Yellow Tow Truck by Jennifer McChristian
For as long as she can remember, Southern California painter Jennifer McChristian wanted to be an artist. As a youngster, for example, McChristian always had a pencil in her hand and drew on everything in sight, including the walls of her home and even banana peels, she recalls. In high school, she drew portraits of friends and sold them for 50 cents.
These days it’s architecture that has captured McChristian’s artistic eye. “I like to paint relics of the past—things that remind me of a bygone era,” she says. “I try to immortalize them before they vanish to encroaching development or simply fall apart from disuse.” When her paintings are working to her satisfaction, they are evoking a sense of isolation, abandonment, and mystery but with a touch of levity.
One starting point for her works can be as simple as a quick glimpse of a scene that contains striking patterns of light and shadow or interesting shapes that converge to create a dynamic composition. Whether it’s capturing a Los Angeles freeway or a weather-worn red bucket, she is always trying to convey a sense of timelessness in her paintings, similar to the lasting quality of classical music, she explains.
McChristian is represented by Segil Fine Art, Monrovia, CA; Aarnum Gallery, Pasadena, CA; and Trowbridge Gallery, Ojai, CA.
Drilling Rig (Jonah Field) by Travis Rhett Ivey
Travis Rhett Ivey
Travis Rhett Ivey’s penchant for photographing graffiti on Union Pacific freight trains took him into the nooks and crannies of his native Wyoming and eventually led him into painting the state’s rural as well as industrial landscapes. Recently Ivey, 28, was awarded a research grant from the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center in Laramie to paint the boom and bust towns strung across the state. “People have always taken what they have wanted from Wyoming, such as uranium, gold, and oil, and left,” Ivey says. “There are a lot of ghost towns and boom towns. It’s part of our history.”
This summer he set up his easel for plein-air studies in places such as Jeffrey City, a former uranium boom town built in the 1950s. But when prices fell, everyone moved away. “There are telephone poles with no wires, an overgrown football field, and roads through the prairie,” Ivey explains.
In contrast, the artist also depicted places like Pinedale, where the population is booming because of Jonah Field, a natural gas field. “Apartment buildings are going up everywhere,” Ivey says. “Campgrounds are full of trucks.”
Ivey says he is inspired by the juxtaposition of the state’s natural beauty against such industrial landscapes. He is currently working on completing paintings from his “boom and bust” field studies for a show of the works next spring at the University of Wyoming. He is represented by www.travisivey.com.
Autumn in the Valley by Greg Scheibel
For many years Greg Scheibel owned a drywall business in Bozeman, MT, and in his spare time he painted. About five years ago, Scheibel decided it was time to get serious about his hobby. He began to take workshops with some of the country’s top plein-air painters, such as Matt Smith and Kevin Macpherson. Although he also is fond of the still-life and figurative genres, his artistic heart, he found, belonged to landscape painting. “I”ve always been passionate about hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. I’ve done these things all my life and I’m very familiar with the wild, so being a landscape painter is a natural fit for me,” Scheibel says.
His main focus is on western terrain and ferreting out isolated locales where time has not altered nature. “I am always trying to capture a sense of place in my work. I like to get away from the crowds and see things that may have looked the same 100 years ago,” he says. “And it’s still possible to find that in Montana.” Scheibel’s works are on view in December at Montana Trails Gallery in Bozeman, MT. He also is represented by Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, WY; Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, WY; Samarah Fine Art, Whitefish, MT; and www.schiebelstudio.com.
Featured in”Artists to Watch” November 2007