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!
Come see my art – It’s on display!
I’m very proud to be a participant in this year’s Cedar City Art Walk.
The 2017 Art Walk has been extended through September, so much of my art will be on display for four months straight (June through September, plus a couple weeks prior) at Stone Path Massage & Energy Center here in Cedar City. I’ll be giving a demonstration of my painting method there on the final Friday of each month (June 30, July 28, August 25, and September 25).
The 2017 Cedar City Art Walk coincides with the annual Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Stone Path is located on Center Street (University Blvd.) directly across the street from Randall Theater, a superb, slightly bigger, reconstruction of The Globe Theater. In other words, each is “conveniently located” near the other. Incedentally, Stone Path is midway between S.U.M.A. (Southern Utah Art Museum, at Southern Utah University, and the Artisan’s Gallery, both hubs of activity on Final Fridays – A prominent location!
So come to the most scenic area in the U.S.A. – The arts are all around you in town, enjoy world-class and world-renowned performances of classic Shakespeare plays, visit any of the five National Parks just a day-trip from here, and stop in to Stone Path Massage & Energy Center to see my paintings on display!
Two very different islands with the same name…
“Necker” is the name shared by two islands half a world away, one in Hawaii’s “leeward islands”, the other in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea.
I’d been sketching ideas for a painting of the Hawaiian island, then stumbled across its namesake, and slowly arrived at a good way to show both. I’d begun painting when I found out that the Caribbean “Necker” is actually Sir Richard Branson’s own private island!
The two islands are shown here at the same scale, repeated nine times. The use of plenty of “interference paint” and heavy brush-strokes on the islands results in very different coloration as lighting and viewing angles shift.
From a distance, the composition hints at a seaside flower, while closer viewing has it resemble some sort of ocean-dwelling invertibrate. Only upon close scrutiny do the contrasts between sandy and rocky landforms and ever-changing sea currents present themselves.
Yet another California island is in the works…
California’s “Channel Islands” are still on my mind, and I decided to challenge myself by making a composition from the shape of Anacapa Island, part of the National Park. It is one of the more oddly-shaped islands I’ve ever tried to portray, and after toying with the idea of making a “nautilus” design I decided to just make some photocopies of the island’s outline and play around with them. So far, so good, I guess…
The other-worldliness of The Great Basin
Last weekend I went up to Sevier Lake (pronounced “severe”) to snap some photos of Crystal Peak with Wheeler Peak right behind it. Crystal Peak is a knob of quartz sandstone about thirty miles west of Severe Lake. For just a minute or two after sunrise it glows bright pink, really bizarre. Wheeler peak is more than eighty miles away and is a 13000′, perennially snowcapped monster (home of Nevada’s only glacier, too). My first morning caught the colors, but my perspective was a little off, with all but the very craggy tip of Wheeler Peak obscured by a hill in The Confusion Range. The next morning I hiked to the proper viewpoint, but the morning was overcast and colorless! Oh well, there’s always next time: I live here so I can go there again.
Just a few hundred years ago this part of North America was completely unknown to Europeans. What is now generally referred to as “The Southwest” was just a big blank patch within an incomplete outline of the coast of a “new” continent. Very tough explorers, nearly all Spanish, spied some places which were simply beyond belief (or nearly so) to them and to the monarchs they reported to… In ways both good and bad.
Sevier Lake (pronounced “severe”) is a big “dry lake” in central Utah, typically having no water at all and being a expanse of very salty mud. The harshness of The Great Basin ensured that it was the last major geographic region in sub-arctic North America to be entered and explored. The first historical sighting of Sevier Lake didn’t occur until the 1776 (!) Dominguez-Escalante expidition! Abrief history of the lake can be found here.
Sevier Lake seen from the south
It has a very interesting shape, both unique and nondescript at the same time, and lends itself to a simple and deliberate composition.
As is becoming my normal approach, by using various “interference paints” in varying ways, many of the colors shift as lighting and viewing angle shift.
by placing the thick “gallery wrap” canvas in a “floater frame” designed for thinner pieces,
an almost-sculptural effect has been achieved, a tribute to the “not-quite-right” geography there.
the ever-pleasant weather and almost Utopian charm of southernmost California’s shoreline must have shocked the Spaniards as well, but in a most pleasant way. (A short history of the island can be found here.) The dreamy qualities that made most of The Channel Islands an obvious choice for a National Park make Santa Catalina Island a prime getaway destination. My fascination with the islands led me to paint the isles of the National Park a while back, and I decided to paint Catalina in an entirely different way.
