I work in two completely different mediums. I create abstract paintings in pastels and also detailed scratchboard artwork.
Pastel and charcoal are my medium of choice in my large abstracts. I enjoy breaking down places or objects to their basic shapes and shallow forms. I am inspired by Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso and Cézanne. They endeavored to paint multiple views of a thing within the same painting, flattening the picture plane and exaggerating select features. There are also a few artists of today whose work I admire. Line, shape, value and color are evident in my work and are important to me as I aspire to explore the object or place I am drawing. For example, I am moved when a bow slides across the strings of a cello. The sound, the deep and haunting vibrations, are felt deeply. So, in my series of stringed instruments (Strings #1, #2…), I have attempted to sort of break apart the instrument, attempting to get a closer look, to get closer to the sound, the music, the vibrations.
I was introduced to the scratchboard medium in February of 2019 and immediately fell in love with it. Scratchboard consists of a thin rigid board coated with a hardened white clay topped with a thin layer of black ink. The artist uses a sharp tool to scratch away the black ink to reveal the white clay.
My current series of scratchboard art focuses on the beauty and prowess of the horse engaged in a variety of sports and activities. I intend to explore this artistic avenue further as I have always had a love for horses. It began at a very young age when my parents put me on a pony at a county fair. Since then, I’ve owned and trained young horses and was an award winning collegiate horse show competitor and horse judging team member. I offer commission opportunities for you to own your very own original equine portrait of your treasured horse done in scratchboard.
Scratchboard is especially fun to work with in that it is a bit of a backwards process. The dark areas are removed to reveal highlights and mid-tones. It is a sort of subtractive sculpture process in 2-D form. I am so taken with the medium that I became a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists.
I began drawing at a very early age and loved to draw in great detail. I was meticulous in drawing, filling in, and blending every detail and I loved it. Attending college to earn my Bachelor’s in Art introduced me to a multitude of art mediums and styles. It was there that I moved away from detail and toward abstract. I worked with pastels and decided to use them in a less traditional way. After many years, and my very recent intro to scratchboard, I returned to drawing detail using scratchboard. It felt like a homecoming to me, returning after a long journey. Still creating abstracts too however, I am blessed for the desire and courage to do both abstract and detail.
With my abstract art, I begin with a light sketch on 8.5 x 11 inch paper from my sketchbook. When the sketch is the way I like it, I move to the large 22 x 30 inch Stonehenge 100% cotton rag acid-free paper. I apply one or two thin coats of gesso to the paper. Sometimes I add a bit of color to the gesso and this becomes a sort of underpainting before I apply any pastel, plus, it gives the paper a little bit more “tooth” for catching and retaining the pastel.
I scale up the small sketch while drawing it onto the Stonehenge paper. Applying the pastel and charcoal, I use my hands to blend the pigment and sometimes re-working an area is necessary.
That’s the physical part. There’s more on the mental “thinking” part on my site artjconant.com/blog.
Some of my pastels are done in a short series of the same subject. Some focus around stringed instruments and you will see sound holes or “f” holes in the cello, strings, tuning pegs and violin necks. In others you will see the smoke stack of a steam locomotive, or the front end of a steam engine with large bolts and the “pilot,” the large object that rests very close to the track that is used to deflect any objects that may otherwise derail the train. All of my paintings are drawn from objects or places that are meaningful to me.
My work has been featured in solo and group exhibits in California and Louisiana and is collected across the U.S.
I taught high school art, digital art, and photography for 16 years and saw some of my students go on to have art and photo careers of their own. After retiring in 2017, I moved to Arizona and have been pursuing my art full time and loving every minute of it! I am inspired by the architecture of the land in southern Arizona with its beautiful hills and valleys, desert cacti, wildlife, monsoons, and occasional snow! I am blessed for the friends I’ve made here and those I’ve had for many years and I look forward to making many more.
There is more at artjconant.com.
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