Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011 Still Life

Still Life 40"x40" gouache on w/c paper

This is the first of the larger scale still lifes. There are many more forms, I am in that period of decision, do I like it? Is there any reason for the larger scale? The colors were inspired by the blue shadows in the snow and the dried winter grass on the prairie.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Still Life 22"x22" gouache on w/c paper

Statement of Still Life

Paintings are traditionally divided into five genres: history painting, portraits,
genera-painting (everyday scenes), landscapes and still-life. In addressing the still life, I wanted to create distinctive works. The question was, how to accomplish this?

I began by laying objects on a table, pottery, weavings, local produce and flowers. I make drawings and I paint, but the works seemed to be “like works I have seen before.”

Now, I draw the still life, deconstruct and than reconstruct. The composer, Arvo Part said, “there is a need to concentrate on each sound, so that every blade of grass is as important as a flower.” And so it is, in this series of still life, all of the shapes have equal importance and I rearrange them to become “patterns of life,” constructing works that are more universal than the original works.

To enter into a still life, is to enter that place of stillness. A place that is absent of sound or noise; hush, noiselessness, quiet, quietness, silence, soundlessness, mute, stillness. Places where I have experienced the stillness I am speaking of, are places of new falling snow, underwater, experiences of desert, high in the mountains and in forests.

For the artist, it is to become calm and focused. The still life is about the act of seeing. Though the artist begins with symbols that refer to the material world, what is seen in the final work are shapes rearranged, created with hard edges, flat color, and careful graduations.

This image of the still life is new. Together, we see it again... for the first time.

This is the latest statement I have written about this series of work. Would love your response.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011 Still Life #26

Still Life #26 22"x22" gouache on w/c paper

In this piece I am working with red and green. Dark mid-tones to light mid-tones. I deconstruct the original still life drawing, finding the abstract images in the drawing, and then reconstruct creating new images. The original still lifes were based on place. The place being New Mexico, where I live and work. I set up a still life including pottery made in Mexico and weavings from Mexico, and include fruits, vegetables and flowers grown locally. The new images seem to speak in a more universal way. In all realism there is abstraction, and in abstraction is realism. As I study the work I begin to see animals, and characters, removed from the original drawings.

These new compositions suggest all over pattern, and yet there are no repeats in the images. It is a different way to create pattern than I have done before.

This is an example of a still life set up I might create in the studio. Then I carefully draw from it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4, 2011 Still Life #20

Still Life #20 30"x30" gouache on paper

This is the latest composition, in the Still Life Series. I am happy with the exploration of the still life, so far. My goal was to create distinctive paintings based on still life. Yesterday, I set a goal for myself to do ten larger works. The art supply store in town has closed,( after all there is no need for art supply in Taos, New Mexico.) So I placed the order and it will arrive sometime next week. I am always excited to see what I will do.

The scale of a work is important. It has to be big enough to hold it's own, to state it's presence. I hope the new works will be what I want.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday October 31, 2011 Still Life/Deconstructed/Reconstructed

In this piece, a friend asked me, have you ever done a still life in a minimal way. And thinking about it, I had not. So for this piece I chose colors that are very close to each other in hue, value, and intensity.

This morning I was thinking about this journey that we call art. And I was think about how I am in love with either the latest work completed or the piece I am working on. I don't know if others are the same, but that is how it is for me. I am at work in the studio everyday, and I think about it all the time. It is an obsession, a passion.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday October 23, 2011Still Life 16

In this series, based on still life, each piece is limited to two colors. Color is thought to bring life to a work of art, as the voice brings life to the written word. In Still Life 16, I have chosen red, the color of blood, the color of life, and the color of fire. The second color is orange. In Newton's Optics (1705), The Latin for orange was aureus. Because each color is an admixture, the colors could never be mixed exactly the same again. The artist could be "close" but not exactly. Each piece is unique in the collection of shapes and colors. Red and orange are analogues colors, close on the color wheel. Red being a primary color, and orange, or red-yellow is a secondary color. The value is mid-tone there really are no darks. It is said a painter should study his work in every degree of light. The period of day between daylight and darkness is called "The painter's hour". At this time of day, reds look darker than by the light of day... sometimes almost black.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday October 26, 2011

new paintings

Reception Wednesday October 26 , 2011, 7-9 pm
exhibition through Saturday October 29


