Saturday, March 26, 2011

artist statement

Jennifer Cavan
PO Box 388 Angel Fire, NM 87710
facebook page: Jennifer Cavan artist

For the last dozen years, I've created whimsical oil pastel drawings of the landscape. In addition to being represented by several select galleries, I have participated in numerous juried art shows throughout the country.

My travels across and through the American countryside inform and influence my art. The subject is about an appreciation of the simple--whether it be a grace of an old adobe building melting back into the earth, a grand old barn standing guard over her fields, or a winding road leading around a bend. My work is loosely based on photographs I have taken and memories I have brought back from my travels across the country and through my state of New Mexico. I have no interest in making an exact replica of a real location--rather I strive to capture the essence of those places. I hope to make the drawings into places people would like to visit.
I start with a colored background--typical colors include burgundy, red and indigo. I work on various surfaces. I am partial to Canson Mi Teintes pastel paper (the flat side), gessoed panels and fine tooth canvases. I color these substrates using a colored gesso--Matisse Derivan background colors.

Oil pastels are much like buttery crayons--and I use them that way. I generally start with a loose, light sketch to make sure I am happy with the composition (oil pastels are a little unforgiving). After I've blocked in most of the color (I work from top to bottom), I blend some of the colors using a clay shaping tool or a piece of wadded up shop cloth. I will also scratch out areas with various exacto knives to get sharper, cleaner lines. My favorite brands are Holbein, Sennelier and Caran d'ache.

Once a piece is finished, I use several layers of a spray fixative to set the oil pastel. If the piece is on paper, I frame behind glass with a 100% cotton rag mat. If the work is on canvas or panel, I generally use a few more layers of fixative so that the piece is no longer tacky to the touch. Then I add several layers of a brush on matte acrylic resin varnish.

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