Leaving behind 23 years in a fast-paced career on Wall Street, Kurt Giehl finds quiet in his studied painting practice.
After relocating from his Hamptons home for the winter, Giehl set up shop in the studio at Allmost. A relatively new career painter, Giehl has been painting professionally for two years as of April 9th. In a past life, he worked at JP Morgan in Investment Banking, this was a manic and fast paced life. It was a good, stable career that he was never fully in love with. In leaving this behind, Giehl realized that he wanted to create a tangible, positive legacy.
His work draws inspiration from the serenity of the ocean that he and his husband explore by boat near their home in the Hamptons. Giehl's paintings capture the shocking stillness and unique color pallets of the bays, inlets, and waves of his Atlantic home. His pieces are studied, but still expressive; embodying the middle ground he's found between his past and present. Giehl's once linear pieces have evolved into dreamlike seascapes. Relaxing and surreal and at a distance.
To work best, Giehl needs a good night's sleep. He prefers to paint in the morning and during the day, finding that structure feeds his creativity. He finds he's most productive with a regular routine, and a reason to leave the house, go to the studio, get lunch, and return to painting. He prefers to keep his paints neat and organized while working.
Even though he has now graduated to oil, Giehl still starts his pieces with an acrylic base. From there he creates a heavy oil layer and works on blending. He regularly uses brayers for heavier paint application, switching to brushes and back again from layer to layer. From there, Giehl uses a varnish to seal in the pigment. His meticulous eye can make it challenging to know when a painting is finished, often working on one piece in multiple steps before it is finished. Sometimes, if a painting isn’t going how Giehl envisioned it, he’ll experiment with new tools, colors, and techniques. In bouts of creativity it can be hard to remember exact minutia, so he’ll try to record the process of his experimentation or colors used in a piece. He photographs his work, highlighting what is successful and what could be improved.
Leaving his work space is essential for Giehl. Working from his studio at Allmost allows a separation from outside life and it’s distractions, and requires leaving painting behind when he leaves the studio. Instead of pausing for miscellaneous household responsibilities, he is able to dedicate himself completely to painting while in Studio 203.
When he began his career as an artist 2 years ago, Giehl established a basic timeline of goals. Achieving his 1st and 2nd year goals, Giehl only continues to grow as an artist. From Giehl’s business background, evolving as an artist means setting goals and growing toward achieving them.
Kurt and his husband moved to Los Angeles for the winter and plan on returning home to New York in June. Before they leave, Exhibit A Gallery will be holding his first ever solo show, showcasing 19 pieces that were created during his time on the West Coast.
Kurt Giehl’s upcoming solo show Sea & Sky opens at Exhibit A Gallery on Fairfax May 5th.