This Q & A with artist, Lyndon Gaither, dives deep into Lyndon’s creative process and what it takes to create such vibrant pieces of art.
Lyndon Gaither grew up on his Grandad Gaither’s farm in West Texas, riding stick horses and wearing a Cowboy hat and boots. As a child, he spent a lot of time drawing the animals that were part of his daily life and he always knew he wanted to be an artist.
He pursued art in college and graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design. Lyndon then spent three years in the US Army designing and building 3-dimensional exhibits for the Recruiting Support Center in Virginia while working alongside and being inspired by very talented artists who were Graphic Designers, Photographers, Illustrators, and writers. He spent his professional career in several jobs such as a graphic designer, museum exhibit designer, and illustrator who used to design themed amusement parks. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and is blessed to have a fun family of two children and four grandchildren.
What originally caught my eye with Lyndon’s work was his use of bright colors and texture within his pieces. It’s phenomenal to see so many different pieces of his work come together to create a cohesive piece of art.
Q: How did you find your way into painting modern western art?
A: Throughout my design career, I also painted, often doing outdoor art festivals. In my early years, I created western and nostalgic paintings in brown sepia tones. Then, later in life, I reinvented myself and began painting full-time, but this time my paintings reflected a lot of new ideas that included painting with bright colors.
I went back to my western roots and began to create Contemporary Western Art using a palette of bright colors. I wanted to introduce a “Pop of Color” to the world of horses, cowboys, and western decor.
Q: When you are working on new pieces, how do you determine your subject?
A: I often go back to “my young self ” and paint what I love, horses! I love painting vibrant-colored horses with flowing red and blue manes! I have found myself evolving into painting other farm and ranch animals, such as cows, bulls, pigs, roosters, and goats as well.
Naturally, with my Texas roots, I have painted Texas Longhorns and several varieties of cacti. My travels to Yellowstone National Park, Montana, and Wyoming have inspired me to begin painting wildlife. I have completed several paintings of bison, wolves, and bears. I have an elk drawn on canvas ready to begin painting next.
Q: What does your creative process look like from start to finish after you’ve decided on what you will be painting?
A: I spend a lot of time researching the subjects of my paintings as I paint from photographs. Each painting is the result of parts and pieces of different images taken from multiple photographs which result in the final composition of every new painting. I start out by drawing in pencil on canvas, then as I draw, I visualize what the final painting will look like upon completion and in my mind, I am seeing what colors I will use as I draw.
I begin every canvas by painting the reflection in the eyes first. I have had many compliments from farmers and ranchers who raise animals, that I have a gift for painting animals’ eyes. To me, this is the highest compliment I could receive. When I start a new painting, I start with the eyes because I believe the eyes reflect the soul of the animal. If I get the eyes right, I have captured the essence of my subject.
My next step is to begin painting layers upon layers of different colors and textures until I am satisfied that the painting is complete.
Q: How long does each painting typically take from start to finish?
A: It really depends on the size, subject matter, and complexity of the painting, all paintings are different and some take longer than others. Once I start a painting and get into it, I often work long days and into the night. I don’t want to rush and often am working on several paintings at a time.
Q: What message do you hope to share with your art?
A: I show my work at the Houston Rodeo in March and the NFR in Vegas during December. I paint in my booth during both of these shows. It allows me to continue to work and I enjoy visiting with people about what I am working on. They are always amazed that painting in front of a crowd does not bother me. No one is more amazed at that than I am! One of the biggest joys for me is when a person walks past me as I am painting and upon seeing my work, stops, and a great big smile comes across their face. I always put down my brush and visit because I like to hear what they have to say about my work. They often tell me that my paintings and my vibrant colors make them feel happy. It does not get any better than that for an artist.
It is fun and gratifying to talk about art with young artists and those aspiring for a career in art. Crowds gather when I paint and I often look up to see young kids watching me, totally mesmerized. I occasionally invite the young artists to help me paint on the canvas. The awe and excitement on their faces are priceless and they are always so careful to paint in the area that I suggest to them. It is even more fun to see the fear on their parent’s faces, worried that their child might ruin my painting. That fear quickly turns to pride seeing their creative child have the opportunity to see and participate in creating art. The kids often come back or email a painting or drawing that they have done to show me their art. How great is that!
Q: Each artist develops their own style, but is there an artist that you look up to or have a similar style to that you admire?
A: There are several Contemporary Western artists that are producing fabulous work in today’s market. Some of my favorites are LeRoy Neiman, John Nieto, Jeff Ham, Teal Blake, and Peter Robbins.
Q: Do you have any closing thoughts about you or your business that you’d like our audience to know?
A: Last fall I put my art career on pause as I underwent DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery to calm the Essential Tremor in my right hand and it worked! This surgery is a true miracle and I now have control of my right hand once again. It has changed my life and I can get back to painting!
I have found that the people in the Western community are hard-working, down-to-earth people who care about others, their animals, and their country. I enjoy being a small part of that culture. I am often told that God has blessed me with the wonderful talent of creating art. I feel so grateful and blessed every day that I am doing what I love! I believe that you don’t ever retire from what you love to do and the gifts that fuel your soul!
You can view Lyndon Gaither’s work on his website: www.lgaither.com and on Facebook. He also has original paintings and giclee prints on canvas available, with commissions upon request.
Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine
This article with Lyndon Gaither was created for the Spring Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in April 2023. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.
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