Emerging Artists | Jerry Salinas

Jerry Salinas, Café, oil, 12 x 16.

Jerry Salinas, Café, oil, 12 x 16.

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

When Jerry Salinas moved from Chicago, IL, to Phoenix, AZ, 13 years ago, a period of searching followed before the figurative painter found his artistic groove in his sunny new locale. “I didn’t know what I was going to paint,” he admits. “It takes time to learn how to paint this light, and it really took time to learn what I wanted to paint.”

Salinas, who is also a professional illustrator, studied fine art at the American Academy of Art and with artist Romel de la Torre at the Palette & Chisel in Chicago, where he had grown used to seeing a lot of urban-toned “grays,” he says. “Out here, I saw more color. It opened my eyes to a new subject.” Gradually, the vivid hues and cultural vibrancy of the Southwest found their way into the artist’s figurative works. It wasn’t an altogether surprising progression for the impressionistic realist, who has long admired the colorful, western-inspired portraiture work of artists like Bettina Steinke (1913-1999), Harley Brown, and Howard Terpning. “If artists influence me in any way, it’s through their palettes,” he says.

Today one of Salinas’ favorite subjects to portray is women dressed in brightly patterned Hispanic clothing, but the artist hasn’t entirely abandoned the subject matter he loved to paint in Chicago. He still enjoys sketching people in coffee shops, for example, and in portraits like CAFÉ, he captures quiet moments centered around a warm cup of joe. Last fall the oil painting was juried into the American Impressionist Society’s national exhibition in Utah, where the artist also garnered an honorable mention for another painting he completed during the Southwest Art-sponsored paint-out. Of course, it was a figurative scene, chuckles Salinas. “I want to convey happiness in my paintings, especially with the figure. People relate to people.” Find Salinas’ work at Amery Bohling Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ.

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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