Archive for the 'Artists/Collage' Category

Best in Show: Sycamore Reach

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

The sun was setting. Late November light blazed through the very top of a tall Sycamore. It looked as if the tree was reaching up into the deep blue sky of autumn to capture the final rays.

The email notice stunned me for a moment, but surprise gave way to gratitude after I learned that a recent artwork had been chosen for a top local award. Sycamore Reach is my latest example of “painting nature with paper.”

Paint by Nature: Trees was a stimulating opportunity to bring into the studio everything that I learned from another season of plein-air outings. Using photos I took with a smartphone, my subject would be a a grand American Sycamore that lives along the median of Lafayete Parkway in Lexington. I’d looked at several candidates for selection on my research trip to the city, including a majestic Chinkapin Oak. There wasn’t much direct illumination left when I got to the sycamore, my last destination. It turned out to be ideal lighting for a reference image.

It’s a privilege to dedicate my creative effort to promoting the important role of trees and the priorities of Live Green Lexington. My appreciation to Jeanette Tesmer, Alice Hilton, plus everyone who helped organize this nature-inspired arts event — and especially to show judge Leah Castleman, an art educator, avid painter, and outdoors enthusiast.

The exhibition is located in the upstairs community gallery of the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center through Friday, February 26, but the center is closed “until further notice due to red zone status of COVID-19.” You’re invited to take a Virtual Tour of the show, and think of me when you vote for People’s Choice!
 

Sycamore Reach
mixed media collage by J A Dixon
8 x 10.75 inches
available for purchase

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

2020 JOURNAL:
Looking at my final experiment of the year while developing a large work on canvas.

Did we leave 2020 better than we found it? Each individual will decide.
 

Untitled (dark4x)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
7 x 5 inches

Three fourth-quarter miniatures

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

 
collage

Her Pensive Nights
collage miniature by J A Dixon
8 x 8.375 inches

 
collage experiment conducted during the first personal collage workshop with Marty Strock

Untitled (smooch)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
7.1875 x 7.1875 inches

 
collage

Tiny Medicine
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4.75 x 4.75 inches

Sixth Chapter: A virtual field trip for youngsters . . .

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

 

 
“You can decide that you want your art to be very close, exacting, and faithful to the scene, or you can just let nature charge your imagination, and you just go from there.”
from our video “ridealong”
 

It turned out to be one of the more memorable days of the summer — not just another opportunity to take my collage making to a natural place, but a collaborative effort with my friend Brandon Long from Art Center of the Bluegrass. Responding to the new demands of the era, he was in the middle of organizing a virtual field trip to dovetail with our annual En Plein Air exhibition. He wants to encourage youngsters to create collage artwork out of doors, so he asked me if I would be the subject of a short video. Our local PAACK had already scheduled an event at Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge, but, with the likelihood of rain, the gathering had been postponed earlier that morning. Brandon and I felt lucky, and we pushed ahead with the outing anyway. We were successful in avoiding the poison ivy and pulling off our little production at the edge of Island Pond. Not much later, a thunderstorm sent me skedaddling beneath a nearby shelter. Somehow, I came away with a good start on a miniature that I could finish in the studio. My goal has always been to spend less time with the indoor follow-up than I spend on location. Sometimes it happens, but usually I need a 50/50 time ratio between site and studio to bring something to a satisfactory resolution. There are artists who would not consider that a legitimate plein-air solution. It’s a standard limitation that we use for our Central Kentucky group. At any rate, I find the entire process to be personally rewarding. If I keep doing this, I think that basically I’ll get to where I can complete something in the field. Meanwhile, the challenge is to “paint with paper,” capturing the essence of a viewscape on site, and then to avoid messing that up with my finishing touches.

Creating Collage “En Plein Air”

 

Before a Storm
plein air collage miniature by J A Dixon
7.5 x 7.8125 inches
available for purchase

Forgot to Blow My Mind (diptych 99)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

 

Forgot to Blow My Mind (diptych 99)
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
2 x 2 inches each
left square | right square
available for purchase
 
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Forgot Where Texas Used to Be (diptych 10)

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

 

Forgot Where Texas Used to Be (diptych 10)
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
1.9375 x 1.9375 inches each
left square | right square
available for purchase
 
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Forgot to Look for America (diptych 69)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

 

Forgot to Look for America (diptych 69)
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
1.9375 x 1.9375 inches each
left square | right square
available for purchase
 
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Forgot to Be Fearful (diptych 20)

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

 

Forgot to Be Fearful (diptych 20)
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
1.625 x 1.625 inches each
left square | right square
available for purchase
 
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Forgot to Commit Sins (diptych 7)

Sunday, July 19th, 2020

 

Forgot to Commit Sins (diptych 7)
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
1.75 x 1.75 inches each
left square | right square

Purchase Award  /  The Doug + Laurie Kanyer Art Collection

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Forgot to Make Merz (diptych 30)

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

 

Forgot to Make Merz (diptych 30)
collage miniatures by J A Dixon
1.75 x 1.75 inches each
left square | right square
available for purchase
 
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I finally help to “paint the town” of Lexington!

Friday, July 17th, 2020

 
Paint the Town is an annual plein-air-oriented landscape exhibition in Lexington, Kentucky. The parameters of the traditional twelve-hour event are strict, and I’ve always had the notion of it as a flat-out competition — sort of a bass tournament for artists, if I may indulge a silly exaggeration.
 
 
With the current societal restrictions having caused so many art shows to be postponed or cancelled, it’s a distinct credit to ARTSconnect that a way was found to make the event happen at all in 2020. The Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center reopened to host the exhibition. Many of the more stringent guidelines (and, sadly, all the hospitality enhancements) were stripped out of this year’s version.

I’m willing to admit that the relaxed standards were enough to convince me to take part, not having participated in this kind of gig before. I was eager to gather what I’ve learned from my plein-air experience and “paint with paper” in the studio. The goal was to fuse the spontaneity of working outdoors with a more deliberate process that I’ve explored by using photo references to create a larger landscape on panel. I can’t be more pleased with the results. I continue to incorporate white tissue for desired cloud effects, and I’ve come to rely on reclaimed teabag material as a beneficial adjunct to colored papers. I work at not overdoing tinted sealants, but the added depth is worth a cautious, mixed-media enhancement (especially when I mix acrylic gel medium with a rare portion of walnut juice from Richard Taylor).

Please take a Virtual Tour of the show. My 90-second sound bite is included, or you can listen to the audio by clicking here. Of course, there’s a YouTube video of all the artwork, too. My two collage miniatures enjoy some great company, and it pleases me to point out that juror Bruce Neville designated Byway Corner with an Honorable Mention. Current gallery hours at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center are Wed/Thurs/Friday, noon to 5pm. The show lasts until August 3, 2020.
 
 

Byway Corner
collage landscape by J A Dixon
7 x 7.125 inches
available for purchase

 

Along Market
collage landscape by J A Dixon
7 x 7.125 inches
available for purchase