Judith Walden

Painter Scott Gordon Woodhouse  a fun and interesting recent addition to Salem’s art scene moved from Portland, where he lived for 8 years. Before that he had lived in California, where he enjoyed a successful career as a furniture restorer and designer.

Quiet with a subtle, understated humor, Woodhouse discovered and loved painting  young, and credits a high school art teacher with giving him a good background in many painting techniques. Unfortunately when looking at college he was discouraged by a harshly critical teacher, and ended up channeling his energy into music and the humanities, although he continued to study and read about painting and painters. A move to the San Francisco/Sausalito area in search of a job introduced him to high end custom furniture, and with no design background he got a job as a clerk with a company and worked his way up. A skilled co-worker introduced him to restoration and taught him the tricks and techniques, leading to a 20 year career including about ten years working for the Getty family in San Francisco doing everything from their front doors, the drawing room and library, two ‘turkish rooms’ and their airplane. He says “This was fortunate work as I learned many new techniques that I have brought to my artwork.”

About 15 years ago Woodhouse began to paint again. His re-engagement as a painter lead to the adoption of a new name. He explains, “my artist name, Scott Gordon Woodhouse, came about a dozen years ago and is in honor of Violet and Gordon Woodhouse. My birth name, Smith, had to go as there were seven of us in Sausalito when I lived there in the 90’s.”

His subjects and inspirations are wide ranging, from nature through the furniture and design that has comprised much of his career.”I aspire to the beauty and versatility of the post-impressionist artists, Vuillard, Bonnard, Van Gogh, and Cezanne; their loose and varied styles, particularly their bold use of color and delight in the beauty of line.” Although counting them as influences, and  attracted by the post impressionist style, Woodhouse filters that aesthetic through the lens of his own wry humor and furniture design and restoration skill-set.

Describing his style Woodhouse  says “I am drawn to the quirky or unusual as a means to catch the mind and interest of my viewers. I use any media that works for me. Currently, I am swabbing a slurry of vermiculite mica on a two panel, japonesque screen.“  He does some canvases, but Woodhouse prefers to paint on wood “because more things stick better to it.” He usually makes his own panels, and  has a favorite Italian plywood that he uses. Gilding is also a frequent component in his work.

While living in Portland, other responsibilities prevented Woodhouse from connecting with the art scene, but now that he is in Salem he is enthusiastic and optimistic about painting, meeting other artists, and engaging with the art community. He says he is impressed with the seriousness and energy of the local artists and the local art venues, especially Hallie Ford Museum. One of the newest members of Red Raven Gallery, Woodhouse will be featured member in April.