In 1995 Ron Gianola and wife Pam Yee moved from Detroit to a home along the Platte River in Honor with a plan: They would live Up North, and he would work full time as an engineering design consultant. In his spare time he’d paint the glorious landscapes that surrounded him.
As time passed, the once-abundant design work started flowing overseas to China, and accolades for Gianola’s paintings started coming in. Embracing the philosophy that everything happens for a good reason, Gianola went after his avocation full tilt, and he has watched his style and subject matter evolve from highly textured impressionistic oil landscapes to brilliantly hued abstracted interiors.
"It’s kind of like the music I’m attracted to. That’s what jazz is. It’s an abstraction based on a structure, the chords and the melody. So why can’t you do that with painting?" says Gianola, an R&B and soul drummer who has a set of skins in the middle of his art studio for when musical inspiration hits. His influences range from Monet to Richard Diebenkorn and Hans Hoffman, but Gianola definitely has found his own voice – smooth and mellow, just like Northern Michigan. Gianola’s work is at Belstone Gallery in Traverse City and on paintingsdirect.com
Patty LaNoue Stearns is a freelancer based in Traverse City, Michigan.pattywrites.com
This article was first published in April 2005, and was updated for the web February 2008.