The more than one dozen animal paintings in Tom Palmore’s show at LewAllen Galleries have been created since Palmore moved to Santa Fe last August.
“I have a beautiful new studio with wonderful views,” says Palmore, an Oklahoma native who trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in the late 1960s and whose works are in the collections of museums including the Smithsonian, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
“Animal Encounters,” Palmore’s show that opens on July 27, features all kind of animals, from a black panther to a bluebird.
“I’m not a wildlife artist,” Palmore explains. “I do not paint in wildlife environments.
“I work with several wildlife photographers I greatly respect,” he continues. “They take photos for me on assignment. What I do is glorify animals in their majestic beauty.”
For Palmore, the eyes are crucial. Many years ago, when Palmore was a less experienced painter, he painted the animals’ eyes last. “Now, I don’t complete any one part of the painting first,” he adds. “I lay the eyes in as I’m working on the entire image. With animals, eyes determine the personality. If they slant a particular way, for example, it means one thing. Little things can make a big difference.”
Working with fast-drying acrylics for the underpainting, Palmore applies oils over them. He enjoys juxtaposing different realities in a painting. An African animal may have a landscape behind it that’s definitely not reminiscent of the environment in which it lives. In this way, Palmore’s paintings seem like portraits and have a surrealistic aspect to them.
New Mexico’s wildlife has begun infiltrating his work. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to see roadrunners near my studio,” he says. “As time goes on, I’ll just have to see how living in Santa Fe affects what I paint.”