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summer

2010

FIVE DOLLARS

studio palette composition canvas

artist profile
inspiration gallery imagination

Artistic Vision, Unlimited Possibilities
W E N D Y S E A D I A writer

“ visionary,” “explorer,” “scholar,” and “free spirit” are words that readily come to
mind after a conversation with Wellesley resident Roy Perkinson, a landscape painter, watercolorist, and man of many talents. Perkinson’s creative path is one that has taken a number of unusual twists and turns. In fact, you could say his background and study of both physics and philosophy at MIT, art history at Boston University, and studio art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, has given him a special understanding and appreciation of the subjects he now portrays in his art.
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Roy Perkinson painting Highway at Dusk, Texas (oil on panel, 16 x 12")

According to Perkinson, art and science intersect in a very fundamental way in that all human beings try to make sense of the world in which they live. An artist’s task, as he sees it, is to observe, reflect and then attempt to express those reflections. Perkinson, who is well versed in several languages and in the humanities as well, says his goal as an artist is to capture the essence of his subject matter and then communicate that essence to his audience no matter

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DAMIANOS PHOTOGRAPHY

artist profile “various moods and atmospherics”

which medium he chooses to work in at any given time. These days, his media of choice include pastel, watercolor, and oils. His travels, in conjunction with his renderings, have taken him to such far away places as France, Italy, and Great Britain. Domestically, Great Spruce Head Island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay and Framingham, Massachusetts are two of his favorite locales in which to work. His paintings can be found in private collections from California to Europe and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he was a visiting artist in 1986, and a member of the school’s adjunct faculty in 1998. He has won numerous awards and prizes for his creations during the past two decades. And he has had exhibitions of his work at Babson College; the Cambridge Art Association; Grossman Gallery at the

School of the MFA; Turtle Gallery on Deer Isle Maine; Zullo Gallery in Medfield, Massachusetts; Wellesley College; and the Wellesley Society of Artists, among others. Describing the sky as an entity with “various moods and atmospherics,” Roy explains it is one of his favorite subjects to portray. Although a painting may not come together as readily as he would like during his creative process, that fact does not prevent him from attempting to capture those very qualities that make his subject matter so intriguing to him initially, he says. Perkinson creates much of his work on location. But he also spends a great deal of time in his 300 square foot Framingham studio either reworking a painting in a different medium or developing a new work

above:

Landscape Near Sherman, Texas (pastel, 27 x 20")
right:

Souvenir of Tuscany (watercolor, 16 x 12")
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in a medium different from the first. His studio is located at 59 Fountain Street, on the third floor west wing of a huge old mill building that now houses 50 working artists. It is the largest artists’ studio complex in MetroWest, he says. Perkinson confesses it was the wonderful light from a very large window with a northern exposure that convinced him to rent the space in August 2008. It is in this studio space that he invents, shows, and sells his work. Patrons and inquisitive art lovers alike are welcome to come by spontaneously or to make an appointment with Perkinson during which time he can discuss practical matters with them like framing, canvas size, and subject matter. Twice a year Perkinson takes part in an “open studio” which showcases the work of 65 artists. Visitors are free to roam the galleries, watch various artists ply their crafts, and buy their work directly from them at that time.

Perkinson says he is drawn to working in several mediums for different reasons. Oil painting gives him a wide range of textural and color possibilities while pastel drawing allows him to work efficiently when on location. Rendering in oils enables him to be direct in his approach to his subject matter. Conversely, working in watercolor, he explains, can be more frustrating as well as challenging, yet ultimately very satisfying to him. “He’s really masterful with watercolor,” says Lisa D. Mayer, Executive Director of the Giovanni Armenise/Harvard Foundation, who collects Roy’s work. “I’m struck by his pastels and oil paintings as well. It’s an extraordinary talent to work so fluidly among these media,” she adds. Perkinson’s at times off-beat work is infused with dramatic color combinations. In his many landscapes, bright magentas blend with ultramarine and cobalt blues. Mauves and lemon yellows and cad-

above:

Monte Amiata IV (watercolor 10 x 4")
left:

Intersection in Winter (oil on canvas, 18 x 14")

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“a magical treatment of light” artist profile

mium oranges collide with alizarin crimson and pthalo green in a visual symphony of color. His shapes are stark and realistic yet fluid and imaginative at the same time. Huge rolling clouds and imposing majestic skyscapes take precedence in much of Roy’s work. Richard W. Wallace, a former (now retired) professor of art history at Wellesley College, and a long-time collector of Perkinson’s creations, describes Roy’s process as, “a magical treatment of light. He captures the essence of what he’s looking at with very few representations. He takes an ordinary subject and ennobles it,” Wallace says. “His art is not esoteric. His work is luminous and full of vitality that is very impressive,” he adds. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Perkinson, whose father was also an artist, credits his wife of many years, Jean, as being a source of great support to him in both his art and his life. And he speaks with equal affection and pride about his two sons, Steve Perkinson, a professor of art history at Bowdoin College, and David Perkinson, who works in the educational technology department at Simmons College and is actively involved with Counter Productions, an independent theatre company that performs in Boston and Rhode Island. He also talks enthusiastically about his

Most days, including weekends, Perkinson can be found busily working at his studio. Following his passion by making art is something he simply has to do. “I’d like to think that I’ve given somebody a way of seeing and appreciating something they might not have done otherwise,” he says. For this creative person, to whom each day is truly a gift, exploring his surroundings, observing the world, getting a greater understanding of its marvels, and then figuring out how to express his observations is what continually fascinates and sustains him.

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two grandchildren, Aidan and Neil, ages nine and five respectively, who have been known to decorate the floors and walls of his studio on more than one occasion. Perkinson happily gives them permission to do so.

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