Banker’s passion for painting brings history to life

Walk into the lobby of one of the local banks on any given day and chances are, you’ll see Terry Keltz, an officer at the Brady National Bank, crunching numbers, detailing loan histories or something related to the day-to-day operations of a modern day financial institution. Lurking behind the number-crunching mind that sits behind a office desk, is a creative genius lurking in the shadows. Pen and ink, delicate charcoal, oils and acrylics and even bronze sculptures are all tools of the trade that are the integral part of the passion that emerges when Keltz lets his hobbies of painting and sculpting come to life. Introduced to the art world by his mother at a young age, Keltz has always had a finger delicately placed in the middle of the creative side of his personality. His mother, an accomplished artist herself, was personal friends with many of the staff members in the Art Department at Texas Tech University. “I was able to be around those individuals in social settings many times during my grade school and high school days,” recalled Keltz. His sketching and painting in those early adolescent years as a hobby blossomed into a pastime that soon became his favorite thing to do. It all begins with a thought. From there, a thumbnail sketch, about one by two inches in size lends its way to an 8×10 sketch that may undergo several modifications before being transferred to canvas. It was in the most ironic of all places’the war-torn jungles of Vietnam’where he began to sketch a landscape to preserve a place and moment in time. “I remember sketching a landscape with pen and ink to record the beauty that I saw in that part of the country,” said Keltz. “It was about that time that I decided that when I got out of the Army, I would somehow incorporate art into what I wanted to do with my life.” He attended Wayland Baptist University in Plainview where he received a B.S. in biological science and a minor in art in 1974. In 1975 he began painting with a fervent desire and started attending art shows where he would sell his art and meet and converse with other artists. Each artist creates and develops his or her own style and strives to perfect their abilities using that style. Growing up near the historic Matador Ranch in the foothills of Motley County, Keltz’s eyes and style focused on the southwest and the people and places that make up its history. “Where I grew up, there are many wooden windmill towers throughout the countryside. I began to notice that the old wooden ones were gradually being replaced by metal ones. I started photographing as many as I could find. The more I studied them, the more I realized that there was a unique history in the design and construction of each one,” said Keltz. While studying and developing his own style, he enrolled in private classes put on by many of the most well-known artists in the business. He studied under the likes of people like Howard Terpning, Roy Anderson, Dalhart Windberg, Tom Browning, Howard Carr and John Meyers. “I once asked Dalhart Windberg what he felt was the premier component necessary for a painter to become successful,” said Keltz. “Expecting a lengthy expository response from this great artist, I was somewhat surprised when he smiled and laughingly said, ‘Paint good paintings!’ This simple but profound statement has become my goal as a painter and keeps me challenged to strive for excellence.” Working alongside an established professional gave Keltz a chance to have someone look at his work and provide insight that he may not otherwise have seen. Citing his original influences as the early American landscape painters, his style is mostly landscapes and people that represent the era of the buffalo people. “College taught me the basics, but working one-on-one with these established artists allowed me to enhance my own style,” he said. “The last three teachers I studied under all gave me the same advice’go home, get some students for myself and teach them everything I know. Each of them told me that when they began to give away their knowledge of painting to others, that allowed them to grow even more in their own abilities.” While working on his own style, Keltz went back to college at his alma mater and obtained an MBA in 1984. From there, entered the business world where he worked using his accounting and financial experience. Prior to coming to Brady, he worked for a major church and school system and also several banks in Lockney and Plainview. Now, as Senior Vice President and CFO of Brady National Bank since last September, he spends his days keeping things in line at one of Brady’s banking institutions. He is quick to say, however, that painting and sculpting are his real passion. While in Slaton, he bought and renovated an old movie theater and made it into his studio and gallery. He ultimately gave it up because he said that it was taking too much time away from his painting. Here in Brady, he will set up his studio in his home. “Art is literally my passion,” said Keltz. “Whether its creating my own or observing others, it is what I love to do. If I go hunting, it’s usually not very long before I put down the rifle and pick up my sketch book. Art is what I really love to do. If I have any spare time at all, I think about creating another piece.” Art also comes to life in three dimensional form when Keltz pulls out his sculpting tools and creates what will ultimately become a bronze sculpture. One of his favorite pieces stemmed from a dress-up act his daughter used to do as a child where she would put on daddy’s cowboy boots and hat and parade around the house with her stuffed animals tucked neatly under he arms. Bronze sculptures give Keltz a chance to explore a different and more complex side of creativity. Painting is two dimensional made to look three dimensional. Bronze sculptures are three dimensions from top to bottom. And although he enjoys sculpting, he admits that his time is heavily favored toward painting. “My goal is to someday have my art draw me into full time work, whether it be painting or teaching,” he said. “I got out of the business of actually selling my work myself and let a gallery in Lubbock do that for me. I produce pieces at about the same rate that they sell them. It works out nicely and it has since around 1994. “I was at an art show selling my pieces when Joe Muze, an art seller, came up to me and told me how horrible I was at selling my own art. He was right, I hated selling my own work!” His works have since been featured in galleries in Lubbock, Santa Fe, New Mexico and also Taos, New Mexico. Plans are in the making to become represented at a gallery in Fredericksburg.

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