Here in southwestern Utah water is always an issue… More-so right now than usual. We depend very much on the springtime snow-melt from the nearby mountains, and our water table is quite low right now due to all the water used for fighting the big Brian Head Fire this past June. We haven’t had a flake of snow yet this year, nor have even the tallest mountains in the region., and people here are becoming quite concerned, if not downright worried.
Last month I mentioned that I painted an abstract piece resembling “the surface of Pluto”. Well, it’s seeming to me, more and more, to be resembling the sun-dried mud of an arid desert, chipped and parched. The title is simply “Surface”.
Meanwhile, the boggy bogs of coastal Louisiana, a place that’s mostly water, have been calling – For painting, that is! Actually, a friend of mine who’s originally from Louisiana (and who commissioned me to paint the state a few months ago)
asked me to paint a bigger piece for him, focusing on the
interplay between the Gulf of Mexico and coastal land.
“Louisiana III” is the result. As per his request, some areas of very high paint relief / texture are incorporated into the work, but in a twist of artistic irony I had the rough areas limited to the normally tranquil water of Calcasieu Lake, the shape of which I repeated eleven times.
Waves and currents in The Gulf followed, and Louisiana’s state flower, the magnolia, seemed to be an obvious central shape.
I don’t know if these photos show the additional “implied depth” of the Gulf waters but, as is becoming my standard method, different lighting and viewing angles create a sense of rolling serf and active swells.
I’m toying with ideas for painting The Great Lakes next… Water Water Everywhere !
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU !
For the past month my “linear” painting method, i.e. coming up with an idea and following through with it until I’m finished, has given way to “starting up and mopping up”: I’ve generally been finishing pieces begun long ago or coming up with new ideas and just getting them sketched on paper before another new idea pops up. But then, inspiration cannot be forced or doled out in a regular fashion, so an artist must take advantage of “high yield” times to compensate for the inevitable “dry spells”. This results in a far better end-product as well.
The two-panel painting of Anacapa Island, which I’d started a couple of months ago, was finally completed a few weeks back, and is shown here flanked by two of my older pieces, “Mozambique Channel” and “Au Au”.
Last month I began a painting at the Southern Utah University S.T.E.A.M.fest simply entitled “Idaho”, and finally finished it a couple of weeks ago.
An idea for a follow-up piece entered my head and what began as a doodle on graph paper is well on its way to becoming a big painting. (Just how big, I don’t know, but big.)
Finally, I have been commissioned, by the same gentleman who purchased the little painting of Louisiana that I painted at the S.T.E.A.M.fest, to paint a BIG piece of some detail of the Gulf Coast, and to make it quite psychedelic.
Well, just south of the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana, is a bayou/lake/lagoon which, when repeated many times over, is inherently “groovy”. The color scheme is not entirely set yet, as are a few minor aspects of the general layout, but you can see the general evolution of the piece –
And, as seems to be normal now… Crystal Peak and Wheeler Peak from Sevier Lake again… One of these days I’ll get it jjjuuusssttt right, and you can see that I’m getting closer.
I also began to dabble into pure abstraction earlier this month, with the result looking somewhat like the surface of Pluto, but that’s for another post.
For folks in the United States, have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
For those folks in the Southern Hemisphere, ain’t late spring just great?
And may you, personally, stay safe and happy!
Just over a week ago, while recovering from surgery, I received an invitation to participate in Southern Utah University’s annual S.T.E.M. festival, which highlights Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This year they added “arts” to the acronym. As it turns out, I was the only artist there, and the 3500-or-so k-8 schoolkids who attended over the event’s two days seemed both tickled and mystified by my technique.
On such short notice, in my rather “loopy” state of mind, I managed to
make a display of my general technique.
Over the course of the event I managed to start four paintings and essentially finish two of them, though they require a bit of touching up in the quiet of my studio, “Dancing Cubas” and “Louisiana II”
Meanwhile, “Sevier Lake Again” and “Idaho” are still in their starting phases.
Once each piece is finished I’ll put ’em on jfwoa.com for you and everybody to see!
Happy Halloween and everything else!
I’ll be doing another live demo on Friday, September 29, in front of the Stone Path Massage and Energy Center here in downtown Cedar City.
It’s the last “Final Friday” of this year’s Cedar City Art Walk, so don’t miss it! As I’ve written before, summer here in Cedar City, Utah, is about six months long, so a nice evening in the upper seventies is in order, but in late September the wind picks up, especially around sunset, so I might have to move from the sidewalk to the porch, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Many of my paintings are still on display inside Stone Path, so feel free to come on in and browse and have some wonderful free refreshments too!
