Walt Gonske Oils

Picuris Pueblo Land
Picuris Pueblo Land

Oil, 22x30, framed Sold

Rociada, NM
Rociada, NM

Oil, 9x12, framed Sold

On the Rio Tusas
On the Rio Tusas

Oil, 24x36, framed Sold

San Luis Winter Day
San Luis Winter Day

Oil, 10x12, framed Sold

In the Fall
In the Fall

Oil, 7.75x11, framed Sold



"In the past, I would have an idea for a painting and hold to that idea through to the finish.  I could pretty much see the end result before I started.  There were no surprises.  But now my understanding of the process is that the idea is just the first impulse.  From that first impulse forward, improvisation takes over.  The end result is not about that first idea, but is instead a record of all those impulses along the way.  Each stroke of paint carries emotion and power.  I work in a loose, painterly style in part because I want the viewer to see the process and not hide it behind 'finish;' for the viewer to maybe even feel how a particular piece of paint was put down.

Painting is not about reproducing nature.  I like the notion that art should have more to do with the communication of the artist's emotions to the viewer through the paint itself.  

My goal in the work is not to show what I know, but what I feel.  The more intensely I can express emotion though paint about the subject, the more likely the viewer will respond.  All I can do is make an honest effort and then accept without judgement.  To remain neutral about the paintings and to not judge them as good or bad is very important to moving forward.

My best work comes when I'm able to give up control, to trust my impulses.  Then the painting takes on a life of its own.  When I don't know what is going to happen next, the process becomes full of surprise and wonder.

We go to art school to learn the rules about drawing and painting.  After many years of developing skills and acquiring knowledge, I know what I will get as a finished product if I control the process.  What I don't know is where it would lead and what would happen if I gave up control.  This is what interests me now.

It's a different way of thinking - or not thinking so much.  To remain empty of all preconceived ideas about how a piece will turn out.  It's simply a mind-shift away from repeating what I already know and to allow that unknowable, creative spirit to come through.

That's easier said than done of 40 years of learning how to do this thing called art.  But all that stops one from stepping into unknown territory is doubt and fear.  If I'm willing to give up control over my skills and ability to do things a certain way, then new forms and techniques will come to me."

- Walt Gonske


Born:  1942, Newark, New Jersey

Education:  Frank Reilly School of Art, New York City, New York

Selected Affiliations:
1977 - 2006  National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
1974 - 1977  Founding Member, "The Taos Six"

Selected Awards and Honors:
2006  Featured Artist, The Gilcrease Museum Rendezvous Exhibition
1989  Gold Medal, 1st Place in Oil, National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, OK
1983  Silver Medal, 2nd Place in Oil, National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, OK
1976  John and Anna Lee Stacy Award
1975  Bronze Medal, 3rd Place Drawing,National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, OK

Selected Exhibitions:
2007  Taos Art Museum and Fechin House One Man Show
2005  Nedra Matteucci Galleries One Man Show
2002 - 2005  Salon d'Arts, Denver, CO
2003  Forbes Trinchera Ranch Invitation and Exhibition, Fort Garland, CO
2002 - 2007  International Masters of Fine Art Invitational, Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX

Selected Collections:
The Dunnegan Collection, Bolivar, MO
The Eiteljorg Collection, Indianapolis, IN
The Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
The Wm. & Joffa Kerr Collection, Oklahoma City, OK
The Morton and Donna Fleischer Collection, Scottsdale, AZ

Selected Publications:
2009  Patrons Without Peer - The McCloy Collection
2006  Erivan & Helga Haub Family Collection of Western Art, Vold I & II, Christine Mollring
2006  Landscapes of New Mexico, Susan Campbell & Suzanne Deats
2005  Plein Air Magazine, December
2005  Art of the West, November-December
2005  The Art of Ann Templeton:  A Step Beyond
2003  American Artist, January
2002  Wildlife Art, November - December
1996  Art of the West, May-June
1992  Modern Art Impressionists, Ron Ranson, David and Charles Pub
1985  Southwest Art
1982  Contemporary Western Artists, Peggy & Howard Samuels
1981  Treasures of the American West,  Harrison Eiteljorg
1976  40 Watercolorists and How They Work, Susan Meyers, Watson Guptill Pub.