Fort Wayne artist George McCullough died last week after a long bout with cancer.
For forty years, he was a local scholar, mentor and icon of the local art scene.
Tonight, we look back on his long and highly creative career.
George McCullough always said he did his best work outdoors.
The colors were brighter, the senses sharper.
It was color he seemed to be in love with, and color he emphasized all the years he taught painting at IPFW, and the old Fort Wayne Art Institute before that.
That's where painter Tom Kelly first studied with him thirty years ago.
Artist Tom Kelley says, "He taught more the love of art and the love of seeing things. He felt that the key to art was to look out and see and enjoy the beauty of it."
George McCullough was educated in Iowa, but his art studies took him to Paris, to Italy and to his beloved New York City, where he proposed to Sue, his wife of fifty years.
This is his portrait of Central Park.
This is the Manhattan skyline.
But it was in Fort Wayne where McCullough did his best work...landscapes mostly, of bright, vibrant colors that jump from the canvas to the eye.
He taught thousands of students during his teaching career and his influence on the regional art scene is probably immeasurable.
But his friends say he seemed happiest driving around the Midwest looking for scenes to paint.
Tom Kelly recalls the day he and McCullough were painting in a field when the farmer let his cows out.
Artist Tom Kelly says, "And we stood there painting and these cows were six to eight inches from us watching us paint. Some people would get upset, but George would just 'Hey!' and soon all the cows just sat down around us and they were just part of the painting and George snuck into his truck and got another canvas and painted a picture of the cow. And that's what he taught me...if you're out, you can't worry, enjoy the beauty of it."
You were watching a man who enjoyed his work when you watched George McCullough paint, usually wearing his homemade glasses...a man at peace with himself who had learned the secret of capturing a little piece of nature on canvas.
In an earlier interview, artist George McCullough said, "To simplify, to be able to put something down and hold on to it and not louse it up by simply overworking. And a few strokes can express something very explicit about nature."
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