A Picture-Perfect Province
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is home to both its smallest province, Prince Edward Island, a.k.a. “P.E.I.” (in its entirety), and its biggest, Quebec (or at least some of its shoreline and a few islands). While not a terribly picturesque shape by itself, P.E.I. when paired with with the nearby Quebecois “Ile Madeleine”, makes a very dramatic and organic form of implied-line beyond its shores, and a little geometric repetition makes an intriguing shape.
An unrushed, organic growth of color was only proper for the organic shape, and over the course of a few days the composition took on a life of its own, happily disconnected from any sort of ridged deliberateness.
This (poorly-lit, sorry) photo of the finished piece was taken wile the paint was still drying. 24″x24″ on 1.5″-deep “gallery wrap” canvas.
(It’s destined for a black “floater frame”)
A Local Lake
Miraculously spared by the huge “Brian Head Fire” of June, Panguich Lake and its unusual shoreline inlet area, deserves a little graphic adoration.
In contrast to all my previous work, I decided to use a linen canvas and to use the shapes of Art Deco as my theme, while arranging them using my 21st-century style.
First, a double-mirroring if the lake shore itself was made.
Then some vine-like structure was added.
Finally, some leaf-ish shapes and swoopy border decoration was added.
A friend tells me that it looks like Nineteenth-century wallpaper. Well, that’s not exactly what I was trying to achieve, but it’s really not very far from it! The “down-to-earth” effect,plus a combination of both axial and rotational symmetries is clear, and THAT is what I was trying to convey. 18″x24″ on linen canvas.
A Little Fond Farewell
A casual friend of mine had to move suddenly. Her husband accepted a position in a city on the other side of the country. The thing is, she’s from the other side of the world, Japan to be precise. Actually, her hometown is a village on the northern end of the island of Honshu, and she is quite familiar with the island of Hokkaido. While I’ll list the painting as “sold”, I gifted her “Hokkaido Camilia”, which she had seen on jfwoa.com and actually told some of her friends about. She thanked me in Japanese. I’m going to miss you, Kaz!
DON’T MISS MY LAST LIVE PAINTING DEMONSTRATION OF THE YEAR — The weather here is still great so come on and enjoy the unique wealth of beauty that is southwest Utah! I’d love to chat and give some insider travel tips!
COME SEE ME PAINT LIVE! I’ll be doing a demo on Friday, 28 July, in front of the Stone Path Massage and Energy Center, downtown Cedar City, Utah.
What can I say ‘cept “it’s been a bad month”?
A physical injury, followed by a death in the family, followed by a car crash (I’m OK but the car is now scrap metal) put a partial damper on my artistic endeavors this past month, although by no means stopped them.
Anacapa Island – Surf’s Up !
Before tragedy struck, I’d bought some new paints and canvasses. With my upcoming demonstrations in mind, I decided to stop in mid-progress and will finish this/these “on the sidewalk” as it were: I’ll have only three hours to paint for the public, so finishing something already in progress would seem to be proper approach. These are the two halves of one piece, “Anacapa Island”, the least-visited of California‘s “Channel Islands”. (I featured sketches in my previous newsletter.) I think that wave crests and ocean currents will complete the work. Feel free to watch me work on Friday,28 July , from 5PM to 8PM in front of the Stone Path Massage and Energy Center on Center Street here in Cedar City.
The “Brian Head Fire”
While the village of Brian Head itself was , thankfully, spared, the biggest biggest wildfire in America raged for about three weeks straight, only twenty miles from here. As of mid-July some remnants are still burning. The scale of the smoke plume was hard to capture in a picture, but this photo, which I took on 23 June, does a fair job. (I think that it looks like a small atomic bomb was dropped there!) While the subject of the photo is tragic in nature, the image is pretty stunning.
Baja – Rainbow Peninsula
During my sidewalk demo in June I started this two-panel piece. During the allotted time I was able to make an eye-catching composition, but TOO eye-catching! Over the past couple of weeks I managed to both calm it down and evolve it into a true composition. The only analysis I’ll give is that while the poster-like colors give it a very “pop” initial feel, there are enough subtleties integrated into it that it’s worthy of display. (And, of course, it’s not a reference tool, so the two panels can be arranged for any aesthetic.)
Crystal & Wheeler Peaks
Also before things went sour for me, I trekked up to the shore of Sevier Lake again. I’m still chasing that “photo-op” of Crystal Peak at sunrise, glowing bright pink, with Wheeler Peak directly behind it. This time around I got the perspective just right, but while not genuinely overcast, the colors were not nearly as bright as they could have been. I guess I’ll just try again.
Again, my paintings are on display at the Stone Path Massage and Energy Center, and will be through the end of September, so if you’re in town (possibly for the Shakespear Festival or on your way to Bryce Canyon or Zion National Parks), stop in and take a look. I’ll be giving a demo outside on the final Friday of June, July, August, and September there, too, painting and signing prints, as part of the 2017 Cedar City Art Walk.
Stop on by – I’d LOVE to see you!