Robert Temple likes to paint big, and he dreams big, too. Straight in the sag of a slumping economy, Temple opened a new art gallery in Payson: Temple Gallery at 404 W. Main Street, C.
"I had to open a gallery. It kept nagging me in my heart," Temple said. The airy space with hardwood floors has little in the middle save for Temple's 4-1/2-month-old Cocker Spaniel, Bernie -- the official greeter who sits in a pen on an Oriental-looking area rug.
Most of the art on the walls is Temple's, though he also has for sale the paintings of several other artists. Those include Larry Gluck, whose muted mauve painting on the back wall looks, at first glance, like color diluting from concentrated at the bottom to lighter and more ephemeral at the top. Then, leer in closer, and one spots the hidden agenda -- an outline of a naked lady. It's subtle, yet effective. It costs $30,000.
Gluck was Temple's mentor when he studied at a Los Angeles art school. Temple credits Gluck with teaching him to paint depth; a skill he says is forgotten by many modern artists.
Several works by Schim Schimmel, an accomplished artist who lives in the Valley, also hang. The galactic desert scenes available at the Temple Gallery depict stars and planets swarming over cactus at night.
Temple found Schimmel, whose work is especially popular in Japan, when he owned a Scottsdale gallery in the 1980s. Oil prices were high back then, too. Gluck said Texans flush with oil money liked to buy art in Arizona then, though his gallery missed the influx.
"I lost all my money." But Temple purchased a lot of art, much of which is on sale in his gallery. "I've had it for 20 years. I figured, ‘Well, it's time to sell it.'"
His own art features landscapes Paysonites will know: Green Valley Park, Main Street the Ox Bow Saloon and the East Verde River.
Temple paints in the window of his gallery often, hoping people will walk in and look around.
"I kept saying I can't do this in this economy," he said. The slowdown, Temple is well acquainted with. He still works as a real estate appraiser, and Temple says his workload has slackened.
But Temple has faith that this was his time, and this was the place. His health problems -- he hit his head while appraising a house and now suffers from Post Concussion Syndrome -- at first stalled his progress as a painter. The affliction made him unable to concentrate. Nausea and headaches arose when he set about thinking too long. So he stopped thinking. Instead of the need for perfection shackling him to scrutinizing his paintings, Temple let the impulses flow through him and onto the canvas.
Now, with brighter colors and more confident brush strokes bleeding from his brush, Temple feels his paintings are more inspired.
"It doesn't matter if I make any mistakes. I don't have to be perfect. Just paint," Temple said. "Thinking stops your higher self from coming through."
Temple's work has never appeared in other local galleries. He says he paints too big -- there is no room. "I don't like to paint small," Temple said. "You have to use a small brush and I like to use a big brush and have my hand move more."
Temple's small painting -- and there is at least one in his gallery -- costs $150. Most other paintings cost $1,000 to $2,500. Other artists included in the gallery are Nicholas Volpe, who won a Grammy award for painting an album cover of Frank Sinatra, and Louise DeMore, a California painter.
"It will grow," Temple said about his gallery. "It's just starting. It will grow."