First Friday

Nudes, pots and World Cup soccer

Posted: Thursday, May 04, 2006

Elise Tomlinson took a year off from exhibiting after her last show, last summer at Heritage Coffee.

She spent the hiatus working freer, with no looming deadline. She dabbled unsuccessfully with acrylics, switched from canvas to wood panels and learned to use a nontoxic oil paint she could use without solvents.

The result is "From on High," a new exhibition at Two Crow Studio and Gallery, above the Paradise Bakery and Cafe, 245 Marine Way. The exhibition will include about 20 oil paintings that combine two of her favorite subjects: nudes and aerial views. Most of the models are gazing down into a valley or channel.

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"To the untrained eye they may not see much of a difference. But there was a lot of experimentation involved," Tomlinson said. "I spent a lot of time with composition and color. Those are the two things I think about the most when I'm painting. I know when people see them, they think it's a cute scene, but I move objects obsessively until the composition's right."

Tomlinson works two to four hours in the evening after work and most of the weekend. She's finished almost 30 paintings since taking the break. She uses live models for her nudes, photographs for her aerial views.

Tomlinson was inspired to switch to wood panels after repeatedly stretching a loose canvas for a large commission.

"Most canvasses have a texture and when you're doing figures, it's nice to have a very smooth surface so when the oil builds up you don't get these little beads of paint," Tomlinson said. "I like the way the brush feels when it moves across the panel. Wood doesn't absorb as much paint, so you can move things around and keep building."

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY, 175 S. Franklin St.: Juneau potter Joyce Payne, the newest member of the Juneau Artists Gallery, will exhibit a variety of functional ceramics (mugs, plates, bowls, crocks and hummingbird feeders) as the gallery's feature artist in May.

Payne began studying clay at the University of Texas at El Paso. She worked for a co-op studio, and spent the next 10 years as a freelance graphic artist. She earned a master's degree in plant and insect interactions, and worked in Alaska for eight years as a biologist at a consulting firm.

Payne uses white stoneware, porcelain and red stoneware, mixes her own glazes and fires in an electric kiln at 2,135 degrees. Her mixture of semi-matte black copper oxide has proved especially popular.

Payne also is developing porcelain pots "that will meld my love of clay and the plant and animal world of Alaska into one expression," she said in a press release. She will attach a digital landscape photo deal to the pots in the firing process.

• JUNEAU ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL, 206 N. Franklin St.: Juneau painter and gallery owner Rob Roys has been working feverishly for his fifth show in the last 13 months, and his first show at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery.

His latest exhibition, untitled, will include about 30 paintings - mostly 18 inches by 24 inches. He usually works on an 11-by-14-inch scale.

"Some have come pretty easily, but most of them have been really torturous," Roys said. "Going up to a larger size has really kind of changed everything, but I'm really quite pleased with a lot of the work. In some ways, it's definitely looking back at some of the things I did before, gleaning what I really liked about them and applying that to a bigger scale."

The collection includes quite a bit more color than Roys has used before. It's doused with red, white and blue - partially an indirect statement on the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, but mostly a look ahead to America's chances in the World Cup soccer tournament in Germany.

"I was going to title the show 'U.S.A., U.S.A. All The Way,' but I didn't think people would have gotten the correct meaning," Roys said. "They might think it was either pro-war or anti-war. As much as I have political leanings, I try to leave the overt statements out of the artwork.

"There are some stars, and some things that I consider coffins and some other things that I consider ravens, people, curtains and flags," he said. "If you've ever seen a kid paint, where they draw something and they say, 'This is what I'm saying it is, it's not what it looks like,' that's the way I approach a lot of it. It's kind of like drawing or writing with wingdings. It's more of a hieroglyphic system for me. It changes from picture to picture, color scheme to color scheme."

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