For the love of the art |

For the love of the art

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
AE Tom Torge1 KA 12-10-07

Tom Torge must be an artist.His tiny condo is cluttered with huge painting frames and canvasses, various wood carvings, a plethora of paintbrushes and stacks of art supplies. There are dozens of his paintings plastering the walls of the place and an even greater number of his wood carvings, making it look more like a museum than somebodys home. Its hard to move around the organized chaos of his living space/work studio, but Torge seems confident and comfortable among the debris. He sits behind a wooden easel that is holding up one of his latest works; his sturdy frame planted firmly in a black folding chair, he talks about his passion.Photography is one click but painting is a thousand clicks, explained Torge, his voice raised slightly to combat the opera music playing over the speakers in the room.This is why painting is his preferred method of expression, he said.Torge mostly paints landscapes; his favorite medium is oil paints or watercolors, but he works with all types of subjects and mediums, everything from pencil drawings of the human figure to acrylic paintings of fruit.When you can draw the (human) figure well, landscapes are a breeze … because you can change the architecture of a landscape and nobody knows the difference, Torge said. The same is not true of the human figure, he said, because everyone is so familiar with it that proportional errors really stand out. His quickly-honed ability to paint and draw the human figure has helped him to excel as an all-around artist since he began painting a decade ago.

In the past Torge displayed his art in a now-defunct New York gallery and local galleries where he sold many of his paintings, achievements that he is obviously very proud of. Torges work is on display at the Eagle Library this month. Tonight the library will host an artist reception and Torge will paint.The works in the showing include some of Torges drawings, portraits, and landscapes. The pieces range in price from $35 to $1,200. Michael Paderewaski, owner of The Sportsmans Gallery and Paderewski Fine Art in Beaver Creek, said he showed Torges paintings in his gallery three years ago.It was very well received. We sold quite a few of them, Paderewaski said.Torge cites some of his artistic role-models as Andrew Wyeth (one of the most influential American painters of the 20th century) and Dan Sprick (another highly successful artist), but is quick to point out that he does not copy their style. My landscapes theyre not all the same scenes, but you can tell theyre all painted by the same person, Torge said. You learn technique then you apply it with your own vision. Every painter is a product of somebody that came before them.But Torges goal is to take his skill and keep honing it. He doesnt care about the money or fame that some artists eventually achieve, he said. Indeed, Torge seems more concerned with how he perceives his work than with what the public thinks. I would like to be able to paint one really great painting that I can look at and say thats a really great painting, Torge said.Arts & Entertainment writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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