The island as a leaf…
… some sort of green-leafed flower floating in space…
Again, different lighting and viewing angles make a difference, though only on the outer part of this piece.
Both paintings are 24″x18″ (or 18″x24″ because neither has a true orientation) and both are available in the
QUASIMAPS gallery of jfwoa.com .
HAPPY EASTER! (Or any other reason you want to celebrate life!)
Spring comes early here in Cedar City, Utah, and summer lasts six months. Between the local geography and the local climate, there’s no better place for outdoor exploration… And artistic inspiration…
Lund, UT, is a “ghost town” (consisting of two abandoned railroad-worker houses, the shell of an old cafe’, and a rancher’s cabin with a mean dog outside) about thirty miles west of here.
Don’t let the map fool you: The sole road leading there is NOT paved, though it is well-graded.
Pretty-as-a-picture, in a barren kind of way, all that’s left of the little town is is the extra railroad siding for storing excess locomotives. Avery brief summary of Lund, past and present, can be found HERE.
The triple-ridge framed by the parked trains and telephone poles is where my interest lies, though: I’ve explored the “front step” thoroughly in the past (clean cliffs for climbing) but not gone much beyond that. I recently took advantage of my proximity and the sunshine, and decided to hike and scramble to the very top, about 1500′ up.
The view from there is impressive. It struck me, though, when stumbling over snake-den openings, that while the legless critters are beyond ubiquitous here, I’ve never seen one as the subject of local imagery, or even featured in a painting of the area in any way! So my mind came up with a rough image, and when I got home I painted a quick study for a bigger and more refined piece. The bigger piece will have to wait, though, as I’m working on another project and life seems to be getting crazier.
“Just enough Sun (Snake In The Parowan Valley In March)”
Forever Mighty Swell,
I’ve headed south from last month’s sub-arctic Pacific archipelago to the warm and sunny climes of southernmost California for my current subject.
“The Channel Islands” are clustered odd the coast of the Los Angeles – San Diego coast. Four of the islands constitute Channel Islands National Park, which attracts campers, hikers, and wildlife watchers from around the world. The U.S. National Park service has a very informative website about the islands, including a very well-filmed video feature.
In my case, the only way that I could present the islands in a visually interesting way was to spread an image across several canvasses of varying sizes and positions. The initial intent was to simply outline the islands as if they were splash zones rippling out across the sea.
After starting the painting I realized that it needed some sort of distinction between the genuine Pacific Ocean to the south and west of the islands, and the somewhat less predictable flow to their north and east, between the islands and the mainland. Thus the swirly “blobby” – even “groovy”, like California – shapes came about, while the cold cold Pacific Current is shown as a sooth, if somewhat unfriendly flow.
These photos of the piece were taken somewhat hastily, but they do show some of the very “shifty” colors of the piece, many of which change sharply as viewing and lighting angles change.
Still, the name “Channel Islands” always strikes me as out of place, since The Channel Islands I first learned about are actually British possessions off the coast of France, with a unique and interesting history all their own. If they’re not my next project, they’ll certainly be one of the next few!
This morning I was woken by a telephone call. My brother told me that he’d forgotten to tell me… Two weeks ago he switched my flight, so in stead of having a couple of days to take care of things, including this post, I’ve been scrambling to do it all TODAY, hence the brevity .
This past few weeks I’ve been working on a “top secret” project and will write about it in the future.
This time around, though, I’ll explain a piece I painted way back in May:
A friend of mine is a reverend based in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). When a wildfire burned the entire town of Fort McMurray to ashes, he stepped up to the plate and provided temporary housing, food, and services to all the refugees. That inspired me to make a composition of an Albertan lake, just outside Edmonton. Much of Canada has been somehow problematic to me in the past, so it’s really my first foray into anything but a few islands there. I don’t know if these hastily-shot photos really get across the very changing colors of the piece, and I won’t go into explaining any symbology except to say that the bold red cross central to the composition is a reference to the Cross of St. George, so prominent on Alberta’s provincial flag
“Chip Lake Butterfly” – Four 8″x8″ canvasses, 1.5″-deep “gallery wrap”
“Haida Guai (The Queen Charlotte Islands)”
Just off the west coast of Canada lies this archipelago. A few years ago the governments of Canada and British Columbia officially started referring to “The Queen Charlotte Islands” by their native name, “Haida Guai”.
