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Hunting for Alfred Morang by Paul Parker

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • April 1st, 2014

From time-to-time, we’ll post stories written by Paul Parker, Santa Fe Art Club, paul@santafeartclub.com.
We hope you find them informative and interesting.

House Sketch by Alfred Morang

House Sketch, watercolor and ink, by Alfred Morang

I had been thinking about this mission for a long time and I finally find myself in the library seated in front of this antique microfilm viewer the size of a small refrigerator and I have loaded the reel containing the early 1958 issues of the Santa Fe New Mexican.

I was not sure why I had this unremitting need to know more about Alfred Morang. I had first seen his work painted on the adobe walls across from the bar in El Farol on Canyon Road and in Maria’s on Cordova, but I know the real inspiration came from my good friend Jim Parsons in Taos. Jim was an art dealer and appraiser forever and a friend and mentor for 20 years. When he mentioned that Alfred Morang was one of his favorites I knew I needed to pay attention. It was like Willy Wonka telling me about one of his favorite chocolate bars.

It helps that Alfred was such a compelling man, so well versed in music and literature as well as painting. He was the youngest person ever to perform a solo violin concert in the prestigious Jordan Hall in Boston. He was also an accomplished writer. The London Times once called him one of America’s leading non-political short story writers. Erskine Caldwell was a friend of his and he often visited Alfred and his wife Dorothy in Santa Fe. Alfred’s short stories and poems were published alongside Frost, Poe and Mark Twain. I do know the main reason I am so drawn to him is that his art touches me. Behind that art is Alfred’s story, his life experience and that is what drove him to create the art that Jim and I and many others enjoy so much.

There is a very sad part to his story and it is that part that drew me to the library. Alfred Morang died in a fire in his Canyon Road apartment studio on a cold January night at the age of 56. I had wanted to come here to the library and read the January 29, 1958 issue of the Santa Fe New Mexican for some time. I wanted to know the details, I wanted to read what people said, I wanted to know what page it was on and how big the article was. I was scrolling through the microfilm and as I started approaching the day he died I realized I was reading the papers that he probably read unaware he only had days to live.

The closer I got to the issue of the paper I had come to see the more time I took reading the articles and I even started reading the ads. I lingered the longest on Tuesday’s edition dated January 28, 1958. That was the last paper Alfred could have read.

There was an article on that day that I am sure must have caught Alfred’s eye and the headline read, “French Ballet loses Backing”. Alfred never made it to Paris, but his heart was there. His heroes were the French Impressionists and he considered himself to be one of them. Monet and Bonnard were his favorites. The article explained that the French Education Ministry had withdrawn the government subsidy for the production of Francoise Sagan’s ballet “The Broken Date”. The ministry’s action followed a storm of protest. Apparently one dance was performed in a bathroom setting designed by painter Bernard Buffet and was described by some critics as scandalously erotic. I would like to have gone to Paris with Alfred and attended that performance. A French ballet with a bathroom setting designed by Bernard Buffet coupled with scandalously erotic, I am sure we both would have enjoyed that.

That Tuesday the Lensic was showing “Pal Joey” starring Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. Kaune’s was having a sale featuring Pork Chops at 59 cents a pound and Swanson’s Pot Pies at four for a dollar with your choice of chicken, turkey or beef. Cherry Motor’s at 607 Cerrillos Road had an ad for the new Rambler American for $1789. The ad proclaimed that one had been driven from New York to Los Angeles using only 80 gallons of gas averaging over 30 mpg. I remembered that time. One week before this ad ran I had celebrated my 12th birthday and becoming a teenager was in sight. Unlike today I was looking forward to getting older and that was the time I began thinking about cars. Chevrolet had just introduced the 283 V-8 a year earlier in the now iconic 1957 Chevy. The fuel economy push left over from the war was fading fast and the Plymouth Hemi and the “Little GTO” were on the horizon. The economical 6 cylinder Rambler American never had a chance.

I read every bit of that Tuesday’s paper. It was as if I felt that Alfred would be okay as long as I did not turn the page, but I knew it was time to see what I had come to see. I took a last look at the classifieds and marveled at an ad for a 2-bedroom adobe with wall-to-wall carpet “close in” for $16,500 and then I hit the button and watched the microfilm reel turn slowly.