1625 West Main Street Richmond, VA 23220

Richmond Arts Review

Richmond, Virginia


"Much like music, color is a language of mood," states Julian Jackson, whose Aura paintings are presently on view at Page Bond Gallery. It is the textural flatness and the way Jackson diffuses oil paint on wood or canvas so that it obtains a vaporous and vibrating quality, which allows color an opportunity to speak its language. Rothko's colorfield paintings come to mind, though where Rothko's paint is sucked in by the canvas in an emotional recoil, Jackson's surfaces nudge the color forward.

In House from the River (2011) oil paint has been applied in Jackson's signature fashion, to a smoothed wood panel which hovers slightly away from the wall. There is a glimpse of the play of sunlight through wind-shifting trees, reflected sky and window glass, but only because he directed us with the title. Without a narrative focus the painting is another in a series of unfixed explorations of aura, and color, as vibrating energy and light that can be sensed as much as seen.

Aura 3 - Stillness (2011, 82 x 72 in) undermines the intellectual concept of "stillness" to arrive at a more complex understanding that the eye, which is always moving and breathing light cannot fathom stillness at all. Gradations of white and grey allow subtle flashes of blue; blue speaks calmness or tranquility, white of simplicity. But such interpretations only grasp at an emotional ephemera. These paintings change every time you look at them.

- Amy Ritchie

Julian Jackson's Aura is on view at Page Bond Gallery through October 29.

Image: Aura Midnight oil on canvas, 82 x 72 inches

Aura is often defined in near mystical terms as the halo or penumbra of colored light surrounding an individual in a field of radiant energy. The colors of the aura are imagined to correspond to the individuals' personal Chi, or life force. The works in this exhibition are from an ongoing series of paintings and works on paper in which I am exploring phenomena of light, color, and atmosphere in order to map the sense of a day, season, person, or place, as well as to explore the inner architecture of my own sensibility.

On a color wheel the visible spectrum is rendered as 7 key colors; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Each of these has its' own specific energy, intensity, and web of associations. But we all know that between these cardinal points there lie infinite gradations of hue and shade. In my work I am very interested in these delicacies of nuance. Much like music, color is a language of mood. These works from the Aura Series are like pages from my journal helping me to find form, experiment with subtleties of color, and to further my understanding of the pulse and temperature of passing time.

Julian Jackson 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday October 23, 2011 Interview with artist Julian Stanczak

Interview by Julie Karabenick with artist Julian Stanczak on Geo form(

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday October 21, 2011 Still Life


To enter into a still life, is to enter that place of stillness, absent of sound or noise. For the artist, it is to become calm and focused. The still life is about the act of seeing, and in all realism there is abstraction—in abstraction is realism. Though the artist begins with symbols that refer to the material world, what is seen in the final work are shapes rearranged, created with hard edges, and flat color, and careful gradations.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday October 10, 2011 Still Life

Still Life gouache on w/c paper 22"x22"

In this series of work I am focusing on the basic elements of shape and color. There are many abstractions in realism, and many shapes of realism in abstraction. The still life offers me many different abstract shapes to put into the grid. There is a slight graduation from top to bottom and from bottom to top. The shapes are hard edge and the color remains flat in each shape. This piece does not tell the viewer what to think, but makes room for the viewer. It creates a space for the viewer to think his own thoughts. Almost invites the viewer to become a partner in the piece.

