By ROBIN CAUDELL
---- — SARANAC LAKE — Roy Brinker shifts easily between two and three dimensions.
In California, he was primarily a clay modeler for the automotive-design industry. Since relocating back East with his family, he’s turned his artistic lens to his drawing and painting roots.
It was a good decision.
He won Best of Show in the Adirondack Artists’ Guild 2012 Annual Juried Show. His exhibition, “Vessels,” is featured along with the works of prize winners Karen Grant, Lynda Naske and Russ Hartung at the guild through Nov. 25 in Saranac Lake.
“The painting that I won the show with was one of the first paintings I finished,” said Brinker, a self-employed carpenter and Cumberland Head resident.
“It was a big surprise for me. I saw the advertisement for this juried show. I thought it would be good for me to show something and get back into things. I was not expecting to win anything.”
In the aftermath, he had to create a work for an exhibition.
“Now, I had expectations. Now, it wasn’t as simple as it had been,” Brinker said.
“Vessels” is an exploration of still lifes — bottle, cup, basin and pitcher, teapot and cups — in drawings, oil and pastel.
“As of now, I have sold three pieces at the opening. My brother-in-law wants to buy a fourth one. I’m really excited about it. Now, I really do have to keep painting,” he said.
His artistic path began as a child, the son of a father who worked as a sculptor in the automotive industry and a mother, who was a watercolorist.
He grew up in Detroit. When he was 17, his family moved to the San Diego area.
“My mother started taking me to college to figure-drawing courses before I graduated from high school,” Brinker said.
The instructor was the son of Kimon Nicolaides, muralist and author of “The Natural Way to Draw.”
Brinker uses things he learned in that long ago class in the drawing and painting classes he instructs at North Country Cultural Center for the Arts in Plattsburgh.
After high school, Brinker took a year off and worked as a landscaper. Then, he attended the Laguna Beach School of Art in the early ‘80s.
“I knew I just wanted to study fine art. I knew the likelihood it would get me a good career was pretty slim. The art school was fantastic. Because it was not accredited, the teachers there were working artists, and it was a fantastic experience for me.”
During and after college, he apprenticed in the sculpture studio of Louis Cohen.
“When I left college, I made a lot of bad decisions on how to progress. I did a lot of work for art-handling companies. I mostly boxed and crated art for shipment,” Brinker said.
All the while, he was trying to do his own art, and not succeeding.
He went through a divorce and ended up working as a clay modeler like his father.
“I made full-size clay models. For me, that was a great experience. I was taking two-dimensional drawings and made three-dimensional models. It was interesting for me to see the transition,” Brinker said. “Now that I’m painting again, it’s fun to be going from three dimensions to two dimensions.”
In his artist statement, Brinker writes:
“I am intrigued by what happens when my eye interprets an object that exists in space, and through the use of my hand attempts to recreate this object on a two-dimensional surface. There is so much that can happen in this process, and much of it is frustrating but also pleasing.”
He established Lake Home Maintenance and found his carpentry skills alone was not enough.
“I started teaching classes to be creative in some way,” Brinker said. “In my teaching, I was doing a lot of drawing and getting much better, like I was in college. I just started painting from there.”
Email Robin Caudell:
firstname.lastname@example.orgIF YOU GO WHAT: "Vessels," an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Roy Brinker. WHEN: Through Sunday, Nov. 25. WHERE: Adirondack Artists' Guild, 52 Main St., Saranac Lake. HOURS: Closed Mondays. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. PHONE: 891-2613.