To devotees of fine art, the names Don Brackett and P.J. Garoutte are immediately recognizable and their paintings are included in collections across the country.
While looking back over the last twelve months, Brackett and Garoutte remarked on the many blessings the year gave to them.
“We are painting more than we ever have in our lives, and I think we’re painting better than ever,” said Garoutte, with her husband nodding in agreement. “We find ourselves loving what we do more and more.”
And it appears others are equally entranced with the artists’ signature styles. The two have noted a heightened public interest in acquiring art, which has expanded the base of their clients and given them the pleasure of introducing themselves to the next generation of collectors.
Brackett’s oil paintings are gorgeous impressionistic studies of the panoramas surrounding their home in Taos, most of which feature the magnificent skies that make this region beloved by artists. His adept brush work is the perfect foil for the drama of clouds, rain, and reflections that is captured in his iconic works.
“Don does beautiful brush work,” Garoutte noted, and it is impossible to disagree when viewing his prolific catalogue of landscapes.
Garoutte’s works have trended toward a more expressionistic style than in previous years, maintaining the joy which her palette knife lends to each canvas. Her pieces are vividly colorful and bewitchingly passionate.
“My subjects are unplanned,” she said of her creations. “I don’t sketch, nor do I lay in (deliberately with paint). I let the work evolve on the canvas and emotionally respond to it.”
Their two diverse approaches intersect at that point. “Paintings will always tell you what to do,” Brackett agreed. “You let yourself listen and relate to it. Maybe you have an idea but if you’re quiet, the painting may take you to a place where something better comes of it.”
Brackett trusts his brush will explain the work before him; Garoutte allows the dimensionality of palette knife-applied oils to gift the canvas with often surprising directions.
There is always the discipline of composition, however. “There’s a mindfulness of the elements of design; what happens in one place on the canvas affects each other part,” Garoutte explained.
And of course, for two artists who have spent decades living and painting together, the synergy in their shared studio supports their common goal: sustaining their vocation.
“We’ve learned from and supported each other throughout our lives,” Brackett said. “This year P.J. went in a direction totally on her own,” — a move he wholeheartedly supports.
Garoutte was honored earlier this year with a one-person show at the Canyon Road location of Manitou Galleries in Santa Fe. The couple has been represented by Manitou for years but this exhibition was particularly meaningful for her.
“Gallery Director Cyndi Hall suggested I do a solo exhibit including paintings I had painted years ago,” she recalled. Titled “Pathways of a Painting Artist’s Life: The Work of P.J. Garoutte,” it stands as a pinnacle in her career.
“We’re pleased with the successes that the past few years have given us and we thank everyone who has helped us along the way for our success story,” noting in particular that Hall had also supported Brackett in the years before Manitou began representing Garoutte, as well.
In addition to Manitou Galleries, the couple is represented by Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, 119-A Kit Carson Road.
“Rob [Nightingale] has been supportive of both of us throughout the years,” Garoutte remarked.
Manitou Galleries is located at 225 Canyon Road in Santa Fe. They may be reached at (505) 986-9833, or by visiting manitougalleries.com.
For more information on Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, call (575) 758-3255, or visit wnightingale.com.