Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Art of Chess and Other Things by Jim Todd

The Art of Chess and Other Things
“My father taught me both how to play chess and how to paint. At the time I didn’t know that these two activities would combine to make up a significant part of my life as an artist.”
Jim Todd began oil painting at the age of 10, under the tutelage of his father. He would often compose still lives using toys and household objects discovered in his family’s home. In 1989, while sorting through a box of childhood memorabilia, he uncovered an old plastic Renaissance-style chess set: One that he and his father used to play chess on! This enlivened Todd’s imagination as he envisioned a series of surrealistic paintings using the game of chess as a way of expressing his unique vision of the world.
Trompe l’oeil is a type of painting that creates realistic illusions of three-dimensional objects and space on flat surfaces, such as walls, ceilings, or on an artist’s canvas. The French term literally translates as “fool the eye.” Todd’s paintings are characterized by visual jokes that create tensions in the viewer’s mind between what is real and what is illusory. The Trompe l’oeil tradition became highly refined during the Renaissance period. Ironically, it was the Renaissance-style chess set from Todd’s childhood which prompted his very successful series of chess paintings. His chess series comprises some of his most successful and popular paintings, two of which were featured on the cover of “Chess Life” magazine (May, 1996). Todd feels his customers are drawn to the imaginative elements in his paintings. For example, a work may be intricately and realistically rendered, yet the situation or setting of the piece comes as a surprise to the viewer as the elements or settings seem incongruous to what the logical mind might expect. This intrigues viewers and causes them to spend more time examining the details of his work in order to resolve in their own minds what the work represents. This ability of Todd’s to “fool the eye” firmly establishes him in the Trompe l’oeil tradition.
Jim Todd’s original oil paintings have been exhibited in dozens of shows throughout the United States, and have received more than fifty awards. Todd was chosen as one of the top 100 artists for Arts in the Park’s National Art Contest, and, in 1992, he received the Artist of the Year Award bestowed by the greater St. Louis Art Association.
In addition to his popular chess series, Todd’s still life paintings have also won several Best-of-Show awards at regional art shows throughout the mid-west. Because of Todd’s skill in rendering a variety of subjects using the Trompe l’oeil tradition, delighted viewers always feel they can reach into his paintings and grasp the objects!
Todd believes that his paintings have the ability to challenge the skills and imaginations of children and adults alike. Todd reflects, “I hope that viewing my work will encourage others to explore their own imaginations. Perhaps my work will help them expand their abilities and perceptions while playing games such as chess or other games of skills. Perhaps my work will expand their own artistic endeavors, or perhaps it will simply expand how they view the world, perhaps more playfully or more creatively.” Imaginations are sure to be stirred when viewing the paintings of Jim Todd in his one-man show, “The Art of Chess and Other Things.” Please join us!
Reception for the artist: Jerome Art Walk, Sat. Oct.3, from 5-8 pm. Refreshments will be served.
“The Art of Chess and Other Things” runs Oct.2- Dec.2.

