From highly detailed birds to bright acrylic bears to stylized art deco posters, Ron Speed allows his imagination to range freely into any subject that interests him. More than 50 of Ron’s paintings fill the east wall of the Sparrows Gallery on Main Street in Denison.
As the featured artist for the recent “Admire, Walk & Wine” event in Denison, many guests had the opportunity to see the versatile styles of the local painter.
As a very successful graphic designer for many years with his own advertising agency, Ron Speed has only in recent years turned his attention to fine art paintings. Many of them are acrylic paintings on watercolor paper.
“It allows me to share my inner most feelings and make an image available for people to see,” Speed said about wanting to share his paintings.
Speed developed a love of nature during his boyhood years with time spent on his grandparents’ property. He remembers sketching birds and camping out at night by himself.
Speed speaks with fondness of the confidence his parents instilled in him.
“I could do anything I could muster the will power to do,” he said.
Sales skills started early. Young enterprising Speed had a lemonade stand and also sold pecans. He even sold insect collections for $25 apiece to fellow students who didn’t want to touch bugs.
His teacher put an end to that in short order.
Speed’s graphic design skills started to surface as early as third grade when he remembers designing sport books for the eighth and ninth graders. Speed continued to design student directories at Sherman High School and took a part time job with an ad agency. As an apprentice or understudy, Speed learned how to use a ruler and other tools. The Army and college rounded out Speed’s experience and preparation for his very successful career in advertising.
Speed learned the importance of confidentiality while working in advertising. Especially when you have several clients in the same field of business, the advertiser needs to learn what makes that business “uniquely different.”
Very gratifying was his ability to identify the target audience and bring truth and authenticity to the product in a believable fashion with just the right images for successful advertising.
Speed describes one of his favorite success stories.
“I designed a Lifesaver roll, carefully cut colors in layers with coins spilling out of the top,” he said. “The bank liked the idea so much that they had Lifesaver banks made to give away at their branch.“
Even though Speed did not have formal training as an artist, he recognizes the skills he learned in advertising help to bring truth and authenticity to his paintings.
His attention to detail is especially visible in Speed’s bird paintings. Two of his most recent and favorite paintings are “Santa Fe Runner” and “Transition.”
In describing how he picks a subject to paint, Speed says he has a slideshow in his brain. Through that process Ron makes his selection. He hasn’t found a studio space and is eager to put all these ideas down on paper.
“I want to paint at least 100 paintings,” he said. “When I see an interesting person, I want to paint them. It is through my paintings that I best express myself. I want others to see what I see.”
Always learning, Ron would like to learn how to paint with oils.
Visit the art of Ron Speed at Sparrows Gallery at 124 West Main Street, Denison. For more information, call 903-337-0708.