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“High Country Serenity” Oil Paintings by Jody Ahrens
Spring Exhibition at the James Ratliff Gallery, Sedona, Arizona
By: James Ratliff Gallery
Colorado’s high country is home and the source of inspiration for Ahrens abstract landscapes. Easy access to pristine back country mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests provide never ending inspiration and subject matter for the artist. Ahrens finds the isolation of Colorado’s back country quite magical.
Ahrens current abstracted landscapes start with a day trip to aremote spot to collect subject matter and new inspiration. She starts with plein air oil studies or pencil sketches that focus on capturing a feeling or mood, and supports them with photographs. Back in the studio, she makes colored pencil sketches to identify the underlying abstract design and convert the trees, meadows or lakes into geometric shapes.
After transferring the basic design to a prepared hard board panel with a drawing brush and oil paint, she calculates the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio power points and makes design corrections to strengthen the underlying structure. Finally the actual painting process begins.
Even though Ahrens’ work would be classified as landscape, she considers herself an experimental artist. Experimental art is responding to the colors and shapes as they are put on a panel, rather than manipulating them to fill a preconceived notion of what the work should be. The most important part of Ahrens’ process is being sensitive to the evolving work, recognizing beautiful unplanned developments and preserving or enhancing them. This can mean totally giving up the original plan, a willing sacrifice that results in a superior piece of art. When the natural direction or flow of the work is nurtured, a finished painting evolves that connects with the viewer on a deeply harmonious level.
“I have been trying to merge abstract with landscapes for a long time and am happy with my current results. However, as an experimental artist, I accept that my style will undoubtedly continue evolving and changing. I look forward to seeing what emerges next.” Ahrens speculates.
An intuitive artist, Ahrens' spacious Geodesic Dome studio is her sanctuary. According to Ahrens, “If you are going to be a professional artist, your workspace and tools are of paramount importance.”
Ahrens states, “Most artists are aware that our creativity comes from an inner source. If a painting isn't working quite right, rather than trying to figure out what is wrong, I ask that inner source what I can do differently to make this a great painting. Usually an insight or idea pops into my head that solves the problem.”
The daughter of accomplished artists who studied at New York’s National Academy and ArtStudents’
In general, most artists’ work follows a common theme, such as pets, horses, big skies, seascapes, or cityscapes. For Ahrens, that theme is trees. “From the time I was a child, I loved trees … I climbed in them, drew them, played under them, and noticed with distress anytime a neighbor cut one down”.
Staying in character, her current exhibit at the James Ratliff Gallery titled “High Country Serenity” is all about trees in their many moods and seasons and the magnificent back country landscapes that give them life. To meet the artist or request further information, contact James Ratliff Gallery: 928-282-
James Ratliff Gallery