Still Life
The still life is no longer
What it was originally
I am now free
Think of what I like
True for the viewer, too

My mind wanders
I think of autumn,
The leaves are still green
The apples turn red
All is colorful
The air is brisk
Favorite time of year

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday October 2, 2011 Still Life/Grid

Still Life/ Grid gouache on w/c paper 22"x22"

Still Life/Grid gouache on w/c paper 22"x22"

These began with a realistic drawing from the still life.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday September 30, 2011

Still Life/with grid 11"x11" gouache on paper

So much for simple. I continue on the path, searching for something I have never seen before. Something new with still life.

Today I would like to tell you a little something about who I am. I am an artist who has studied at art school, museum school, and college. I have been working for about 50 years. I have been represented by numerous galleries. My work has been awarded all over the country. I work regularly, everyday you will find me in the studio, working. I am a painter, and have tried every medium.

Recently I have been involved with Still Life. I am asking myself the question, can still life be distinctive? I have been trying to simplify, but I think it has made a jump, and I just have to continue and see where it leads.

As an artist, and a viewer of art. I want to say what I do not like. For me, a person who simply copies photographs is not an artist but is an illustrator and there is a difference between an artist and an illustrator. The camera abstracts in a certain way, and all works copied from a photograph have this abstraction and for me it is boring. Not all photography is art. For photography to be art, it must raise above the ordinary, as with any craft. Perhaps this is not an easy concept to understand. But there is a difference between art and craft. All art has to have some craft in it, but craft can have no art at all. As I said, this is simply my opinion.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday September 27, 2011

Still Life Revisited/ Three Plums gouache on w/c paper 11"x11"

Still Life Revisited gouache/acrylic on w/c paper 11"x11"

I continue to try to simplify the compositions and simplify the color. I am looking for something, and am not sure what...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday September 15, 2011 Still Life Revisited

Still Life Revisited/Two Pots 11"x11" gouache on paper

Still Life Revisited/ Sun Rise/ Sun Set 11"x11" gouache on paper

I continue with the Still Life Revisited Series. Two Mexican pots, and a striped piece inspired by a weaving. Each line of color could be thought of as a horizon line and it could be seen as sun rise and sun set. These could be sacred visual symbols.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday September 12, 2011 Seeking the Essence

This is where I begin. I set up a still life in the studio, with pottery, Mexican sarapes and flowers. I draw from the still life set up. Then I paint.

This would be a painting from a still life set-up. It is from this point I begin to find the essence of the still life.

Still Life Revisited/New Mexico Garden (night) 11" x 11" gouache on w/c paper

Still Life Revisited/ Mexican Sarape (night) II 11"x 11" gouache on w/c paper

I continue to try find the essence of the still life. Still Life Revisited/ New Mexico Garden(night) is stark, actually looks "still" to me. It is based on early Mexico pottery and in the second piece, Still Life Revisited/ Mexican Sarape (Night) I have removed the pottery from on top of the sarape, and just painted the essence of the sarape, and for me it also captures the idea of the "stillness" of still life.

*Note: The images did not come from the still life set up, but another. I just wanted to share my process. The steps I go through to find the essence or final image.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday September 9, 2011 Still Life Revisited

I am reposting the first still life image. When I originally drew the image I had planned to paint it without the smaller interior shapes. I wanted only flat shapes in flat colors. But as often happens, I got intrigued with the shapes within the shapes, and just couldn't let them go. But I followed my original idea and painted the composition again. You will notice I am not putting objects on the woven blankets as before, but instead, used the woven Mexican blanket as a source for a painting. The two pieces could be hung together? These works are 11"x11" and are gouache on paper. (I do not know why the striped painting appears smaller? But they are all the same.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Labor Day September 5, 2011 Still Life/Vinegar Bottle

Still Life/Vinegar Bottle Image 11"x 11" on 30"x22" (full sheet of w/c paper) gouache

I continue to investigate the possibility of still life, with Still Life/Vinegar Bottle. I set up the still life, and did some drawings. I found the vinegar bottle, could create such an interesting shape, this is the composition I "had" to paint. I continue to work with flat pattern and flat color.


