The Gump Gallery Studio of Fine Art in Fairview is worth a visit.
Tim Gump’s great-grandmother, Edna Yost Haught, was the first to show him what a true artist could be. She painted, played piano, crocheted, and quilted, and, as a child, Gump couldn’t get enough. He dabbled in a few of these skills with her guidance, but what stuck with him were the oil paintings she skillfully created. “The funny thing is, I never ever once saw her stand at the easel and paint,” he says. “But you know, I’d always see her easel out, and knew she was painting. It showed me another part of life.”
As a child, he loved mixing colors and creating paintings, and always did it in his free time. Even as he made a career as an electrical engineer and teacher at a vocational school, art was still on his mind. And through the years, he did commissioned work of flowers, wildlife, portraits—anything his friends or clients requested. “I didn’t really specialize in anything,” he says. “I tried to be diverse in my skills.”
Now, he’s turned that wide-ranging skill set into his full-time venture with Gump Gallery Studio of Fine Art. He not only sells original pieces to collectors, but he also continues his commissions and offers more affordable pieces to anyone who’d like a print of his work to hang in their home. Not long ago, he says, he painted a portrait of a couple to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
When he’s not doing commissions, what he truly loves to paint is Western landscapes and scenes of Native Americans. “I just love the Native American culture and their way of life and their beliefs,” he says. “I might be fishing and, when I’m at that stream fishing, I can just picture 150 years ago, there was a Native American walking across that stream trying to catch fish.” That vision of the past inspires him, as do the visits he and his wife pay to Native American reservations across the country. Gump loves to speak with Native Americans about their histories and cultures and even pays interested folks a modeling fee to pose in reference photos that he will later use for paintings.
Gump is enamored with the Western states, but also finds himself focusing more lately on the scenes of West Virginia. “It’s the down home vibe, the earthiness, that way of life that it seems like West Virginians have. What they’ve come from and what they started with. And it kind of intrigues me.”
Looking to the future, Gump hopes to take on a project for his little town of Fairview, West Virginia. He wants to remember the town figures he knew when he was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s—the people who made the town what it is today—and he wants to sketch portraits of them to hang in various establishments around Fairview. He wants his neighbors to be able to pop into the post office, the local diner, or the library, and say, “Oh, I remember them.” “They had true character and good morals,” he says. “They really impressed upon me things that relate to me today.”
Gump is no stranger to portraits watching over him. A portrait of his original inspiration, his great-grandmother Edna, hangs in his studio and watches him while he works. He even has some of the paints and brushes she used decades ago on that easel he saw as a child sitting not too far from the ones he’s collected himself. “She’s still giving me inspiration every day,” he says.
READ MORE ARTICLES FROM WV LIVING’S FALL 2022 ISSUE
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