The first thing I saw positioned on the top left side of the front page of that Wednesday edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican was a large photograph of a cat crouching on the corner of a charred mattress. The rest of the bed was strewn with papers and tubes of paint. Underneath the right half of the photo was a caption “Mourning for Her Master…This lonely cat was found wandering through the charred ruins of the home of her master Alfred Morang who died in the fire early this morning. The cat is on the bed where he died.” Morang’s friends had commented on his love of cats and noted that he often went hungry himself so he could afford to feed them. Two other cats perished in the fire with him. Unfortunately I discovered that the cat on the mattress in the picture had to be put down because it had extensive lung damage. There was also a picture of Alfred. A cigarette in a holder was hanging from the corner of his mouth dangling over his scraggly beard and he was wearing a black hat with a brim that was tilted slightly to the left making him look decidedly like an artist and decidedly French. The story next to the photo read “Well Known Artist Dies In Home Fire… Alfred Morang, 56, one of Santa Fe’s best known and most colorful Bohemians died at about 1:30 am last night in a tragic fire at his home in the 600 block of Canyon Road.” Friends reported they had last seen Alfred in Claude’s bar around midnight. His apartment was just up the alley out back.

Five days after the fire the New Mexican noted…“Funeral services were held Saturday at the Fairview Memorial Park Crematorium in Albuquerque for Alfred Morang, widely known Santa Fe artist, writer and critic who was burned to death early Wednesday morning in a fire at his home here. The body was escorted to Albuquerque by a group of close friends, including Randall Davey, Will Shuster, Harlan Lizer, Walter Dawley and William Currie. Alfred was transported in a Spanish Colonial coffin made by Abolonio Rodriguez, custodian of the art museum.”

Alfred was born in Ellsworth, Maine in 1901 and came to Santa Fe in 1937. Like many who came here he suffered from TB. He immediately became a fixture in the Santa Fe art scene. He wrote a weekly column for the newspaper and he produced a weekly radio program for 17 years on KVSF called “The World of Art with Alfred Morang.” Most of all he was famous for his enthusiasm for art and his ability to teach and many benefited from “The Morang School of Fine Art”.

Walt Wiggins authored a book published in 1979 appropriately titled “Alfred Morang…A Neglected Master”. Walt uncovered several quotes during his research for his book and my favorites include the following. “When Alfred Morang’s life came to a tragic end in January of 1958 nothing before or since has so shaken the New Mexico art colony. Some say it was a sense of guilt that struck the community for not having shown a greater sense of appreciation for one who, by destiny, was different.” One Santa Fe artist reasoned, “Why shouldn’t Santa Fe be stunned with the loss of Alfred? After all, he taught half of us how to paint and the other half how to see.”

The February 10th 1958 issue of the Santa Fe New Mexican carried the report of the local memorial service for Alfred in Lorraine Carr’s column “It Happened in Old Santa Fe”. Dr. Reginald Fisher, director of the Art Museum spoke first. “Friends this is not a funeral, we are simply gathered here for a creative expression of merit and appreciation of a spirit that has been active in an activity that we in Santa Fe like to call art. Alfred was an inventive, searching and daring spirit as French as Lautrec, yet he never saw Paris. Last week his restless spirit found peace.”

Painter and close friend Randall Davey was next. “I have known Alfred since he arrived back in 1937. He was a kind, a gentle and a humble soul and in all those years I never heard him speak unkindly of his fellow man. He was a great painter; many of you did not think so, because often he sold his work for a mere pittance through necessity. Nevertheless it was great art and the happiest work I have seen in New Mexico. He had a love and a delight for painting and I doubt that anyone will surpass him in this field.”

I hope Alfred enjoyed himself on that Tuesday. I hope he spent some time with friends and some extra time petting his cats. I hope he wrote another poem and put the final touches on his most recent favorite painting before he headed down the alley to Claude’s that evening.

Claude James ran the well know Canyon Road bar where he often spent time and, as legend has it, her rowdy spirit was just what was needed to run that place. I would love to have met Alfred there that fateful night for a few drinks. I’m sure we would have talked through the evening about art and life as we cast occasional glances at the ever present ladies that were often the subject of his paintings and when Claude said “It’s midnight, would you fellows like another one?” I would nod and say, how about a couple of shots of your best cognac. I would love to take a sip, lean back and turn to him and say “Alfred I know you often say that you don’t believe in art for art’s sake, but you believe in art for people’s sake. Can you explain to me what you mean by that, and please…take your time?”

