Local Artist Balances His Love of the Outdoors with His Passion for Painting
Throughout history, most artists have gone through periods of their lives where they struggled for inspiration. Many of them have endured times of low productivity in which they could not find the creative muse.
Not Frank Gee.
Frank is a fortunate man who finds himself surrounded by inspiration at his Gallatin home by Old Hickory Lake. As an avid outdoorsman and an accomplished artist, Frank is able to capture his world in ways most of us only dream about.
“Everywhere I look, I am surrounded by nature,” Frank says. “I have no shortage of inspiration.”
While he enjoys all aspects of the outdoors, Frank is particularly passionate about fishing.
“I love fishing. I fish for everything,” he says. “I consider myself a finesse fisherman, and I especially enjoy the precision of fly and ultralight fishing.”
Frank’s adept approach toward fishing has helped him hone an artistic style that allows him to bring a unique perspective to each of his subjects. From subtle watercolor bird paintings to detailed fish rubbings, his blend of precision and creativity keeps his art in high demand.
Born in China, Frank was raised in Nashville after his family immigrated to the United States. As such, his soul spans both the eastern and the western worlds, and his artwork shows it.
“All my paintings are done with an oriental flair,” Frank says. “The eastern philosophy of painting is that if you don’t remember it, don’t paint it. However, if you do remember your subject, you are able to paint it with great feeling and knowledge.”
Over the years, Frank has dabbled in all types of painting materials; however, his favorite medium has always been watercolors.
“Watercolors appear to be simple, but in reality, they are diabolical and challenging,” Frank says with a chuckle.
Despite his preferences, commercial realities prompted Frank to move to acrylics several years ago. While this change made sense for selling paintings, it was not one he was eager to make.
“I got into acrylics reluctantly. I always enjoyed painting with watercolors using minimal colors,” Frank says.
In fact, Frank’s resistance to change might have prevailed if not for a little playful nudging from his wife, Dorothy.
“One day, Dorothy came to me and said that she wanted to give me some constructive criticism,” he recalls.
“I think you are afraid of color,” Dorothy said to him.
“I was shocked,” he says. “I’ve never been afraid of color.”
After that exchange, Frank thought the discussion was over. However, Dorothy was not going to let him off the artistic hook so easily.
“Well, then. You need to add color to some of your paintings. Can you not do it?” she asked him.
“Of course, I can,” he replied.
“I’m not sure you can,” she told him. “You know that watercolors don’t sell well in the South. Southerners like bold, colorful paintings that can be mounted without the glare of glass.”
“Subsequently, I was determined to prove to her that I could incorporate more color,” Frank says. “That’s when I decided to move to acrylics.”
Ultimately, Dorothy’s advice proved sage, and the migration to acrylics was the right move for his studio.
“I was ticked off at first, but Dorothy was right,” Frank admits with a grin. “She always keeps me on the right path.”
Over time, Frank has found a perfect balance between the subtle simplicity of his eastern heritage and the bold sophistication of the modern South. Some people would struggle with this conflux of influences, but not Frank.
He thrives on it.