Meet 8 artists inspired by the animal spirit
This story was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art March 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art March 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
“I sometimes imagine that secret place where one can experience peace and solace, a warm, inviting place where the day-to-day grind is set on a back burner for now. The perception of security, even though momentary, is nonetheless appealing to many living things. Such a notion is symbolized in this painting of a fawn. As the artist, I can easily relate. In a certain way, I’m reflected in the animals I paint, a sort of self-portrait. Long ago, when just getting started, I wanted to paint all kinds of animals, but as I grow older, my subjects are down to a handful that define my emotions and personality.”
“The moments that seem to imprint most vividly on me are those that transform the commonplace into something personally meaningful. The source of ‘SILENCE IN THE SHADOWS’ is a quiet, green garden located in a small rural village in the south of France. As is often my habit, I had slipped away from the hustle and bustle of the street and the group I was traveling with, drawn to what I could see through a pair of stone gateposts. Upon entering, I was enveloped in a still and tranquil setting and soon found myself seated on a bench under the silent gaze of a stone maiden. She seemed to be keeping a secret. Meanwhile a small bird foraged nearby, unconcerned with my presence.”
David W. Jackson
“CANADIAN MIST was inspired by a trip to teach a workshop on beautiful Orcas Island, located in the northwestern corner of Washington. I was staying in a guest cabin of some good friends, near a quiet inlet. During the early morning hours, I would sit on the porch and watch the day begin. The water was still, clear as glass, and I could hear the Canadian geese honking. Each morning, I watched them glide by, through the morning mist and just above the water, silhouetted by the sun. It was a beautiful, tranquil experience—one worthy of painting. CANADIAN MIST also is one of the many paintings in my new book, Enjoying the Journey: The Art of David W. Jackson.”
Breckenridge Fine Art Gallery, Breckenridge, CO; Crowley Gallery & Café, Ogden, UT; Gallery Veronique, Cincinnati, OH; Logan Fine Art Gallery, Logan, UT; Paderewski Fine Art, Beaver Creek, CO; The Sportsman’s Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Vail Fine Art Gallery, Vail, CO; www.davidjacksonstudio.com.
“LITTLE BLUE HERON depicts the beauty found in Everglades National Park. The different tones of blue draw the eye into the delicate feathering. I ran across this specific subject while exploring in the park. After observing it fishing for several minutes, I captured this feather fluffing (rousing) as the bird needed to cool off.
“I chose to use acrylic as my medium in order to give me the control needed for the fine detail in the feathers. I use a layering technique that evolved from my early years focusing on watercolor. Paying close attention to the details from my reference photos allows me to make the subject come to life and ‘pop’ off the canvas.”
Jan Martin McGuire
“I have been traveling to Africa for 17 years, and I am completely enthralled with it. I do still love to paint North American subjects, but Africa does have my heart. Some of the most amazing sights in Africa are the elephant and the baobab tree—both ‘behemoths’ in their own right. This painting was from Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. I loved the challenge of creating the textures on both the tree and the elephant. And the tiny splash of color of the lilac-breasted roller was the final cherry on top.”
“For the last four to five years, I have concentrated on creating sculptures for outdoors. They are large enough to try new ideas creatively and, frankly, they have been great sellers. MOURNING SUN is the latest in my series of outdoor bird pieces. By putting them on stone, I can sculpt smaller birds, and they still have a presence in the landscape.
“Besides being an avid birder and bird hunter, for 25 years I was a model maker and taxidermist for the Smithsonian, so I have had my hands on an amazing diversity of bird species. MOURNING SUN combines all those experiences: from feeding and watching birds in our yard, to hunting them, to preparing them for museum displays. My hope is that my sculpture highlights and celebrates the familiar in our everyday lives.”
Lovetts Gallery, Tusla, OK; Manitou Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Walt Horton Fine Art, Beaver Creek, CO; Audubon Gallery, Charleston, SC; South Street Art Gallery, Easton, MD; www.rhymerstudio.com.
“Creating animals, particularly farm animals, brings forward the most peaceful memories I had as a child. My grandparents lived on a small farm in Kansas, and I learned to appreciate the quieter side of life. The most vivid memories were riding horses, collecting eggs, and feeding and learning to milk cows (no easy feat—until you learn the rhythm!). It was my idea of heaven. My art comes from my soul. When I create, there is always a part of me that goes onto my canvas, no matter the subject. Frequently, while painting, I lose myself in a memory—as I did while painting PRETTY BOY—going back to that small farm, listening to him as he crowed and strutted his stuff.”
“Frosty cold morning, mist rising off the lake, the distant sound of an elk bugle, and the local big boy responds with his LAST CALL. For me, this is Colorado in the fall. The hoarfrost on the trees, the snow-dusted grasses, and the amazing wildlife inspire me. The elk capture my heart. I have watched a big bull hold a constant vigil over his harem, aggressively warding off smaller bulls and sometimes meeting the challenge with muscle, antler to antler. The cows raise their heads to listen. They may call to their young to reassure them, but mostly they are unconcerned with this behavior and continue to graze. Life goes on, and my challenge is then to convey this inspiration in my batik art. Plein-air sketches and photographs will go back to my studio to assist me, but the energy and feelings I glean from being there will flow into my art for me to share.”
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