A few weeks after I finished writing this story I found myself engrossed in the details of planning a trip to Paris. I was not sure why, but suddenly it came flooding over me with incredible clarity. Human life really is very fragile and it really is all going to come to an end someday and we do not know when. I knew then I needed to go to Paris and I needed to go now. Unfortunately most people have that epiphany too late in life. They start thinking about the things they never got to do after it’s too late to do them. I knew then that this sudden obsession with Paris was a message from Alfred. Paris was his promised land, but he never made it there and I was going to go for both of us.

I told a friend in Santa Fe this story and he said, “You should do something for Alfred in Paris.” It was a great idea, but what would I do? I had been in Paris 5 days when I suddenly knew. I found an image of a Morang painting on my laptop. I printed it and wrote a bit on the back about Alfred and headed off to the Musee d’Orsay. This time as I enjoyed the paintings I was also searching for a repository for Alfred’s work and I finally found it. I can tell you that a fine example of the genius of Alfred Morang now has a home in Musee d’Orsay on the banks of the Seine and it will take a jackhammer to find it. He is close to Monet and Bonnard, the masters he so admired. Alfred, you finally made it.

Greg Reiche…A Visionary Sculptor

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • March 26th, 2014

Recently, we had the opportunity to pay tribute to Greg Reiche at an in gallery dinner on March 21st. This dinner, in conjunction with Art Matters – Sustenance, gave us an opportunity to let Greg know how much we appreciate him and his work. Our sense of Greg is greatness in a humble person, a visionary artist in touch with his evolving artistic message. Other attributes – reliable, thoughtful, intelligent, humorous just to name a few. These are the personality traits that you want in an artist, particularly one you are collecting. Prior to the dinner, we had the opportunity to work with Carlo Zanella to do a video of Greg’s artistic vision.

Greg Reiche…Visionary Sculptor

I’m proud to show Greg Reiche’s work at our gallery; it’s strong and beautiful. I believe it strikes that chord in us that says humans are capable of creating something meaningful and long-lasting.

Art of Home Tour, Another ARTsmart Event

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • March 19th, 2014

There are several events that happen during the third weekend of February in Santa Fe – ARTsmart. They include Edible Art Tour (see our post), a fashion show, Honorary Artist Banquet, Artists Brunch and the Art of Home Tour, sponsored by Santa Fe Properties. This year, Pippin Contemporary had art in a home on Bishop’s Lodge which added that zest to showcase the home properly. Here are some pictures:

Red Rising glass vessel by Suzanne Wallace Mears

This beautiful red vessel is Red Rising by Suzanne Wallace Mears

Stephanie Shank's paintings showing at Pippin Contemporary

These colorful and whimsical paintings by Stephanie Shank add color to the kitchen.

Paintings by Aleta Pippin and Sandra Duran Wilson showing at Pippin Contemporary

Velocity of Light (right) is Sandra Duran Wilson’s mixed media piece and Aleta Pippin’s Into Being oil and oil stick painting is on the easel.

Connection by Eva Carter at Pippin Contemporary

Connection by Eva Carter provides a focal point to enter dining area.

Artwork by Greg Reiche, Cody Hooper, Tony Griffith, Guilloume showing at Pippin Contemporary

As you can see, the living area has amazing views. Starting on the left, sculpture by Greg Reiche, Cody Hooper’s painting over the fireplace, Tony Griffith’s paintings, and a sculpture by Guilloume on the window sill.

Infinite Possibilities by Robert Langford showing at Pippin Contemporary

Infinite Possibilities by Robert Langford shows off in the bedroom.

Soaring through Heights by Guilloume at Pippin Contemporary

One of Guilloume’s sculptures – Soaring through Heights

Artwork by Suzanne Wallace Mears, Eva Carter, Aleta Pippin and Greg Reiche

Starting in the window sill to the left, fused glass by Suzanne Wallace Mears, another view of Eva Carter’s painting Connection, in the hallway I’ll Wait for You by Aleta Pippin, and Bloom by Greg Reiche.

Edible Art Tour…Another Successful Year

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • February 22nd, 2014

Edible Art Tour is an annual February event sponsored by ARTsmart Santa Fe. The first event started in 1998 with a handful of galleries participating. Since that humble beginning, ARTsmart’s programs (through 2012) have distributed over $1,000,000 to projects, public school programs, art-related organizations and endowment funds. Edible Art Tour is the largest of the annual events, pairing 30-40 galleries with restaurants. This is the second year that Pippin Contemporary has paired with Jambo Cafe for a taste of African Homestyle cooking. 

