Throughout her many years as an executive in Bay Area community colleges, Linda Salter diligently carved out time to paint portraits. Now devoting herself full time to painting, she still considers portraiture her first love. Explains Salter: “I enjoy painting a variety of subjects from plein air landscapes to classical still life’s, but I’m always drawn back to portraiture. It’s important to me not only to capture a likeness, but to reveal an internal essence of the person I’m painting—the subject’s character . . . or perhaps even her soul.”
The artist’s portraiture methods are a blending of personal expression and traditional teachings from art schools in Seattle, Scottsdale, and the Bay Area. Salter works primarily in oils and pastels. In this exhibit, she uses a range of techniques including pastel pencil on sanded paper and oils of a classically limited palette.
In describing the preparation for a successful sitting, Linda Salter remarks, “the posing of the head strongly communicates the inner personality.” She often requests specific clothing be worn by the model in order to accomplish an image she has in her mind’s eye. According to Salter, lighting the subject is perhaps one of the most important elements. “I’ve learned to appreciate the shapes and shadows in capturing a likeness even more than an individual’s facial features.”
Once in the process of creating the prepared portrait, the artist will spend anywhere from a few hours to “tens of hours” in developing a good likeness. She often returns to an interesting model repeatedly, enjoying the rediscovery of identity through the use of different mediums. She has been known to pull strangers off the street, asking them to sit for a bit so she can sketch out a likeness.
Salter has long been generously involved in the local arts community. While President of Skyline College she was instrumental in repurposing the defunct black box theater into a fine arts gallery for the Art Department. Her work is frequently seen in exhibits on the Peninsula. The award-winning artist has had solo shows in San Mateo, Menlo Park, and Big Sur’s Esalen Institute.