‘Be bold’

POAC to host Old Power House reception showcasing the work of local painter and art teacher Dan Carpenter

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Dan Carpenter isn’t one to take himself too seriously. The lifetime artist, known for his works in the wildlife and Western art genres, is quick with a joke and matter-of-fact in his artistic conversation. He draws inspiration from the natural world around him, and in his creative process — not to mention, his life — the emphasis is on fun. 

It’s easy to see why the Pend Oreille Arts Council’s Artist of the Year is revered as someone worth knowing as often as his artwork is noted as worth seeing in person.

Locals will get a chance to do both when POAC hosts a reception Friday, Dec. 9 from 5-7 p.m. featuring a new exhibit of Carpenter’s paintings at the Old Power House (120 E. Lake St. in Sandpoint). The event promises wine, up-close art viewing and, without a doubt, a couple of Carpenter’s signature jokes.

“Rainbow Brigade” by Dan Carpenter.

As for the works on display at this particular exhibit, Carpenter told the Reader: “It’s a pretty diverse bunch of paintings.” There will be some of his better-known wildlife works in the collection, as well as some cowboy-themed art and landscapes, which afford the artist more creative flexibility.

“My wildlife generally has to be more accurate, more detailed, because everyone has seen wildlife and they know how many eyes an eagle has, so I can’t fudge on that,” he said. “But with landscapes, sometimes I’ll work from photographs, but a lot of times I’ll just make up a landscape.”

That drive to be a little more abstract in his work has grown in recent years, Carpenter said. A new habit is to take the colors already on his pallette, add them haphazardly to a canvas, then sprinkle the surface with sea salt. Once it dries, Carpenter considers his next steps.

“I stare at the colors and see what happens,” he said. “I might turn it into a landscape or wildlife or both.

“I get more bold as I get older,” he added.

His decades as an artist have given Carpenter the confidence not only to try new things, but also to let go and start over.

“Years and years ago, if I did a painting and it didn’t sell, I wouldn’t get rid of it because I already had so much time in it,” he said. “Now, I like to paint over a canvas. It doesn’t bother me. It’s just something else I’ve learned.”

To abandon fear of imperfection is a lesson Carpenter strives to teach his painting students at POAC’s Joyce Dillon Studio, where he teaches three days a month. 

“The main thing I try to teach is, ‘Don’t be afraid to start over, or to be bold,’” he said. “A lot of people — and me, too — get caught up in the details when a big brush will work better, and it’s more fun.”

Learn more about the event by finding POAC Sandpoint on Facebook. Also view Carpenter’s artwork in person at the Sandpoint Elks Club Lodge (30196 Highway 200 in Ponderay) and ArtWorks Gallery (214 N. First Ave. in downtown Sandpoint). Learn more about the artist at dancarpenterart.com, and learn more about POAC art classes at artinsandpoint.org/jds-studio.

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