An Artist, an Influence

“Spring” by Lyle Lamont.

Shortly before my planned retirement in 2006, my wife met a friendly woman named Barb, who had happened to see some of my early acrylic paintings and liked my use of color. Barb suggested that I contact her husband, Bob, who was also a Door County artist and had a studio near Ellison Bay. When Nancy told me his name was Bob Bentley, she was unaware that I had just seen and fallen in love with Bob’s landscapes on exhibit at a local gallery.

Completely out of character, I did contact Bob and soon after visited with him. His warm reception and obvious love of painting, and its history, paved the way for my first attempts at painting in oils. Throughout the winter, we painted together in his studio, which necessitated slippery commutes from my home in the Chicago area, where I was the National Creative Advertising Director for Walgreens Drug Stores. Truthfully, most of the sessions consisted of me gawking and studying Bob’s incredible technique and marveling at his wonderful portraits. He also shared his businesslike approach as the snow swirled outside the window.

Unfortunately, our paths seldom cross these days, as each of us maintain a full-time art gallery, but I will always admire Bob Bentley’s willingness to spend time with an artist with a lot of desire and some talent, but little technical knowledge of working in oils. I’m also grateful that my wife encouraged me to make that first phone call to Bob, because it changed the course of my life.

Lyle Lamont is the owner and resident artist of Red Door Gallery, which is located at 3050 Cedar Street in Ephraim. For more information, call 920.854.9812 or visit

The Peninsula Pulse has partnered with the Hardy Gallery to present the series, “An Artist, an Influence.” For more information about the Hardy, please call 920.854.2210, email [email protected], or visit