Three dimensional portraits by Penn Valley artist on exhibit in Tahoe City |

Three dimensional portraits by Penn Valley artist on exhibit in Tahoe City

Submitted to The Union

A two-dimensional image of one of Gordon Pelton's pieces. It is titled “Woman in Gown” and its dimensions are 18” x 36” x 5”.

Penn Valley resident Gordon Pelton, a portrait artist, has been experimenting with ways to produce portraits in three dimensions.

When a portrait artist paints on canvas, whether it be in oil, acrylic or watercolor, the result is a two-dimensional representation of what is actually a three-dimensional subject. Recently, Pelton developed a technique for adding the third dimension to his portraits — creating novel works of art.

Pelton creates a face or other object in three dimensions by adding a third dimension to a two-dimensional plywood panel. The extra dimension is accomplished using conventional sheetrock screws, screws that are ordinarily used in homebuilding.

Screws are perfect for the third dimension because they can be adjusted to different heights using a screwdriver.

Once each of the 2,000 to 3,000 screws in Pelton's portraits is in the panel and each has been adjusted to the correct height, he paints the flat head of each screw to finish the portrait. Gordon individually paints the head of each screw but he says it's not hard and "… anyway, that's the fun part."

In the past several years, Pelton has won numerous blue ribbons for his art, including one for Best in Show and three that have been awarded for his three-dimensional portraits. He and his wife live in Penn Valley, where he works every day on his art. Those in the area who would like to visit Pelton's studio can call 530-432-8414 for an appointment.

Recommended Stories For You

View images of all of Pelton's art at

Four of Pelton's three-dimensional portraits (Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson and a colorful clown) are on exhibit and for sale at the James Harold Galleries in Tahoe City at Lake Tahoe.

Visit the gallery in the Boatworks Mall at 760 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA 96145.

Go back to article