Jambo Cafe paired with Pippin Contemporary. Ahmed (cafe owner) seated.

Jambo Cafe paired with Pippin Contemporary. Ahmed (cafe owner) seated.

 

Continuous crowds throughout the evening.

Continuous crowds throughout the evening.

This annual event is a lot of fun and, as mentioned, the proceeds go to an important cause. Join us next February.

Rest & Meditate, Then Continue On…the Work of Tony Griffith

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • February 9th, 2014
Buddha Creek #7 by Tony Griffith

Buddha Creek #7 by Tony Griffith

Tony Griffith has a favorite spot along a hiking trail in the San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild, California. A snow melt-fed creek converges with a ground spring to form petite waterfalls and pools. This place is a symbol of renewal and the complex synergy found in nature. Perhaps it is the calm-inducing trickle of falling water or the serenity of the high-mountain stillness that causes Tony to stop his travail up the mountain and rest awhile. Or maybe Tony is compelled to slow down and take it all in because he was born with an innate reverence for beauty. Whatever the catalyst for the artist’s meditative pause, the point is that he rests, meditates – then continues on.

Griffith likens his trips to the San Jacinto Mountains to Zen-like experiences. Much of his work, including the Buddha Creek Series, has been inspired from his mountain visits and he explains, “The abstract landscape oriented composition of the work combines the vast mountain vistas (The background), with the granite boulders and outcroppings defining the immediate intimate spaces (The foreground). The southwest-inspired colors used in the compositions are fueled by the mood, lighting, time of day, scenic orientation, energy and peacefulness inherent in the Zen-like experience of each visit.”

Tony continues, “Space and texture coexist on the same picture plane, inviting the viewer to transcend through solid rock; a metaphor for our journey across life’s obstacles and our struggle with mortality.” The parallels between his physical experience and the power of his artwork are notable: first, Griffith transcends time and space as he travels up the mountain, then as he pauses to rest and meditate on his surroundings, he pushes through the barriers of the common human experience (the binding tethers of the daily grind). He then creates abstract paintings based on his experiences in nature, and it is through those paintings that the viewer is granted access into a journey that if only for a moment, takes the viewer over the obstacles of life and the ever-present consciousness of one’s own mortality.

This is one of the boundless powers of art – its incomparable ability to take us out of our present reality
and gently transfer us to a place of enlightenment and freedom.

The Mountain and the Source by Tony Griffith

The Mountain and the Source by Tony Griffith

Griffith has pursued art personally since the 1980’s and professionally since 2001, specifically after the attacks on 9/11. He needed an outlet to ‘vent his angst’ and connect with the world on a social and visible basis. Over the years, he has learned that art is an ideal medium for moving people on a ‘visceral, spiritual and esthetic level,’ and he employs sensory elements and dynamic principles of art to shift his internal experiences into the visual art form.

Collecting, the Joys and Challenges by Eric Gustafson – Review

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • February 3rd, 2014

For those of you who missed Eric’s talk, it was an entertaining and informative discussion. Eric shared his personal experiences relating to the art world and the celebrity world. Fortunately, the talk was video-taped. Here are the links:

Eric Gustafson video of his discussion about the joys and challenges of collecting at Pippin Contemporary

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting – Part 2

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting – Part 3

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting – Part 4

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting – Part 5

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting – Q & A

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting at Pippin Contemporary

Eric Gustafson Discusses Collecting

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting at Pippin Contemporary

Another View

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting at Pippin Contemporary

Paul Parker with Aleta Pippin

Eric Gustafson Discusses the Joys and Challenges of Collecting at Pippin Contemporary

Discussion followed Eric’s talk

Eric’s discussion was part of the Art Matters – Collections program sponsored by the Santa Fe Gallery Association. See the Art Matters website for additional programs this year.

When you’re in town, we love to see you. Visit Pippin Contemporary at the foot of world-famous Canyon Road (1st gallery on the right) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Cody Hooper’s inspiration behind his latest work.

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • January 16th, 2014

Often when visiting a gallery the guest is curious about what has inspired or motivated the artist.  It may be a particular painting or sculpture or it may be the total creative process used by the artist.  Every artist’s inspiration, vision and  emotion are the heart and soul of their work and are unique to that artist.

