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!
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”