Feb/March 2020 - M. Douglas Walton:

Art of the Heart


Come experience a showcase that defies classification - Artist, Designer, Architect, Edgar Whitney Protege...


M. Douglas Walton


Opening reception Februrary 7th at 5PM

As a child, the artist M. Douglas Walton suffered from a speech disorder that made it impossible for him to pronounce consonants. Faced with the casual brutality that only other children can inflict upon a “different” child, Walton sought safety in silence; he did not speak for fourteen years. “I had no friends, no acquaintances. In school I never went on recess,” he said—his diction still showing traces of one used to communicating in ways that don’t involve speaking. “I lived in a world of my own; it was everyone else who lived in a false, superficial world.”


Of course, Walton did eventually learn to speak, when his parents moved the family to Wichita, Kansas, so their child could attend an institute that specialized in speech disorders. But the artist remembers being content in his silent world. “As a child I developed a strong observational capacity,” he recalled. “I saw the minutest detail and beauty that was everywhere. Once I did learn to speak, the bigger problem became, what do you say?”


The answer, improbably, turned out to lie behind the teacher’s podium. After university he moved to Shreveport, where he worked as an architect until two critical events took place. The first was that he took a painting class with the master watercolorist Edgar Whitney. The second came in 1972, when Walton was offered a position as an assistant professor of architecture at Louisiana Tech, where to his surprise, he discovered that he was born to teach. Something in the act of teaching opened a new conduit to expression, and the words Walton struggled to articulate in daily life flowed freely. “When I was teaching I could simply speak and the words came,” he said. “The Balinese believe that if you’re open then the universal energy comes in. Then you can be highly creative and able to speak on a high level, because words are not conscious words, but form in the subconscious. From then on I concentrated on teaching, rather than just painting.”


For forty years Walton has taught artists to see the world differently, leading small groups on international trips in search of artistic inspiration. Typically his pupils are people in their fifties through their seventies, whom he thinks are more receptive to the notion of an unseen world beyond that which is immediately apparent. How can Walton tell if an artist is a candidate for this kind of painting? “If they comment on that which others would never notice. If they pause to pick up a leaf, or notice a shadow, or comment on the cloud relationships, then they’re ready,” he said. “In Bali, people are born into that.”


That outlook of seeing something unseen comes to life in his newest series - The Art of the Heart.


From expansive scale and bold colors expressing a hard to describe energy that quickly elicits reaction from the viewer, without the public always having pre-knowledge or expectations. In The Art of the Heart, M Douglas Walton explores the beauty beyond that of the physical world - both romantic and emotion stirring, come and experience this fantastic new showcase!


Article Adapted from: Country Roads March 2018 issue