About the Artist:
Greg Wilkie was born in Albany, NY in 1948. He spent a great deal of his youth in self-isolation, working on his drawings and water-color paintings or practicing magic. He studied mechanical drawing and art all through school and was frequently advanced to the next level. Looking back, he realized he missed out on some basic techniques since his works gave the appearance of a trained artist. Thus he worked harder outside of class to catch up. His mother recognized his talent early on and encouraged him to become a commercial artist. He could not envision such a career since there were many times he just didn’t feel like painting! And, he liked to create his own work, not what someone else told him to produce.
His mother entered many of his works in the County Fairs where he frequently received first place awards.
Unfortunately, his early works and awards were destroyed when his parents home burned to the ground. For years afterwards he shied away from painting and focused instead on the art of magic.
Reality of Life
Mr. Wilkie enlisted in the Navy at 17 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam where the idyllic life of youth suddenly evaporated. It was during that time that he became aware of the fleeting nature of life. When he returned to civilian life, nothing was the same. His older brother died suddenly in 1972 followed by his father in 1975. The compound trauma sent him into the throes of depression. He spent two decades searching for purpose in his life. While on his quest, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice, a Masters in Public Administration, worked as a laborer, ambulance driver, police officer, window washer, long-haul truck driver, a BART train operator and magician. None of these activities fulfilled his soul.
Rebirth of the Painter
Mr. Wilkie regained his passion for painting while watching water-color artists in Thailand while he and his family were touring Southeast Asia performing magic. He was intrigued by the simplicity of the palm tree and ocean scenes and the artists’ ability to produce them quickly and with ease. Nothing ever came that easily to him.
He immediately got to work, sitting for hours on the floor, with brushes, paints and paper. So ended his magic interlude and the four year tour of Southeast Asia. He and his family returned to United States and made their home in California.
Mr. Wilkie discovered acrylic paints and realized he had found his medium of choice. He could blend the techniques of both water-color and oil painting. He has painted on a variety of supports including glass, wood, canvas, paper and most recently mat board. He is on a quest to find durable supports that will last long into the future…
Mr. Wilkie is ever-concerned about preserving his works. His goal is to leave pieces of himself behind so that his descendants will be able to see the life he lived through his eyes. For him, there is only the reality of what was and what is in the moment. In his view, life is real—and that’s the way he paints it.