Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Journey of a Working Artist

Since I became a working, selling, gallery represented artist, there have been several changes in my art work.
I began as a watercolor artist, painting American historical scenes of the west. The first change was primarily
to improve and expand effects and the quality of my work. Oils offered the ability to do many things that I found limiting for me in watercolor.

"HedgeHogs" Sold

I know different now as my knowledge in handling both mediums has improved, but the secondary reason for changing to oils was marketing. I was selling in areas where many people were traveling and did not want to deal with the issue of glass over the watercolor painting. Clear plastics were just not an option as a substitute for the glass needed to protect the watercolor painting.

So the first change was from watercolor to oil. I still painted the historical western scenes, but phased in the oils and phased out the watercolors. Not a big change really.

The next change was in the subject matter I chose. I became more aware that I had an increasing desire to paint just the landscapes I went out to paint and photograph with the intent of using them as backgrounds for the western scenes.

I began doing a few pure landscapes. As long as I kept them small, the gallery that represented me would hang them along with my westerns. Soon, the landscapes were out selling the westerns and the more I painted them the more I wanted to. The gallery wanted me to keep doing westerns even though they were a secondary subject for me. This precipitated a change in representation for me. It was a blessing in disguise. It was 1984 and O'Briens Art Emporium, a 140 year old gallery took my landscapes and began selling it
immediately. At that time O'Briens represented some of the best artists working in this country. I was with them for 14 years at which time circumstances caused them to close their doors.

"Morning Magic" Available through  Biltmore Galleries
Since that unwanted change in gallery representation, I have been involved
with three galleries locally since moving to Arizona over 30 years ago, all good galleries and several others nationally.

Now, I am at another crossroads. this time it is age and physical limitations. Since 1999 I have had to deal with a number of health issues. Some are military service related, exposure to asbestos, heart problems and age related joint problems. Admittedly some are due to the old saying, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. I have no complaints though. I loved being in the service to this country, I loved my years in the sport of auto racing and I'm still glad, after all these years to be on the green side of the dirt.

I have always been able to adapt. So the change I am making now is just an adaptation of the situation I live
in now. It is really just a new chapter of my career and if it goes like the last chapters, it will be even better. One door closes and another opens.

I learned early that if one learns to see and draw shapes and pays attention to color temperature and values, they should be able to paint anything they wish. This lesson has served me very well, but not as well as it
"Pima Canyon Saguaros"  Sold
serves me now. Since realizing a couple of years ago that hiking the Grand Canyon or going deep into the Rocky Mountains was not a good idea for someone with joint, heart and breathing issues, I have started looking around for other subject matter that excites me to paint. One of the things I quickly realized when I did this is something I have known for many years. The world is full of great and exciting subject matter.

One of my pet peeves has always been the way galleries and some clients want to put artists in a specific "box." What I mean is they like an artist to specialize in one subject matter and one medium. There are a few artist out there that have escaped being placed in the "box." I am not one of them. This new change is also joining these "free" artists. I have decided that since I need to make a change to more accessible subject matter for myself and I have always found many subjects interest me enough that I want to paint them, why not do just that. This means changing from the more predominantly western galleries to galleries with a wider scope of subject matter as I "open" my scope of subject matter that I paint.

"Reverie" Available through  John Cox Fine Art
So this change is somewhat bigger in ways than the others that were almost a natural evolution of my work. This is a wholesale change. I will be changing the type of galleries I work with, I will be painting subject matter such as still life's, people, both nudes and people in everyday life. I will be doing florals and a few
landscapes as well. I will work mostly in oil, but my true love has always been watercolor, so I intend to "listen" to the subject and paint it in the medium best suited to show others what I saw,felt and why it excited me enough to paint it. This is a change in gallery representation, subject matter and some change in mediums, as I will paint in both mediums as the subject dictates.

It has always been my goal to produce the best paintings I possibly can. Many collectors have given me the blessing of making a living doing what I love. I owe them as well as myself, the very best work I can possibly do. I truly believe that this change will take me much closer to that goal than any of the other changes I have made. In the near future I will list the new galleries handling my work.

It is my hope you will enjoy this new chapter in my career. I want to thank all who have contributed to helping me come to this place in my career, through purchase of my paintings, gallery promotion and moral support, other artists who have generously shared their knowledge with me and the good Lord for blessing me with this desire and ability to share His wonderful world with others. John Cox, Phoenix, Arizona 2013

"Colorful Lady"
12x12 Oil on Canvas