Painter Cody Hooper describes it this way about his paintings:

 ”Unbounded”

Unbounded by Cody Hooper Acrylic on panel 48 x 48

Unbounded by Cody Hooper
acrylic on panel, 48×48 inches

The movements in this piece remind me of intertwined passions (fiery reds) and the overall transitions of letting go.  The entanglement (left area) is a colder place…as you let go of these things that bind you in these darker places you can move along more freely.  As you move to the right of the painting you may be a sense of this.  You are alive again…moving forward with a new passion for life.

“I like to combine fire and water…warms and cools.  It gives the work a very dynamic property.  I love the energy it creates.  The segmented line areas in my work may suggest different dimensions within a single painting and brings the viewer in more.  It makes them use a little imagination and ask “what might be going on behind this area’.  It’s also another nice compliment to the movement.  It helps add structure and balance the piece more.  I may also use it to zero in on a specific area of interest.  This has become somewhat of a signature to my work.  I don’t do it in all my pieces but most I do.

“Letting Go”

acrylic on panel 48 x 48

Letting Go by Cody Hooper
acrylic on panel, 48 x 48 inches

The movements in this piece remind me of intertwined passions (fiery reds) and the overall transitions of letting go.  The entanglement (left area) is a colder place…as you let go of these things that bind you in these darker places you can move along more freely.  As you move to the right of the painting you may be a sense of this.  You are alive again…moving forward with a new passion for life.

Be sure to stop in and see Cody Hooper’s dynamic work!!!

Thoughts on Collecting From Eric Gustafson – Part Two

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • January 14th, 2014
Eric Gustafson with Elizabeth Taylor

Eric Gustafson with Elizabeth Taylor

 

Deciphering Between Right & More Right

Several years ago, Eric Gustafson broke his leg and found himself in the position to sell many pieces from his personal collection in order to take care of the plethora of medical bills. He had a very large Indian pot – a stunningly grandiose piece, and he recalls, “[I had the choice] of selling it to a friend who wanted it because he loved it so much or [selling it to] someone I knew who had a collection that needed it to round out the collection. This is why a collection is so important.” Eric sold the piece to the woman, as it was the final piece of the puzzle to perfect her collection, but the decision was a challenging one and speaks to the reverence he has for collecting. Although it took some time for his friend to get over the fact that Eric chose to sell the beloved piece to someone else, they remain friends today and Eric still firmly believes in the power of a well-rounded collection.

The Qualities of a Fine Collection

Eric has quite the universal view of what a collection is and what makes it worthy of being called one. He says,  “Collections take many faces.” When he owned a performing arts center in New Jersey, he was asked to be the MC on a weekly television broadcast for the state. The show’s goal was to encompass a season of cultural events based on Eric’s performing arts center. He felt he owed the audience the joy of seeing him in a different jacket each week and recalls sporting “pastel jackets of every shade,” saying, “[this is an example] of another kind of collection.”

Is There a Standard?

“There is no standard at all for a fine collection,” explains Eric. He feels that an eclectic massing of one’s likes can make for a great collection, while a thematic conglomeration of say 20th Century American paintings is wonderful as well. One must be careful when collecting, though. Eric warns, “A collection can overwhelm you and twist your thinking – maybe it becomes unhealthy to crave more and more – it can become consuming.” It is when one’s collecting crosses the line from enlightening to enslaving that it is no longer collecting at all. Eric concludes, “[Collecting] is like hoarding, but I like to think collectors have discretion and taste. [A collector] is someone who becomes enriched by it instead of enslaved by it.”

We warmly invite you to join us for Eric Gustafson’s discussion at 3:00 PM on February 1st. Be prepared for fascinating stories about his life and come ready to learn about all of the joys and challenges relating to the art of collecting.

Eric will also be signing and selling copies of his newest book, “Last Guy Waltzing.” This event is not to be missed and we look forward to seeing you then!

Collecting, A Natural Impulse

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • January 7th, 2014

Thoughts on collecting from Eric Gustafson – Part One

“I think in general, I want to point out that collecting is a natural impulse from childhood to death. A kid on the beach collects shells – then it changes to baseball cards, photos of celebrities and so on.” – Eric Gustafson

Eric Gustafson with his dog

Eric Gustafson is a neo-renaissance man, impresario, writer, art dealer, gadfly, lecturer and bon vivant. He has led an adventurous life marked by relationships with the rich and famous, many travels to India, and some acting here and there – all of which was done with an artful flare and in the celebration of the arts.

