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  Biography

I was born in San Francisco and raised on the Pennisula, South of the City. I spent my youth either outdoors playing tennis or indoors drawing my favorite athletes and wild animals.

After graduating from high school I attended College of San Mateo, where I received a degree in Graphic Arts. I spent four years at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Illustration in 1980.

My two great passions have always been sports and wildlife. I was fortunate to make a living mainly in advertising, which included a long relationship with the National Football League and various Major League Baseball Clubs.

As time went on, I concentrated soley on wildlife illustration. I worked for a variety of zoos and the Nature Company. I illustrated a number of children's books, including "The Living Rainforest" with award winning paintings in Communication Arts Annual in 2002. Around the same time I became interested in the immediacy and spontaneity of the Plein Air approach and started painting in the East Bay Hills near my home. I soon had a collection of works and began to show in galleries and join various plein air events.

My style changed almost overnight, although my approach remained intact, utilizing solid drawing skills and portraying strong graphic shapes. Painting outdoors has become a passion. I continue to participate in a number of plein air events annually in California. Each has its own unique topography, light and challenges, which forces me to keep my work fresh and loose.

My wife Tia, whom I met at Art Center, is an artist at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA. We have two grown boys, Joel and Marshall, both artistic and athletic. Zipper is our ever-faithful dog.


  The Granite Group

Since 2005 the Granite Group has packed into the High Sierras, set-up camp and painted the magnificent mountains.

Organized by artist Bill Cone, the core group of photographer Bob Watters and I have explored various destinations, trying to capture the beauty in various mediums.

In late August each year we arrive at the pack station and our gear is portered by mules up to our high elevation base camp. Our cook prepares our meal as we set up our tents and gear. From here we explore the varied landscape from snow-fed streams, alpine meadows, scattered boulders, emerald lakes and the high peaks. Our week long trip allows us to fully explore the area, taking day hikes to the higher lakes or just paint around base camp.

Each year we invite a group of artists to join us. California artists Suzanne D'Arcy, Gary Blackwell, Sharon Callahan, Kevin Courter, Tim Horn, Greg La Rock, Kim Lordier, Clark Mitchell, Terry Miura, Randy Sexton and Tom Soltesz, among others, as well as a group of designers from Pixar Animation Studios.

The experience has been nothing short of extraordinary; not only from an artistic point of view, but from a camaraderie of creative friends and love of the High Sierras.


  Plein Air Painting

Painting outdoors is physical. We have to deal with various weather conditions from cold winter mornings, to summer heat and glare. Windy days can challenge the best of scenery, but these changing variables are often exhilarating and force the artist to mafe decisive brushwork.

The first impression I try to capture is a strong composition. I look to simplify the scene by making bold, graphic shapes. The light and atmosphere are ever changing, and I want to quickly establish a color script. One of the first things I determine is what is going to change the quickest. This is the key area to capture and determine the feel of the painting.

I usually finish my paintings on location, so I keep the fresh spontaneous feel. Sometimes these works are used as a study for a larger piece, but they can stand on their own as a finished painting.

The bold work of Edgar Payne, William Wendt and Carl Runguis and the atmosphere of Sam Hyde Harris are huge inspirations to me as I continue to grow in this ever-challenging medium.


Copyright 2006 - 2014, Paul Kratter All Rights Reserved.