G. Marshall Bertram


It was G. Marshall Bertram’s grandfather Ernest E. Lee, a mining prospector and author, who taught him about the awe of the wild and the respect it commands. Bertram carries these themes throughout each of his paintings, and depicts nature’s great dichotomy: that of awesome fury and intense beauty. The artist looks to these very contradictions as inspiration for his work, and draws from his surroundings, but does so keeping to the traditional methods of the masters. His studios in both Ontario and on the shores of Lake Superior in Marquette provide a window into that unpredictable subject. These homes and studios represent a fulfilled dream of staying close to nature. Previous to Bertram’s return to the natural world, he attended the Chicago Institute of the Arts School of the Arts, but always held the notion that he’d leave the city, return to his roots and paint for those who share a kindred love of the wilderness. He measures his success on the belief that his paintings must carry away his observers in thought and in emotion.

Ever since his first painting sold in 1969, while still a sophomore in college, Bertram has painted professionally. “I must paint,” he states. And while Bertram does not limit himself to one medium, oil paintings dominate his portfolio. Some paintings are on Masonite but when working with canvas, he stretches his own frames using Belgian Linen or cotton duck. Using an under painting as the first layering of oil, he then applies the glazing techniques of the masters, mixing his own vehicles for oil transparency. Perhaps most unique, Bertram paints to music, often classical and jazz, noting that music keeps the spark of creative thought flowing. His paintings offer a visual representation of that music, like the weather’s fury or the silence of a foggy morning.

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