Artist opens new gallery on Sanibel
Gerald Simcoe spent many hours painting in his Pennsylvania German bank barn, where he derived inspiration from the surrounding countryside. Now he and his paint brushes have moved to Sanibel, where he is inspired by the island’s natural beauty.
“The wildlife, the plant life and the friendly people are all an inspiration,” Simcoe said. “I will wait for the local environment to suggest to me what to paint instead of projecting myself onto it, and be led by the magic of the island for inspiration.”
Simcoe found Sanibel through his cousin, Mary Lou Lanaux a real estate agent in Atlanta. She and her husband have vacationed on Sanibel for the past 25 years. A year ago Lanaux’s husband fell ill and Simcoe helped steady him last July. During the week-long visit to Sanibel, Simcoe fell in love with entire environment.
“My mom and I looked at houses to see the local environs with Susan J. McCallion of Pfeiffer Realty, who made it happen,” said Simcoe. “From that moment I decided to sell my NYC studio and buy one on Sanibel.”
The new gallery, located within the Village Shops along Periwinkle Way, is appropriately called Simcoe on Sanibel. As an established artist his gallery successfully showcased his work for 25 years. His reputation as a painter in oils and other media has steadily grown over the years.
Simcoe’s work can be described as Baroque Realism in the footsteps of the Great Masters. “Light on form in space” is a dogma of his, along with the classical canons.
“I adhere to Webster’s definition of ‘to abstract to brig out,'” said Simcoe. “In other words, to make a flat, two-dimensional surface appear three-dimensional, and atmosphere is always important.”
Although he has stayed on basically the same path throughout his career, Simcoe said he likes to push the envelope as far as subject matter and color are concerned. Each subject dictates the style in which it’s painted, he points out.
“I am first and foremost an oil painter, which means when I paint I use only the brush and do not draw on the canvas first,” said Simcoe. “I paint as directly as possible to the finish called ‘alla prima.'”
In addition to his painting, Simcoe enjoys gardening and is an accomplished musician. He feels those two things bring an appreciation for the life force moving through everything to his artwork.
“In gardening, it is something different to paint a flower purchased at a store and painting one which I’ve grown,” he explained. “Music is a challenge as it is even more abstract than painting, but everything should be painted with music moving through it.”
Simcoe’s studio on Sanibel is at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Suite R1, in the Village Shops opposite Janet Stickland’s office. The gallery is open for private viewing by arrangement, call 472-3400 for an appointment. The studio accepts portraiture assignments and other special commissions.