Without a Whisper of Weakness

When Bruce Dellinger of Timberville, Virginia received the news that he was this year’s recipient of the Art-to-Art Palette Journal award, he knew that a milestone had been surpassed.  Nearly 30 years of study, practice, and a whole lot of patience had finally begun to pay off.  Bruce was not able to accept his award in person for “Autumn Breeze” because of the extreme planning and arrangements that had to be made for travel but he was thrilled just the same. 

     It was not until after the uplifting phone call that came from the Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert, Ohio, hosts of the 55th Annual June Art Exhibit that the judges learned just how remarkable this artist was.  Basically self-taught, this amazing nature sketch artist applies each stroke of the pencil with the only tool available to him, his teeth. 

     On July 11, 1981, Bruce was helping neighbors bale hay.  His designated spot was in the top of the hay mount where bales arrived for stacking.  Not a stranger to the chore at hand, Bruce was busy at work when a yellow jacket approached him.  The normal response was to swat at the pesky bee and this is when the young teenage boy found himself in trouble.  His feet became tangled in twine, balance compromised and a tumble of 25’ hayloft ensued.  This 14-year old was left with his 5th and 6th vertebrae damaged beyond repair, changing his life forever. 

     As a quadriplegic, Dellinger had to accept a new role in a world that is not very giving or comfortable with those slightly different.  After coping with shock and adjustment, the farm boy’s rough and tough attitude began to emerge.  During the summer of his sophomore year, Bruce became intrigued with the oil paintings of his Aunt Becky.  He needed an outlet for his new life and art seemed a good way to begin.

     Oils, pastels and finally charcoal were different medias that Dellinger tried.  Ken Schuler, renowned pencil artist, began to influence Bruce to the beauty and detail of everything living around him.  The desire for capturing natural scenes began to emerge and the young man found himself fascinated by this new outlook on life.  Working with Schuler and other artists, Bruce discovered a joy that he thought was gone forever. 

     Artists such as Rosemary Millete, Terry Redlin and Jerry Gadamus continue to inspire Dellinger as he strives to deliver the essence of perfection in outdoor themes and wildlife.  Limited to a flat surface with pencil in place, Bruce works in 15-minute intervals sometimes having to twist and place the paper in different positions in order to work on details, curves and figures.  “King of the Hill” was one such drawing where some of the work was actually done upside down.

     When admirers of Dellinger’s work see pieces such as “The Old Anderson Place, personal memories emerge, taking them to a quiet, happier time.  This is the type of reaction that Bruce is thrilled to see. 

     “I want to be able to give back to a caring community while having a sense of solitude and pleasure,” says Dellinger.  “Artwork literally fell into my lap and I’m glad it did.”

“King of the Hill”

     Bruce has a BS in Psychology and a minor in Special Education.  He has given lectures to area schools and clubs but his real passion is witnessing nature, capturing its essence and putting to paper.  He donates prints each year to different organizations and is a member of various wildlife and nature organizations. 

     His philosophy is simple and to the point.  “Keep on truckin’ and go as far as you can go.  Always be passionate in your work and remember that your greatest gift is giving to others.  I want others to be able to sense the spirit of nature and really watch how wildlife moves. Evoking emotion and having scenes jump off the page is my ultimate goal.”

     Visit Bruce Dellinger’s website at www.brucedellinger.com for more information on ordering prints or scheduling original work.  Dellinger resides with his family and two cats in the beautiful hills of Virginia where he continues his goal to be the best wildlife and nature artist possible. 

     Dellinger has never used his unusual method of painting as a sensation but has let his work stand on its own merit.  The refusal to be weak and unyielding in his passion of natural beauty is finally paying off.  Follow this emerging artist closely as he begins to make headlines.

Editor’s note: For the print version, see www.scribd.com/arttoartpalette

Published by on December 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Cover Section, Paint Box Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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