Simplicity meets complexity here. The distinctive shape of the island cluster, together with its complex shoreline, led me to paint Haida Guai in a style somewhat unusual for me: While simple in composition, the brushwork and color choices are about as busy as can be. Even the landmass itself is filled with strings and patches of interference paint doped with varying amounts of various pigments.
The piece itself is 12″x24″, 1.5″-deep “gallery wrap”.
(Though I am toying with the idea of putting it in a “floater frame” meant for thinner pieces, to achieve an almost-sculptural effect similar to “Sans Vancouver”.)
So completes my initial reconnaissance of our planet. Somewhat pragmatically, in 2014 I painted the Bering Strait and Kamchatka Peninsula, and have made parts of every ocean and every continent the subjects of my paintings. Now I’ve come full-circle and still have lots of blanks to fill-in.Thanks for letting “my world” be part of YOUR world.
I wish you the happiest and safest of holidays!
Here in the U.S.A. the four-year cycle has come to an end, and the name-calling of the past few months is finally over. Aah the relief… But a day before the election, a serious family tragedy struck, making the whole political event seem trivial, or at least anti-climactic, so my “creative time” would seem to be somewhat stifled for at least a few more weeks. I’ve heard it said that “life is a series of interruptions interrupted by interruptions”. Boy does that seem accurate right now.
Latter October and early November were not wasted by me, though.
is the result of lots and lots of sketching and geometric preparation. Most of the creation process is documented in this stop-motion video:
It’s a little jumpy and quite fuzzy, but it gets the point across… You certainly get the idea
Following the making of the video, I added a detail that makes a big impact: The canvas that I used is meant to be displayed without a frame, “gallery wrap”. But I decided to frame it, using a “floater frame” designed for thin canvasses. The result is a nearly sculptural effect and is quite striking.
For everyone in the United States, I wish you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
For everyone in the Southern Hemisphere, ENJOY YOUR SPRING!
For everyone, period, ENJOY YOUR LIFE! (As a rule, you only get one chance at it.)
This past month has been somewhat unproductive for me, from an art-output point of view.
With a housemate being injured and requiring knee-replacement surgery, I’ve been the only one capable of doing yardwork, going downstairs to do laundry, etc… And cleaning out the storage room across the hall from the bathroom so that the post-surgical person can hobble to the john took a lot of time (and resulted in a major overwhelm of that laundry).
So, sad to say, I’ve done no painting due to immediate concerns. Sorry. No excuse, just life.
What I have been doing, artistically speaking, is coming up with ideas and making sketches and studies. In fact, I already have one mask traced out and ready to cut into shape, a project I’ve had to do in myriad snippets of available time.
I guess it’s good to take a little time out from production and get a little inspiration. I’ll be working on a flood of paintings soon.
Autumn is finally here in the Northern Hemisphere. (Well, actually, as I write this, we have a week of yet, but you get the point…) Also “finally here” is some documentation of my process, in the form of a stop-motion animated video.
There’s no “coffee-stain drip” involved here, just brushwork. In case it’s too fast (though I think you can pause it at any point), let me describe briefly: After choosing a subject and making a few preliminary sketches or studies, I make a paper mask and use it only to define a few very specific lines or areas thatare critical to be “just so”. In this case, the subject is the Cape of Good Hope and surrounds atthe southern tip of Africa. Once the defining paint is somewhat dry, the “true” artwork begins
For the ocean I used nearly-standard “bathymetric” (sea depth) colors. The shapes there don’t represent any real depth data, they simply lead the eye towards the Cape of Good Hope itself and give moton to their space on the canvas. For the land I brushed color into shapes much less swoopy and which hint atthe semi-desert near The Cape.
I chose colors inspired by the beautiful King Protea flower, which grows in the wild only in that area, unique in all
I’ll make another video soon of the creation of another painting, but without so much of my sloppy studio visible!