Saw the Tree of Life, yesterday, over all, I would have to recommend it. An amazing movie, seemed to be an impressionist movie, visually and audibly. Perhaps the ending was too literal for me, but overall a wonderful movie, with good editing, could be a great movie.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday September 3, 2011 Studio Visits

Still Life/ Influence of Place/ Chalk Bull and Pot 16"x16" encaustic

Yesterday, my local dealer was doing some studio visits, and asked me to come along. I was just a "fly on the wall" and I want to try to share the experience with you. Give you an idea of how it is on the other side. Both of the artists we visited had been recommended to the gallery. So first off, I want to remind you if there is an artist you like, recommend them to the gallery that represents you.

We made appointments. And we went out to "see." I had looked at the website of the first artist. And to tell the truth, I wasn't sure. But when we got there. The artist had so many works. She worked in series, and had many pieces in each series. So works I had seen on the internet, might not have really grabbed me, there were other works from the series that I liked better in person. There is nothing like seeing the actual work. And we have to remember, that seeing the work on the computer is a reproduction and not the actual work. We are not looking at "art," just a reproduction.

While I made comments about pieces I really responded to, my Dealer made her selection. And in the end, selected several works for the next show at the gallery. There were other works she liked, but she stayed on track and made notes of other series she might like to have at a later date.

We both were a little on overload, and stopped at the gallery for a cold drink before we went to the next studio visit.

In this case I "knew" the work we were going to see, and though my Dealer had only seen photos of the work and had expressed some reservations. But again, when she saw the actual work, she was completely "swept away." She "got it." And that is one reason I am sharing this, it is the importance of the "experience of seeing the actual work." And to see it, in the space where the artist creates. It really makes a difference. And again there was agreement, the artist would deliver work to the gallery in the coming days.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday September 1, 2011

Orchids ink, watercolor, graphite on w/c paper 22"x30"

This week has seen me drawing orchids. This is a second start.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday August 24, 2011 Still Life Revisited

Still Life Revisited/ Black Pot and Orange Bottle gouache on w/c paper 22"x22"

Each day
A small mountain
Is created of my thoughts
Then I attempt to climb it
The artist has only a general idea
About where she wants to go
It's all about "what if"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday August 21, 2011 Still Life Revisited

Still Life Revisited/ Cups Stacked on Woven Blanket 22"x22" Gouache

The artist travels
Within her world
All the while
Searching for
What takes her breath away
Even when she cannot name it
She continues to search

What causes her to pause
Is exactly "it"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday August 18, 2011

Still Life Revisited/Bowl, Bank on a Woven Blanket

What I like about working in a series, is that you go places you never expected. This piece was not something expected, more of a surprise.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The pond is dry
Won't hold water
Repairs must be made
The date is changed
I'll let you know

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday August 1, 2011 Penumbra

If you happen to be in Northern New Mexico, August 13, 2011, hope you will come! (If you are in the area.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday July 30, 2011 Grid-Mark Series

Grid-Mark II 40"x40" encaustic

There are really only three ways to design, one is variety with dominance (this is probably the most common), is repetition, and the third is repetition with variety. The Grid-mark series is designed through the use of repetition with variety. An overall pattern is created.

Grid-Mark 35"x35" encaustic

The grid creates a structure and the marks create the variety. These things also contribute to the unity of the work. The medium is encaustic, a paint made from pigment mixed with melted beeswax and resin and after application fixed by heat. This process has a beautiful finish, and repeals dirt. The work simply needs buffing over time.

As viewer, we "read" this work the same as other works. We read from left to right, automatically we investigate the edges and the corners. We automatically look at the center, then our eyes begin to explore the whole piece. So it is necessary for it to be intere We create a reason for the viewer to go back and look again, to stay in some areas a little longer, but to always create something to come back and look again. And as we look again, we find something we didn't see before. We call that "renewable closure."

