed critiques on how to improve my color, value, edges and design. It had a major impact on my work and got me thinking in entirely new directions.”
George knows of no better way to cleanse the soul than painting plein air landscapes: “Nature is what it is. I am in awe of the sheer unyielding natural beauty of what lies around us. It is impossible for me to stand before a mountain and not be completely aware of my mortality. It will be here long after I am gone, but at the moment in time that we meet, I feel the need to not only recognize its beauty, but let others know that I tipped my hat to its glory.”
George Gallo is represented by American Legacy Fine Arts, Pasadena, California; Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art, New Hope, Pennsylvania; George Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood, California; Lois Wagner Fine Arts, New York City; Newman Galleries, Philadelphia; The Bluebird Gallery, Laguna Beach, California; Paderewski Gallery, Beaver Creek, Colorado, and Seaside Gallery, Pismo Beach, California.
Listen to an interview with George Gallo: