First Friday: Paint, Pastels & Glass

Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jason Ford has six examples of his wildlife scenery paintings at Gallery of the North on South Franklin Street, and that kind of work is what has paid his bills as an artist. But much of Ford's work is far more "progressive."

"Celestial would be the proper term," Ford said. "I've always had my head up in the clouds. I've always liked space and things like nebulas. I'm really into fantasy art. I try and draw everything that comes into my head."

His upcoming show at the Little City Gallery, 171 Shattuck Way on the second floor of the Emporium Mall, will include a 3 1/2-by-2 1/2-foot "holy seal" - a glowing stamp that appears to be floating in a pool of ultramarine and cobalt blue.

Ford will share the gallery in July with Becca Canaday, who has recently been featured on the walls of Heritage Coffee. Much of her previous work has touched on abstract realism.

Canaday and Ford's show opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, as part of the First Friday art walk.

Ford grew up in Juneau and left when he was 13. He lived in Anchorage for eight years and Seward for eight and a half, before returning to town March 3. He's a full-time artist, but he also works as a barista in the State Office Building. This is his first show since a 1996 exhibition in an Anchorage library.

Ford's work often includes magical beings, angels and any sort of glowing object. He works in acrylics, watercolors, pastels and airbrush.

• ANNIE KAILL'S, 244 Front St.: In April, Juneau artist Rob Roys showed about 25 new paintings at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum in a show he called "Cenotaph." The exhibition was dedicated to his late father, Robert, and included a series of explorations on the classic shape of a tombstone, and another image inspired by his dad's deathbed.

Needless to say, it was a cathartic experience. And out of it has come, "Senescence," a collection of 17 to 18 new paintings. The word "senescence" refers to the process of growing old or aging.

"For me, it's more of a description of where I'm at stylistically, as opposed to the paintings themselves being about aging," Roys said. "The style that I'm in right now, I'm aging with it and getting a bit better at it. It's pretty mature work, I think."

The last few months have been productive for Roys. The Museum of the North bought one of his paintings, and the Juneau-Douglas City Museum purchased one.

"'Cenotaph' took a lot out of me, and I think I needed some rejuvenating kind of art," Roys said. "These are a lot brighter, less mournful. The big difference is that I wasn't really focusing on the idea of burial or entombment or a memorial-type thing. I was more focused on painting some pretty pictures. It was very refreshing."

• HERITAGE COFFEE, South Franklin Street: Elise Tomlinson's latest show has been postponed until next month. It will open on the Aug. 5 First Friday.

• JUNEAU ARTISTS GALLERY, 175 S. Franklin St.: Glass artist and metal jeweler Nell McConahey likes to be inspired by a word before coming up with a glasswork or piece of jewelry to fit the title. Such was the case with "Limelight" - a green glass lamp.

"I was talking to another friend of mine who's going to grad school and we were talking about where inspiration comes from in creating new pieces," McConahey said. "Sometimes it comes when you get an idea in your head about a structure or an idea that somehow you want to express. I had just done a piece and come up with the word 'limelight.' I was so inspired by the term, that I had to come up with an idea to go with it."

McConahey, who lives on Horse Island with her husband and works out of her "Spiral Studio" space near Indian Point, will be the featured artist at the Juneau Artists Gallery for July. She has a new collection of glasswork from the last three months, along with some recent pieces of jewelry, much of it emphasizing freshwater pearls. McConahey's glass pieces often include shells, stones and found objects discovered in water. Her jewelry often combines silver, gold and copper with pearls, beads and stones.

McConahey's last art opening was in "Paper, Metal, Glass, Clay," a joint show with Lisa Blacher, Sherri McDonald and Sara Chatfield, about a year ago at the Empire Gallery. This show includes "Pink Palisades," a series of columns and points; "Cat's Meow," an amber work that looks somewhat like a calico cat; and "Underwater World," a series of ocean blues and greens.

• JUNEAU ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL, 206 N. Franklin St.: Barbara Craver hoped to do more work in acrylics this year, but found she was simply too busy with her job in the Legislature. Hence, of the 25 works in her new exhibit at the JAHC gallery, 20 are the pastel landscapes and cityscapes that she's known for.

"With pastels you have this array of amazing colors, and they're just out there, sitting there looking at you and begging for a spot on your canvas or your paper," Craver said. "When I do pastel drawings, I'm very adventurous in color. I did one acrylic face based on a study in pastel, and I think I was more adventurous because I knew some colors I could put in different places."

Craver has had work in the last two Plein Rein shows at JAHC - June and December of 2004 - and also showed her work there in January 2004. She will share the opening with beader and basketmaker Nancy Karacand, who was last seen at JAHC in a joint May 2004 show with Paul Kinslow and Gene Harrison.

Karacand has been experimenting with jewelry since living in Haines in 1982 and began making small, portable "coil baskets" in the mid-1980s. The decorative baskets often include yarn, thread and jute wrapped around a cotton core. This time, she will also show wearable necklaces and beaded purses.

Besides her townscapes, Craver has been tinkering with a series of pastel and acrylic faces, inspired by candid images from her nephew's 2002 Juneau-Douglas High School yearbook. She included a series of faces in her recent application for the city's call for art for the renovation of the high school. One face, "Beret Boy," measures 24-by-24 inches.

"My idea was to take this image of a real person and try and get some of that youthful energy into the picture," Craver said. "You can't look at pictures of those kids without remembering your own youth and all the things that were going on in your own mind."

• RUBY ROOM, 171 Shattuck Way in the Emporium Mall: The Ruby Room, behind Heritage Coffee and next to Lucid Reverie in the Emporium Mall, is taking the month off. There is no new show for July.

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