Grid-Mark III 40"x40" encaustic

These pieces can be seen at the Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery
73040 El Paseo
Palm Desert Ca. 92261
(760) 341-1056

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday July 23, 2011 Still Life

Place is an important influence on the artist, and what he creates. In this series of work I am using still life to talk about the place I live and work. I am choosing fruits, vegetables, and flowers that are grown locally and objects that I have a passion for; vintage pottery and beautiful weavings from Mexico. These are a part of the culture; music, songs, religion, food, and strong family traditions, here in New Mexico and the Southwest. Because the objects chosen for still life are objects used in domestic life, still life has become known as the domain of the female artist.


These objects have the possibility to recall memory both for the artist and for the viewer. It is here the dialog can begin between the work and the viewer. The artist is inviting the viewer to share the vision thus a visual language, a communication without words.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How we look at paintings

In the West, we look at paintings, or "read" paintings from left to right. The eye moves about the painting on a line, a form, an edge(line formed between two colors, or values), or could be a repetition of form, which becomes an implied line. The eye might follow the lights, or might follow the darks. The artist might plan a "way" for the eye to move into the painting from the left hand margin.

It is not necessary for the artist to draw the viewer's eye along the edge of the painting, nor in the middle, nor in the corners, as these are areas that the viewer will automatically investigate.

When the artist is "looking" at his painting, he might cover everything but a couple of inches of the edge, and critically look at the edges. Ask himself, is there interest at the edge? How does the artist add interest? He might change the color, or the brightness, or the value. These things will usually add interest. If an artist has his edges under control, then there isn't too much he has to do to finish the painting.

And so, if it is not the center, where should the most interesting part of the painting be? I would say in any of the four quadrants of the painting, just off the center. This might be called the center of interest. How do we do this? Again like adding interest, we make the most dramatic changes, of color, or the brightness or the strongest contrast of value. So there might be one area that we will call our center of interest, but then the rest of the painting has to be interesting enough, that the eye will move around.

What happens if we create a very strong contrast on the right hand edge? Because we read left to right. This can be an "arrow" pointing or leading the eye right out of the painting.

In this painting, Still Life with Yellow cup, and Deer. You can see that I have created several ways to move across the painting. The eye can move across the painting on the darks, or follow the lines in the lower part of the painting.

If we move into the painting on the dark leaf forms, when we get to the deer form, which is in the center of the painting, you will notice because his head is turned back (an implied direction) he even has an "eye" suggesting to the viewer, to go back look more at the pot of flower form on the left.

Then we move again into the painting, perhaps this time we will see the forms which represent "birds" (yet might look like a pointing finger) they point up, asking the viewer to look up, to look at the forms of changing color, which lead to the black shape on the right. If we just follow the edge(the line created between the black form and the rest of the painting) down into the painting, we see the strong contrast of the handle of the yellow cup against the black shape.

The cup is an ellipse and as our eye moves to the left, to investigate the cup form -- we find our eye can go around, and around, like a merry-go-around. Perhaps we might move up and slightly to the left, and the little lines, point up to the form of the deer, this time perhaps we move on to the black shape on the right hand edge, and we find we continue to move, going back to areas of interest. I think this painting is a good example, to see how the artist might give us ways to move around in a painting and keeps our eye within the picture plane.

This painting is an example of "repetition with variety." The most common form of composition. There are other kinds of composition found paintings, and the "how we look at paintings" changes slightly. I will talk about that on another day.

Finally I would like to say, an artist cannot create a "good painting," if he begins with a "bad" composition. A young artist would do well to spend a lot of time studying composition, his paintings will not be better, unless the composition is better.

The next time you are at the museum and are looking at paintings. Check it out. Be aware of how you look at paintings.

Still Life Revisited /Flowers of New Mexico

I am still working in flat patterns. And one thing I like about painting flowers, is that the shapes of flowers are abstract and when you draw them, and render them as flat patterns, they are even more abstract.


  Mother   mother, a simple word just six letters   “m” is for mine, meadow, meow all the wonders of the world wild meadow orchids including...