Scott Coulter set up his booth at this year’s 53rd Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts (GFA) just as he’s done every year for the past 25 years. Only this year, he won his first award and it was top honors—Best of Show.
“Festival jurors at shows like GFA typically select more contemporary work, and it’s unusual for a realistic painter like me to win here. I’m very happy to have been selected,” said Coulter.
Coulter took home a $15,000 Best of Show prize for his five-foot by six-foot acrylic on canvas work entitled “Composed of Stone and Wishful Thinking.” It captures the stillness of a crystal-clear lake framed by Rocky Mountain peaks and pine forests.
Born and raised in the Credit River Valley of Ontario, Canada, Coulter and his wife Pamela Fox (also a fine artist) now live in Sarasota in the winter and spend their summers in Minnesota when they’re not traveling to art festivals throughout the United States.
He draws upon the six years he lived in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and 22 years he spent in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York for his inspiration. Coulter has a unique style that results in a three-dimensional quality that draws the viewer into the painting. His works, just like the landscapes he portrays, are large in size and have an incredible depth rarely achieved by brush work alone. The paintings themselves are impressionistic but appear hyper-realistic when viewed from a distance.
“I don’t use any projectors or airbrushes or digital assistance of any kind, it’s just me and perhaps some photos for reference and my paints and brushes,” said Coulter.
“Many of our artists know and respect Scott,” said Diane Buckley-Altwies, Board president for GFA. “we were all so happy for his win.”
Coulter has won many other highly regarded Festivals, including top prizes he won at the last two Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado. His wife is also a well-known jewelry designer who won the Mayor’s Award at the 2021 Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.