Monday, August 10, 2015


The Jerome Artists Coop Opens 
3-Woman Art Expo,  
on Aug 1st

To Scatter: throw or spread loosely over wide area; to send off, to disperse in different directions.
For one trio of Jerome Cooperative Gallery members- Watercolor/Mixed Media artist, Judy Jaaskelainen, Glass Fusion artist, Isabel Mathieson and Traditional Batik artist, Judy Yescalis, the term ‘scattered’ aptly describes much of their creative lives from beginning to end… from idea to production of finished art.  
On Saturday, August 1 from 5-8pm, the public is invited to enjoy opening night of the 8 week exposition, SCATTERED, at the Jerome Artists Cooperative. The expo will feature jewelry and functional glassware, both framed and ready-to frame wall art and cards as well as a delightful adventure in Collaborative Art. Food and wine will be available and Clarkdale favorite, jazz pianist, Janice Paul who is known for her personalized jazz stylings will provide the entertainment.
Judy Jaaskelainen resides in northern Arizona and is an award winning, juried member of the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society. Her other memberships include the Arizona Watercolor Association which has also recognized her work, Watercolor West and the National Watercolor Society. Judy is also a long time member of the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery and is a gallery favorite.
While she is primarily known for her watercolors, Judy has also enjoyed experimenting with new techniques that she has learned over the years, primarily from her friend and mentor, Patty Mikles. Her current works include watercolors, mixed media, acrylics, and collage. A quick glance at a very long list of ongoing ‘Series’ in the Jaaskelainen portfolio reveals her sense of humor, a penchant for political activism and a very ‘scattered’ approach to choosing subject matter: Hands and Feet, Cactus, Booze and Tattoos and Women: toddlers to crones are evidence that her art and her personality are well worth the drive up Jerome hill.
Like many other artists, Isabel Mathieson ‘scattered’ her creative attention for many years while sampling a variety of media, but in the end her heart was won by the “amazing, always challenging process” of Kiln-formed Glass. In an early Stained Glass class, she was introduced to the intriguing process of glass fusing, and what followed was a nine year immersion in classes and workshops from coast to coast- Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. Isabel continues to attend classes in Las Vegas and has been an active member of the Jerome Cooperative for 6 years.
Isabel is quick to point out that the process of creating in glass is more complex than most people realize. A piece of functional kiln-formed glass art, for instance, requires two or more firings; the more intricate the design, the more specialized each firing becomes.
“It is rather exciting to open a kiln to see if your vision materialized; it feels like Christmas morning when you open that gift you have been waiting for. If it meets your expectation, you are delighted. If it doesn’t, re-purpose the piece. If it is a total failure, it’s back to the drawing board!”
Her collection for the SCATTERED exposition will include jewelry and functional art pieces- plates, platters, candy dishes, business card holders, crosses, and “whatever strikes my interest.”
Friends and colleagues of Judy Yescalis will agree that the term ‘scattered’ appropriately describes this energetic, always-on-the-go Batik artist who is currently living a double life in two states and two cooperative art galleries. More of a hobbyist than a professional, the former high school language teacher never pursued formal training as an artist, though she has taught Batik at Yavapai College, won a variety of awards for her traditionally waxed and dyed batiks in various shows in Arizona and supported her music and travel passions with her art sales.
The traditional Batik process that Judy uses is a complex and extremely time-consuming undertaking that requires a large studio space, much patience and a work station to facilitate each of the major  steps in the procedure: -freehand sketching of design on fabric (from personal sketches or photo), application of wax to fabric design on stretcher bars, dipping fabric in cold water dye baths and -after many repetitions of waxing, dipping, rinsing and drying- the final step of removing all wax from finished batik with a hot iron.
Due to prolonged family commitments in California, much of Judy’s in-studio art production time has been greatly reduced recently, but she is currently working full steam ahead to complete an old dream to create new batiks from her years spent at the University in France and teaching in northern Spain- a dream that remains clear in her mind’s eye, thanks to her European photo and sketch books. Judy Y’s  Jerome  display will also include giclee prints on canvas and unframed work.  
All three artists will be available on opening night to answer questions, explain processes and share artistic insights.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Arts & Independence at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery

Arts & Independence at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery
Throughout the year, select members of the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery present new works in the featured artist room at the Gallery. Every summer, however, during the month of July, the entire membership displays new or existing work that is representative of the show’s theme. With the Fourth of July falling on Jerome’s First Saturday Art Walk this year, the membership voted to entitle the show, “Arts & Independence.”
Our in-house graphic designer, Mark Foltz, created another masterful poster for our show, demonstrating his usual flare and playful nature while depicting the theme in an outstanding manner. Foltz comments, “I want people to laugh, and enjoy my art!”
Victoria Norton celebrates the Fourth with “A-mer-i-ka,” a large 14” ceramic platter with her interpretation of our flag. Norton feels that, “For those who came to our country, this flag says it all.”
Acrylic artist Bernie Lopez was astounded to witness a dramatic sunset in a brilliant palette of red, white and blue. Lopez captured his vision in his painting entitled, “Southwest Twilight.”  
Digital printmaker and batik artist Marjorie Claus enjoys rearranging existing photos of her original batiks digitally. Her piece entitled, “Star Spangled” befits the theme as Claus states, “The horse in my painting represents freedom and the flag image represents independence.”
Please join us as we celebrate “Arts & Independence” at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery.
Art Walk Saturday, July 4 from 5-8 PM.   Refreshments will be served.
Show runs July 3 to July 29.