Artist Q&A: Inspiration in the wild
Cortez Library's artist of the month is Jay Whitewolf
For the past 30 years, Jay Whitewolf has been creating art. Oils, pastels, watercolors and sculptures are all areas of creativity that she dabbles in. Whitewolf, who is originally from Texas, studied at the Creative Arts Center in Dallas. She left a career in corporate America 20 years ago to pursue art commercially. One of her sculptures won Best of Show in the three-dimensional category in the annual Juried Art Show at the Cortez Cultural Center this past December. She has lived in Cortez for 14 years and finds plenty of inspiration in Southwest Colorado. She is currently the featured artist of the month at the Cortez Public Library. Her small collection of paintings will be displayed until April.
How did your painting/art career begin?
Everyone in my family are involved in some kind of art. My husband was a commercial artist. I have granddaughters who are artists. For as long as I can remember I have been involved with art in some form. On a commercial basis, I do it because I love it. I was working a corporate job, in an office setting and I took a year off. During that time I took a few art classes and that changed my life entirely.
Tell us about your current collection of paintings being displayed at the library.
I am a member of the Southwest Artists League and as a part of that group we take turns displaying our art. I have a real passion for animals and landscapes. The pieces currently being shown focus on horses and the land. I also like painting domestic cats and dogs but I really like wild animals.
Where does your inspiration come from?
It's always been about color and textures for me - whether in sculpture or painting - what I see in those elements is what I am inspired by. The different varieties of artwork and subject matter also helps with those things. Oils, pastel and acrylics helps vary the textures of a particular subject.
Describe your style of artwork.
Realistic. I like detailed work especially on animals. I tend to focus on the eyes and drawing the viewer to that area. Even in portraits, the eyes speak to me.
What do you enjoy about Southwest Colorado from an artists perspective?
The colors here are by far the most vibrant I've ever seen. I've lived all across the United States and I don't know anywhere that has such an amazing variety of color and landscape, especially in this part of Colorado. As a part of the artists league we go out together and do Plein Air painting (painting that is done on scene in an outdoor setting). And sometimes I like to go up into the mountains and sketch, then come home and paint what I've captured.
Do you have any other art shows or displays coming up?
No not at the moment. My next feature will be at the Wine Festival in the park and the Rec Center will display some of my work in 2014. I'm really focused on my painting right now. I love sculpture and I taught a class at the senior center on sculpture a couple of weeks ago, but painting is where I'm at right now.
To see Whitewolf's work visit the Cortez Public Library at 202 N. Park Street.