Widely known and respected as one of the best contemporary realist painters working today, Bo Bartlett divides his time between Maine and his native Georgia. His distinctive, exquisitely crafted paintings reflect his deep appreciation for the people and places he knows well. Inspired by scenes and individuals from his personal life, including his wife Betsy, a frequent model and muse, Bartlett’s paintings reflect his deep appreciation for living close to nature and celebrating the wonders of the everyday.
He says, “On the island in Maine, I go out and paint most mornings. I’ll do relatively quick gouaches, just to warm up and get into the day. Sometimes these paintings start to have a life of their own and I work on them longer…when I do, a narrative can develop. Sometimes Betsy passes by and I’ll get her to linger, and put her in my picture.”
Bartlett's background as a filmmaker—he is a graduate of New York University's film school, and his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under the noted portrait artist Nelson Shanks inform his painting practice. His works are in many private collections and more than twenty-five public institutions nationwide, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Frye Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, The Columbus Museum of Art, Denver Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Greenville County Museum of Art. The Bo Bartlett Center on the campus of Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, features fourteen monumental canvases by the artist and serves as a cultural hub for the region.