BY PAMELA KEECH
“I like to paint everything,” says 28-year-old Wyatt LeGrand, who has been storming Indiana plein air paint outs (open-air painting events), galleries, and collectors with his energetic oil canvases. He says he prefers painting “weird, funky things rather than pretty things,” and that his purpose is to “make a picture of that place at that moment.” He estimates that he makes more than 1,000 paintings a year.
“I have kind of a blue-collar approach to producing artwork,” he says. “Just make a whole bunch of it, know where to steer yourself, then step back and look at the artwork and go from there. That’s the way a lot of my shows develop.”
LeGrand started painting in 2008 while at Indiana University working on a degree in visual arts education. He planned to teach high school and start making art after he got a job, but he couldn’t find one at first, so he painted. “It was kind of flip-flopped. Learning how to paint and trying to make artwork and sell that artwork, it was a real experience. I learned a lot in a short period of time,” he says.
A Bloomfield, Indiana, native, LeGrand teaches at Bloomfield High School. “I moved back there after college. I bought my grandparents house after they died and took my art teacher’s job after she retired,” he says.
His first paint out was at T.C. Steele State Historic Site where he won a prize and sold the painting. Soon he discovered the plein air painting circuit in Indiana, then the national circuit, and began traveling. “For me, the real art of it all is going out there and having the experience, then trying to record it onto the canvas. As soon as the painting’s done, the art is over,” he says.
LeGrand is a member of the Brown County Art Guild and shows at Brown County Art Gallery, Hoosier Salon, Indiana Heritage Arts, and many other venues. He usually takes awards at every show he enters. His paintings sell for a few hundred dollars to $10,000.
He can be found at LeGrand Art Studio & Gallery, 2015 W. Ind. 54, Bloomfield, Indiana, 812-384-6505, legrandartstudio.com