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Hello, I'm Paul Fontana!

After a satisfying career as a middle-school educator ending in Dalton, Georgia, Paul Fontana picked up a paintbrush, intending to entertain himself only. In 2007, he began selling his work at the Dalton Market. He went on to Chattanooga and then Atlanta. Now, seven years and hundreds of paintings later, he considers himself a full-time artist and Paul Fontana's "Traveling Art Show" can be found in Indiana, Florida and all points in between.

 

Paul says, "Though I began painting realistically, I felt that my real calling was expressing myself more through color than form. I consider myself a colorist, in that it is my focus when painting. How one color looks when it is next to another, and how it complements or contrasts are all areas of his exploration. Most of my work is red, though that's not a color I wear or drive.”

Paul's Story

"I am a self taught artist who has evolved from painting representational subject matter in oil paint to abstracted landscapes using a handmade encaustic medium (beeswax, oil paint and resin). Getting from that Point A to Point B involved a lot brushed and palette knifed acrylics, which I still occasionally dabble in."

Paul unapologetically points out that he never attended art school, and has no deep artist statement to offer, but he proudly states that he loves to paint and whatever he paints will be colorful. He began painting assuming that he would paint things realistically, as he saw them, but felt that his real calling was expressing himself through color rather than duplicating what his camera or eye saw. He considers himself more of a colorist – how one color looks next to another, how it complements or contrasts are all areas of his creative exploration.

He started painting in oil, then acrylic and encaustic – which uses beeswax and pigment, in his case beeswax and oil paint, and continues to create in each medium and explore more. Paul grew up in New York City in the 40s and 50s and says he was a “free-range kid, when you could do that, and trips to museums and exposure to the arts imprinted on him”. Photography was his first creative outlet so composing, looking at light and shadow, and his fascination with color all were a strong foundation.

Paul shares, “I began painting strictly for my own entertainment, after retiring from a career as a middle-school educator, interrupted by an interesting and enjoyable (in retrospect) tour of duty in the U. S. Navy. The more I painted, the more I improved and found my own style. I began getting encouragement to start showing my work. It would be an understatement to say that I was reluctant. In 2007, I began selling my work at the Dalton and Chattanooga weekend markets, then juried art shows from Florida to Indiana. Painting became the next phase of life and allows me to continue learning and exploring.”

The pandemic put an end to the gallery’s First Friday in-person open house mixers with the artists, but they started hosting them virtually via the Zoom video conference platform last fall.