Tryon Painters and Sculptors features Baker’s paintings

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 5, 2011

Painting by Richard Baker

Opening reception Sunday, May 15

The Tryon Painters and Sculptors will exhibit a selection of Richard Baker’s oil paintings at Tryon Fine Arts Center’s Gallery One, May 15 – June 18. The studio is located at 34 Melrose Avenue in Tryon. An opening reception will be held Sunday, May 15 for the public.

Richard Baker

Richard Baker has been painting the world around him for most of his life. A self-taught artist, with no formal training, he paints places, people and wildlife as he sees them. Baker’s brush strokes are light with very little of the paint rising above the canvas. He says he relies on pigments and tonal value to give his paintings realistic depth and texture.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Baker makes use of the natural settings and colorful history of Polk County. His recent fascination with the wooden toys created in the early 1900s by the Tryon Toymakers has led to several paintings of some of these local treasures – art begetting art, so to speak – and a renewed interest in this era of Tryon’s history.

Many of his landscapes are easily recognizable depictions of old friends – the quietude of the Blue Wall Preserve, the solid grandeur of Hogback Mountain, the ceaseless cascade of Pearson’s Falls or the gentle Pacolet with sunlight dancing along its surface as it flows through snowy banks.

As the son of a military officer, Baker grew up all over America and abroad and was exposed to many cultures and landscapes. He worked for many years as a zookeeper in Florida, eventually becoming curator of a collection of endangered mammals. During this time he painted primarily wildlife and landscapes.

In 2006 he moved to western North Carolina. After recovering from a heart attack in 2010, he decided to use his “second chance” to devote himself to his art, opening a studio and taking advantage of his surroundings for inspiration.

“Art is my life and my passion,” he said. “It is who I am.”

Baker creates in his studio in Tryon and welcomes art lovers and onlookers whenever he is painting there. He also, on occasion, produces plein air paintings, setting up his easel amidst the natural beauty of the area, and capturing on canvas, for all to admire, his visions of that beauty.

Baker is a member of Tryon Painters and Sculptors. His website is His studio is located at 163 N. Trade Street in Tryon’s “art district.”