The Beginning
Eric was affiliated with the auction house, Parke-Bernet (which was later absorbed by Sotheby’s) for many years, and that deep immersion foreshadowed his many notable contributions to the arts. A New Orleans collector was seeking certain works to round out his collection. He called upon Eric to guide him, via telephone, through an entire auction; the first time in history that bidding was done remotely – one collector, on the telephone through an entire auction. ARTnews wrote a story about it in the spring of 1964. Eric describes the joy he felt in pairing this collector with pieces that so beautifully expanded his collection. He says, “I was there to guide him and my feeling of satisfaction was that I could give him things at the best price possible and steer him away from the things that were overpriced.”

The Joys & Challenges
With the enthusiasm of helping collectors complete their prized treasures came the challenge of looking at life through a “standard” lens. Eric expresses that his exposure to the art auction world on such an intimate level trained him to look at anything and everything from an auctioneer’s vantage. If he were to visit a residence, he couldn’t help but think about the brand and quality of the carpet and how much it was worth or if he met a lady with a ring, he automatically knew which designer had created it and how much it cost. This experience was exhausting and something he had to train himself to stop over time.

A Challenge Continued…
Another challenge he encountered was navigating the fine line between appeasing clients and doing what was right, which is the first thing we will delve into in the second part of this blog post.

Please Join Us
We are honored to host Eric Gustafson on Saturday, February 1st at 3:00 p.m. as he sheds light upon collectors and collections and their relating joys and challenges. This speaking event is in conjunction with ArtMatters | Collections, sponsored by the Santa Fe Gallery Association.

Gustafson in front of the Dame Joan Sutherland Collection

Gustafson in front of the Dame Joan Sutherland Collection he assembled for the Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

 

 

Unraveling Nature’s Mystery | Introducing the Acrylic Abstracts of Cody Hooper

  • by aletapippinartist@gmail.com
  • October 8th, 2013
Autumn Dance

Autumn Dance

We are thrilled to officially announce that abstract acrylic painter, Cody Hooper, will be the latest artist to join our robust stable of artists! Cody’s works are vibrantly energetic depictions of what the artist sees in nature, and they are his means of tapping into deep emotion. He is a perfect fit for our gallery, as our motto is “a sensory experience of color and mood.” Cody’s work brings the viewer to a place of energy, rooted in emotion, and translated by rich color.

Cody grew up in North Texas and now splits his time, working and residing in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. As a young child, he was immersed into music, the natural beauty of the Southwest, and art. This trifecta of influence sparked a passion within Cody for fine art, and as a young adult, he had the incredible opportunity to study under Southwest watercolorist, Barbara Hues. This pivotal experience served as a rich foundation for the artist who would later take a leap from painting realistic watercolors to a more expressive and abstract form.

Cody began experimenting with abstracts in various mediums and was enlivened by the freedom of expression he was achieving with the abstract form. His interest in color and texture grew and he was fascinated by how employing bold hues, as well as texture, added depth to a composition.  Today, nature plays a substantial role in Cody’s inspiration, just like it did when he was a child. He explains, “I go to nature for reference and inspiration. It forces us to look and examine. Like [with] an old fossil or a fiery sunset, you just sit back and wonder how it’s become this way and want to unravel its mystery – it relaxes the soul. When you replicate these things in art, you have that moment in time to sit and enjoy or wonder, [and] you connect it to your own personal stories. Nature is therapy just as art is.”

Cody is first drawn in by something as small as a fossil or as consuming as a flaming sunset. He then examines his subject and ponders its existence, questioning how it came about and appreciating its textural and colorful qualities. These experiences provide all the fodder he needs to turn a blank canvas into an eye-catching, evocative composition.

Cody feels that nature is therapeutic, just like art is therapy for both the artist and the viewer, and he has learned a lot from being an artist, saying, “Mainly it’s taught me how to process and share my visions. It’s taught me that you don’t have to belong to a church or religion to have spiritual peace. It’s taught me that our imagination is endless and that when you have that desire and passion, you have to build it, perfect it, and share it. It’s the key to making yourself and the world a better place to live in.”

We invite you to see Cody’s works in person at our gallery. You will undoubtedly be captured by their vibrance and certainly stirred in an emotional way. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Blossoming Skies

Blossoming Skies