For the past 25 years, Joe Gallant has been painting quiet landscapes across the Cape, creating thoughtful compositions that evoke the serenity of the region. He fondly remembers sketching and painting with his father at the kitchen table while he was growing up, and he credits those experiences with instilling his love of art. Years later, as an adult in the 1990s, he was attending an outdoor arts festival in Sandwich when he came across an artist painting watercolors on her easel. Instantly, his love for art was reawakened. “The next day, I went and bought supplies, went to the library and checked out books. That’s when it really started to evolve. I started selling work in the mid-90s and took the big step to become a full-time painter in 1998,” he says.
He also took another big step: leaving Ohio, where he had been working in the corporate world, and relocating with his wife to the Cape. He always had an affinity for the Cape, having grown up summering here. In addition, years prior, the couple spent their honeymoon on the Cape.
Today, Gallant paints from his Sandwich home, where he has a studio and gallery. For the first ten years of his painting journey, he worked solely in watercolors. The watercolors evolved into oils, which he now does almost exclusively. “As I started to learn oils, I just really fell in love with it,” he says.
For Gallant, it is the quiet side of Cape Cod that inspires his art. Driving around, he often stops at spots that inspire him to take a photo, which later become the reference for his masterpieces. “I love just a natural scene for my oils,” he says. “That’s what I enjoy most, and as a result, I’m told that my paintings are serene, calming and a bit impressionistic. I work very hard on composition,” he adds. “I try to do paintings that a person likes as a whole. It’s not necessarily the scene that I’m painting if it’s recognizable, like somewhere in Nauset.” Rather, he says, “people like it for what it is as a piece of work — the composition, the coloration, all of those things. That’s what I try to capture,” he shares.
Today, he conducts instructional workshops called Big Brush Painting at the Cotuit Center for the Arts, the Falmouth Art Center and the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. The workshops are held monthly at each location, where Gallant employs a concentrated focus on learning to paint. “I get both beginners and people with more experience. It’s all about painting on big canvases with big brushes, so it’s freeing and a lot of fun,” he says.
This summer, Gallant will be a part of the Cahoon Brush Off auction with the Cahoon Museum. The event is an online auction from June 26th-July 10th, and Gallant will have two paintings up for bid. In the winter season, he will be featured in a holiday exhibit at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod from December 4th-19th.
Thanks to his talent and appreciation for the peaceful corners of Cape Cod, Joe Gallant’s works of art are tranquil treasures. His gallery in Sandwich is open by appointment, or visit his website, www.capecodwatercolors.com, to view and purchase his oil and watercolor paintings, as well as his signature watercolor notecards and Christmas cards.
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