The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

WEEKENDER / Entertainment

November 1, 2012

Brushes and bikes

Paintings bring it full circle for cycle shop owner



Income from these sales has allowed him to purchase the materials that perpetuate his passion.

“I want to thank all the people who have purchased my prints,” Baker said. “They’ve been my inspiration to go deeper into art.”

Baker, 59, took up painting in 1987, although his creative bent goes back to childhood. His introduction to painting came from Bob Ross’ television shows.

“I bought a bunch of books and videos, and I learned how to paint through trial and error,” Baker said. “I am mostly self-taught.”

There is not much Baker has not attempted to paint — from covered bridges to lift bridges, from barns to animals, flowers to people, he’s not afraid to try something new. But even a cursory examination of Full Circle reveals themes of mankind’s mark on the landscape. Whether be a wooden bridge, trim schooner, sleek lake freighter or row of seaside cottages, those encroachments seem as natural as the sky and earth around them.

One of the most dramatic and dimensional of these efforts is his rendering of the Netcher Road Covered Bridge, painted from a photograph. The image captures a dramatic moment as random dapplings of sunlight build depth and intensify the iconic luridness of the foliage, ominous sky and scarlet bridge.

Perhaps his most detailed work is that of the Ashtabula Lift Bridge, a painting that took months to complete. He says that landscape, plus renderings of the Ashtabula Lighthouse, have been his best sellers as art prints.

Baker’s repertoire is not limited to local nautical and rural landscapes. The exhibition includes paintings from his travels to Maine and South Carolina, as well as virtual visits. One of his images, of two lakes vessels passing in a channel, is based upon a photograph taken by Dennis Hale, who was a passenger on one of the ships.

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