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The Uncommon Eye - Impressions of a Montana Outdoorsman

October 17 - November 23, 2013


Paul Tunkis of Livingston, Montana won first place in February 2013 Hockaday Museum of Art's competition for emerging Montana artists entitled "Catch the Vision: From Dreams to Discovery" in Kalispell, MT. First prize in the competition is a one-man show to be held October 17 through November 23, 2013 at the Hockaday Museum of Art. Paul Tunkis has titled his show:  "The Uncommon Eye - Impressions of a Montana Outdoorsman"

The exhibit is a compendium of watercolors by Paul Tunkis capturing the momentary presence of wildlife and the Montana landscape. "Wildlife is always in motion-stillness is fleeting. What does one see in three or four seconds?  As an artist, I see the eyes, broad colors, the impression of life and its surroundings. A memory, a recollection of an encounter, not too much detail, just enough to suggest what I thought I saw, just enough to let you, the viewer, fill in the details from your own memories. The Montana landscape is constantly changing-the light fleeting and the weather unpredictable, the awe inspiring lasts only moments-capturing that special moment challenges the artist in me." says Tunkis. (right: Paul Tunkis, Cottontail, watercolor, 9 x12 inches)

" Hunting and fly-fishing has always been a passion for me since I placed my first order from "Herters" catalog, read "Hunter" by John Hunter, tied my first fly and shot my first hunting rifle -- all by the ripe old age of 12.  Growing up on a ranch in Northern California gave me the opportunity to explore the natural world on a daily basis, providing the outdoor experiences that have shaped a lifelong endeavor." recalls Tunkis. All of this has influenced his present work in a traditional impressionistic style of watercolor on paper.

In 2011 Tunkis revived his interest in painting and drawing after 30 years, in his studio in Livingston, Montana. Combining his artistic skills with his 24 of years experience as a professional hunting and fishing outfitter in Montana and the West, He currently paints Montana's landscape and wildlife. 

Paul Tunkis has had a life-long interest in painting and drawing. After winning the children's art contest in the San Francisco Chronicle many years in a row, his family began nurturing his talents.  After high school, Tunkis attended the University of Oregon and studied art and architecture. His greatest opportunity to hone his natural skills came the mid 1970's, when he studied drawing and painting in San Francisco, CA at the Leighton Studio with Thomas Leighton and Marjorie Lester. Leighton was an expatriate Englishmen trained in England's Royal Academe in London England, and his wife Marjorie was a commercial artist who did many illustrations for National Geographic and other international publications. Leighton taught portraiture, figure drawing and painting and still-life. His method of teaching was reminiscent of the studio workshops of the past. A beginning student would work several years in charcoal, starting with line drawings, and working up to full toned drawings. Then would come painting in umber and white paint to establish tone and familiarity with paint. Finally the student would progress to full color oil paint or pastel.  

Tunkis is self-taught in watercolor, drawing heavily upon his past training in drawing and oil painting.  In 2013 Paul attended a workshop in Germany and studied with the famous European wildlife watercolor artist Bodo Meier, whose contemporary impressionistic watercolor style heavily influences Tunkis's work today.

Today, Paul Tunkis has intensified his interest in watercolor painting and is striving to establish a career as a professional artist and share his work with others. He uses his artistic skills to draw upon past experience as a professional hunting guide in Colorado and Montana and as a fishing guide on the waters of the Greater Yellowstone area. Paul's artistic and outdoor interests take him all over the state of Montana as well as searching for new wildlife experiences beyond Montana to Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Namibia. 


(above: Paul Tunkis, Discussing Water Rights, watercolor, 12 x16 inches)

(above: Paul Tunkis, Phil's on the Shield, watercolor, 14 x 20 inches)


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Learn more about Paul Tunkis at www.paultunkis.com.

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