Watercolor by Bicycle: Brian Gangelhoff
Brian draws his inspiration for paintings from the cycling and camping he does in the bay area. He seems to capture not only the image, but the feeling of those rides. The way a shaded section opens suddenly to bright skies and rolling hills. The way sunlight breaks through trees, tracing phantom potholes as it dances on asphalt. The way redwoods reach up and touch the sky as leisurely as if it were their true home.
How long have you been painting?
I painted some in high school and early 20s but didn't think I was particularly good at it. I've always made art in different formats but picked up watercolor painting a little over 3 years ago.
When I was a kid I had a flower press that I used on flowers, leaves or anything that would fit. Try as I might, I couldn't fit trees and hills into it. Is that why you decided to paint them instead?
That's funny. I just bought a flower press at the white elephant sale today!
I started painting with watercolors because I could bring a small kit bike touring. I painted landscapes because that's what was there. I found I like the small format too.
Do you make your own paint?
Nope. Store bought. I do modify brushes. Can't find them small enough so I cut some bristles off.
Yeah, I imagine it's difficult to get color from water. I've noticed that over the years you seem to play more with shadows cast in the foreground, which I really like. Has it affected your ability to cast dark magic?
Ha! I just paint what I see or what I like. No magic involved! ... Dark shadows are easier to paint!
As a Bay Area cyclist, I like that I recognize a lot of the views you paint. Do you hear that a lot?
Yep, I do. I didn't set out to paint so many roads but that's where I am with the bike so that's what I see and paint and or take photos. I seem to have a talent for painting pavement.
You've been camping since you were a kid right? When did you start camping and touring by bicycle?
Yes, I grew up camping. I quit driving over five years ago and the biggest thing I missed was car camping then I realized I could strap things on the bike and camp with that. I've found it a much more satisfactory way to camp as well.
When there's something strange in my neighborhood, I call my aunt because the Ghostbusters aren't real. Do you ever paint trees that are houses for elves?
Yes, most definitely. Of course you can't see them but I know they are there. I also paint full alien cities in the clouds before covering them up in more clouds.
I knew it! Illuminati!
If you're interested in purchasing any of his work, Brian can be reached at [email protected]