HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — “I enjoy painting, and I’m lucky that I have a gift that I can do something I enjoy as a living,” said Boiling Springs wildlife artist Gerry Putt. abc27 met up with him at his booth at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. Not surprisingly, he had a painting on his easel.
“I’m working on a painting here that will be on the cover of Pennsylvania Game News in April of 2022,” he explained. “I think this is going to be my 54th cover.”
Putt may be forgiven if he can’t quite remember how many Pennsylvania Game News covers he’s done. Since 1979 he’s done hundreds of paintings, not just the covers, and wall art, but duck stamps, too.
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“Pennsylvania Duck Stamp, I just won the 2022 competition, and that’s the 14th time for me to win.”
Putt was born and raised in the Boiling Springs area. “I grew up in a family of sportsmen. Back during the 50s and 60s, there was a lot of game around to hunt, and that was kind of a way of life in the country.
Putt showed his artistic talents early on. “As a kid,” he says, “I remember the other students in my classes, they would say ‘oh, you’re good, you ought to be an artist.” Then one of his teachers nudged him into entering a contest. “She said there was a poster contest being sponsored by the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. And I said, ‘Ok, when’s it due?’ and she said it was due tomorrow. And I said, ‘Uh, OK, so I said I have two study halls coming up after I have this class, I’ll do it then. So I did the poster, and it went on to the state level, and ended up getting sixth or seventh in the state. And I said ‘Hmmm, I wonder what would’ve happened if I’d spent four study halls on it.”
That first piece of artwork, he says, was done with pastels. He’s made his name painting in acrylics.
“Acrylics are a water-based paint, and they dry quickly,” Putt says. “I’m not into oils, I don’t like to sit around and watch paint dry.”
Putt says one of the things that makes his paintings stand out out is the lighting.
“I like to put a strong light source in my painting.” he says “Some folks do painting that is grey, overcast, hazy, cloudy, foggy days, and I say we have enough of those days in our lives, why do we have to put it on our wall.”
But Putt says, if you do paint wildlife, it has to be more than just pretty.
“You have to be accurate with your paintings of wildlife because there are a lot of people out there who either know, or think they know, everything about wildlife.”
His advice to anyone who’s thinking of dabbling in art?
“Grab a paint brush and see what you can do. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out the way you want the first time. You have to learn to walk before you can run.”
Gerry Putt will be at the Farm Show all this week. If you want to meet him and see his art, he’s in the eastern side of the Main Hall.