GREENFIELD — “Just an art kid” is how Bob Meyers thinks of himself. As a child, he always was receiving pencils, paint brushes and drawing pads for Christmas and birthdays. He always had a sketch book on his lap.
Some 50 years later, Meyers’ distinctive artistic style has earned him acclaim among his peers at the Watercolor Society and a one-man show in the second-floor gallery at Greenfield Banking Co. now through the end of March.
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By day, he works for TKO Graphix in Plainfield, but in the evenings and on the weekends, he is Bob Meyers the artist. Meyers paints cityscapes — specifically buildings with bright neon signs promoting their services.
The dark background he creates for his artwork makes the brightly colored signs pop from the canvas.
Some scenes are personal to the artist — prominently displayed in the exhibit is his painting of the Buckhorn Tavern, located in northwestern Wisconsin where Meyers frequently vacations. Others, local visitors to the gallery might find familiar, like the fluorescent glow of Broad Ripple at night.
Meyers picked up his technique while taking classes at the Indianapolis Art Center from the late artist, Paul Sweany, who taught him how to create a “wash” — a semi-thick solution of dark-colored paint and water.
Using the sturdier watercolor board rather than paper, Meyers first covers the board, and then he paints in the colors — electric pinks, blues and reds — shape by shape.
He got rave reviews from his watercolor group with his first few attempts, so he kept at it, seeking out neon cityscapes in Indianapolis and other areas.
Meyers uses reference photos he takes himself for most of his art — that is, he draws and paints from photographs.
With his digital camera, Meyers captures the glows and auras around the neon signs, which are perfect for his style.
“My photos would be graded a D or an F,” he said, but “they are great for what I was wanting to do with the paintings.”
Meyers’ artistic process continues with a pencil sketch. “I don’t do any coloring until I get an accurate drawing on my board,” he said. As an artist, Meyers considers himself to be more of a copycat than a creationist.
He summarizes the words of Josef Albers, famous for his studies of color theory: “You need seeing eyes and obeying hands.”
From Albers, Meyers learned how one color next to another creates an effect.Alber, Meyers said, had the ability to use two colors to make a third.
He could put two colors next to each other, but the eye would see a third color between the other two “I’ve always had a good hand,” Meyers said.
“I couldn’t do the piano, but I could always hold that pencil and make it do whatever I wanted it to do.” Meyers’ artwork is on display now during business hours at Greenfield Banking Co., 1920 N. State St.