Artist of the Month

Bruce Capra – Magic things start to happen

LaVerne Kyriss

Like many pre-teens of his era, Bruce Capra got a paint-by-numbers kit when he was 12. This gift sparked a life-long love of painting. But as a college student Capra became convinced he had no artistic talent and moved into commercial art where he took up screen printing. He opened a gallery, produced commercial and fine art screen prints and became an agent for other artists, producing and wholesaling seriographs to galleries.

Along the way, Capra continued to paint for his own enjoyment. He also began attending auctions seeking antiques and collectibles. In 1988, Capra attended the Missouri Auction School and earned certification as an auctioneer and an appraiser in fine art, antiques and collectibles. “Because I was purchasing artwork and antiques, I learned about art restoration and added that skill to my repertoire,” he explained. “In the end, I travelled the world conducting art auctions, buying a few pieces, restoring them as needed and then selling them.”

Capra describes himself not as an artist, but as a colorist. “I like to take a recognizable object, distort it and apply a multitude of color. When you apply paint strokes to your work, magic things start to happen. The brighter the colors, the better.”

Capra says he likes to paint abstract works, but practices realism to teach himself to be a better painter. “A painter once told me to focus on every brush stroke—-to make it as if it’s the finishing stroke. This means to take the time to make the brush stroke right.”

“I learned a lot about art from being in the business, from talking to artists, studying their approaches and ideas and then just getting out the brushes and practicing,” he explained. “I worked during the day and painted in the evenings. I still often paint in the evening.”

Capra said he often has more than one piece in progress. “I start on the background and work multiple layers. Building up the layers is how I get depth in my work. When I get to a certain point, that’s when I concentrate on a single painting and put the others aside for a while. When it’s done, then I move on to another.”

Another aspect Capra says is really important is to suspend judgment. “Don’t judge your work as good or bad-—just acknowledge that it’s another step in learning. Have fun and don’t be too critical,” he smiled.

Capra is bringing his professional auctioneering skills to the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild Spring Art Show. “We’re going to have a live auction on Friday evening that should be a lot of fun. Artists will have previously selected works they are willing to put up for auction. These pieces will be displayed around the show before the auction starts.”

“Everyone attending will get a chance to wander around the gallery and pick from among those pieces a work they would like to see in the auction by tagging it with an ‘Auction Request’ card. We’ll then auction artwork from among those chosen by the audience. We’ll also have a cash bar and appetizers,” he added. “It should be a fun evening and you might even go home with a bargain!”