Artist Matthew Richter said one of the hardest things about painting on a wall is dealing with the sunlight. It gets hot on the scaffolding, it’s hard to mix paints, and the light glares off his reference images.
Nevertheless, Richter plans to spend between four and six hours every day for the next few weeks seven feet in the air to paint a mural on the wall of 216 S Main. He said this arrangement is not without its disadvantages.
“It makes me decide quickly what to do,” Richter said. “I don’t dawdle.”
The mural, titled “Battle Hill Bison,” was commissioned by the Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been in the works since 2012. It will feature bison and wildflowers under a sky that is half-clear and half-stormy.
“Anne Hassler asked me to do it because of my interest of native plants in the area,” Richter said. “I chose buffalo because they’re a symbol of the independence of our state. That animal is appealing to us as Kansans.”
Richter said the sky represents the extremes of human experience, the good and the bad. He said half the work in doing a painting is in the planning.
“A painting grows like a gardener grows a plant,” Richter said. “It doesn’t just pop up.”
Art always has been a part of Richter’s life. His mother, Marilyn Richter, was an accomplished artist who taught at Mulvane Art Center at Washburn University and at the Menninger Foundation Children’s Hospital, both in Topeka.
At home, Matthew Richter worked with clay, photography, puppet building, drawing, painting, printing and various other art mediums. He attended his first painting and drawing classes at Washburn University at age 6.
“My mother taught me how art elevates the human spirit and contributes to superior life satisfaction,” he said. “Through her example, I learned the value of discovery, self-determination and independence of thought. She showed me the courage it takes to innovate and create works of integrity and depth.”
Matthew Richter graduated from the University of Kansas with a major in painting and a secondary emphasis in printing in 1979. He moved to McPherson that year with his wife, Allison, and has painted murals before.
He has won several professional awards. Most recently, in 2010, he won both the “Art of Wind” grand prize from Siemens Wind Energy and the landscape award from Great Plains Nature Photographers.
Though he would prefer some cloud cover, Matthew Richter said he hopes people who see him will gain a greater appreciation for art.
“Knowing that an artist is a craftsman that does things that take time is a tremendous advantage for people,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - More information about Matthew Richter can be found at www.matthewrichtrer.com
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