Dick Bynum: Finding my own voice

LaVerne Kyriss

“Telling a story through art, communicating a feeling, an idea, is what a good artist can do,” explained Dick Bynum. An oil painter and potter for only ten years, Bynum began exploring art after he retired and moved to SaddleBrooke in 2004. “In my younger days, I was a runner, skier, and avid outdoor enthusiast. But that took a toll and my joints started wearing out. Being creative filled a void in my life. The real pleasure is in producing the piece, capturing that feeling,” he said.

“When we moved here, we were thrilled with all the amenities and opportunities to try new activities. While I don’t golf, I’m happy to support the courses because the golfers also support our other amenities,” he noted. “The Topaz Room at MountainView and the pottery rooms at SaddleBrooke One’s Arts and Crafts Center are wonderful. I love using them and engaging with others who are having fun making things.”

Bynum said he got started painting by joining the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild and taking classes. “I’ve learned so much from the various instructors. I’m still challenging myself to get better, to try new things. We have so many resources here in our community,” he added.

“Instructors taught me how to see what’s really there…not what I think is there. I think this would be good for everyone to learn, regardless of their skill level,” Bynum said. “When you look at something, do you see the separate features, the shapes, shadows, tone, and color?” he asked.

“I’ve tended to gravitate toward a particular artist whose style I like. I learn those techniques and try to master them. That’s a great way to learn the basics,” he said. “Now I’m trying to find my own voice.”

Bynum characterizes his style as fairly representational but more painterly than photographs. “I love to paint western scenes, animals, landscapes but I’m trying to capture an emotion and portray it for the viewer. I’ve been working to use more colors, perhaps shift them to convey a feeling and not just copy what’s in front of me.”

“However, color can be a problem,” Bynum explained. “Sometimes it gets in the way of seeing what’s in the scene. What I mean is that the color can be so vivid that it masks the shadow and depth. When I’m working from a photo I took, I often make a black and white copy so that I can better see how the light falls.”

Bynum especially likes the camaraderie found among guild members. “Several of us are regulars at Monday open studio. We bring our work and compare our progress. We get ideas from each other and challenge ourselves to make it better. We discuss techniques and spur each other on. It’s a really supportive community,” he said.

“Non-critiques on Wednesdays are also very helpful. You can bring something you’re struggling with and get useful feedback or you can come and just listen. It’s a great way to learn,” he explained.

For more information about the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild, visit them online at saddlebrookefinearts.org.