Matthew J. Cutter: Practice as Teacher

NOAPS Cutter StandingTall_28x24_Acrylic&Oil_CollectionOfArtist

“Standing Tall” 28×24, Acrylic and Oil, Collection of the Artist, winner of an Award of Excellence in the 2017 NOAPS Spring Online International.

Let’s stop for a moment on our walk in the park and greet these old soldiers of the woods.  Still standing tall and enjoying a sunny day, they beckon us to do the same.  Matthew Cutter has given us a glimpse into a scene that makes us want to stand on the ground he has given us and feel the warmth of the day, smell the scent of the earth, and contemplate the beauty before us.  He has done this with a deft hand; the light draws us in, and the composition leads us from light to shadow, up to the complex branches and back down to earth.  Nature’s glory at her best.

NOAPS Cutter Transition 16x20  “Transition”, 16×20, Collection of the Artist.  This painting has been accepted into the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.

Matthew Cutter has become a distinctive artist.  His love of painting began early, only to be put on the back burner until after college where he studied business and economics.   It wasn’t until a circuitous path led him and his family to open first an emporium of sorts in Florida, which later became an art gallery, that he began to seriously paint.  Although Matthew didn’t attend art school, as many artists would say, it is the practice that has made him successful: “There is no doubt having a platform of knowledge gives a great foundation to build on, but I truly believe it is the relentless pursuit of putting that knowledge into practice that provides growth for an artist.”

NOAPS Cutter LemonsApplesAndPitcher_16x20_Oil_PrivateCollection  “Lemons Apples and Pitcher” 16×20, Oil, Private Collection

Of the workshops Matthew has taken, his time with Scott Chistensen had the greatest impact.  Scott drove home the importance of practice; that every painting need not end up a masterpiece, that the study is where the growth happens.  Preparation for your work, and putting thought into the painting is key for Matthew.  He is also inspired by artists of the past: Soren Emil Carlsen, Isaak Levitan, and Willard L. Metcalf are some of his favorites.

NOAPS Cutter Cascading_15x22.5_Acrylic_PrivateCollection  “Cascading”, 15×22.5, Acrylic, Private Collection

Landscape paintings tend to garner most of Matt’s artistic expression, although he paints still life, cityscapes, seascapes and portraits equally well.  His inspiration can stem from patterns of light and shadow, the rhythm of the shapes, the atmosphere, or something from his imagination.  He paints mostly in oil, but finds the properties of acrylic to suit his style as well.  In pieces where he uses both mediums, he starts the painting by blocking in with acrylic, and finishing in oil.  Matt’s materials vary, but usually his palette consists of titanium white, cadmium yellow light, yellow ochre, cadmium red light, permanent alizarin, permanent mauve, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, viridian, sap green, burnt sienna, and ivory black.  He may work on stretched linen, a linen board, a birch panel, or a gessoed surface such as ACM (aluminum composite material).  His brushes are both sables and hog bristle, mostly by Rosemary & C0.

NOAPS Cutter TheGlacier'sPath_InProgress_1  NOAPS Cutter thumbnail_TheGlacier'sPath_InProgress_2  NOAPS Cutter thumbnail_TheGlacier'sPath_InProgress_3  NOAPS Cutter TheGlacier'sPath_Completed

“Glacier’s Path” in progress

Although Matt’s days are spent doing the business of the gallery, he finds time to paint at night after spending family time or on weekends when he escapes to paint en plein air. To begin his painting sessions in the studio, he critiques his work in progress, and decides what is best for the painting.  He sometimes uses thumbnails, and at times jumps right to the painting.  The painting may start with a drawing in paint, or with a color block in.  He may use photo reference, or create something in the painting from his imagination.  He finds painting from life a critical part of his painting process, and often uses his plein air studies for reference as well.

NOAPS Cutter LightAndShadow_60x60_Oil_CollectionOfArtist  “Light and Shadow”, Oil, 60×60, Collection of the Artist

Matt sites balancing work, a family and painting as a huge accomplishment.  A turning point in his artistic career came when he was accepted into a non-member show at the Salmagundi Club in New York City, where his painting won the President’s Award.  As Matt states: “It was a huge confidence boost.”

Matt’s insight into the life of an artist can actually span all areas of endeavor: “If you want to be an artist, rid yourself of the notion that some are born with an inherent talent.  Be a grinder.  Be willing to fail.  Work harder than you thought possible.  Emile Zola said, ‘The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without hard work.'”

Matthew Cutter is represented by Cutter and Cutter Fine Art, one location in St. Augustine, Florida, and one in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

His work can also be seen at “ArtPrize” at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20-October 8, 2017 and at the NOAPS Best of America Exhibit at the Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana from October 16-November 11, 2017.

To see more of Matt’s work online, visit his website at

To view more of the NOAPS Spring Online International and the Best of America Exhibit, visit, or see us on Facebook or Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety)


Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director




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