Zach Claxton is a self-taught artist. As a youth, he was interested in oil painting and completed some landscapes that exhibited a talent for the medium. But college, military service, graduate school and a 35-year banking career left little time for him to develop his talent. After retirement, he and his wife, Peggy, moved permanently from Atlanta to Highlands, North Carolina.
It was his daughter, an amateur artist living in Seattle, who got him interested again. While visiting her in 2008, she urged him to try his hand at a painting while he was there. It was his first painting in more than forty years, and that first effort was encouraging enough for him to invest in a few basic supplies. Upon his return to Highlands he found himself drawn to the easel.
He painted strictly for his personal enjoyment, and it came as a surprise to him when people who saw his work offered to buy it. "I paint because I love to paint," he says. "It is doubly rewarding to have people want to own what I do." Interest in his paintings has grown steadily, both for his finished work and commissioned paintings.
His subject matter is varied, often landscapes and waterscapes inspired by scenery and wildlife from around western North Carolina and things that caught his eye during various trips outside the area. Working exclusively in oil, his style offers representative detail while leaving room for the viewer's imagination to add final touches.
When he is not painting, you are likely to find him volunteering as a math tutor at the Literacy Council or administering the Highlands GED program.