The artist featured this month in the Gallery on High likes to work outdoors and likes to work fast.
Depending on the time of year, at times, that comes in handy.
John Victor, a graphics artist for The Ohio State University’s agriculture department “by day,” likes to spend his time away from the job painting plein air (a French phrase for working outside). He also prefers to work very quickly. There’s a term for that method too, alla prima, meaning painting on one sitting.
“I find myself getting an idea, then just do it,” Victor said. “You put down what you’re feeling at the time, rather than re-hashing it and over thinking it.”
He describes his work as impressionistic. He said the great impressionist French painters often worked outside, particularly on their landscape subjects.
Victor thrives on working outside and prepares for days when the temperature hovers around freezing. He said so long as his oil paints in the tubes don’t freeze, he can recruit a fellow painter to join him. He’ll dress in goose down, tramp through areas often miles from a road to find a scene he wants to paint.
Victor’s paintings, oils on canvases, will be the featured art for September in the Gallery on High. A reception will be held for Victor 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday.
On display are 45 paintings, which Victor said are landscapes from Southern Ohio, with a concentration in Ross and Hocking counties. Because he works outdoors — in most any season — and likes to start and finish in one day, Victor’s canvases are small, in the 8-inch-by-10-inch range.
He has also painted larger paintings, also outdoor subjects, but from photos.
A large, striking painting catches the viewer’s eye upon entering the gallery. It’s a landscape of the American West, which is being viewed by a woman. He titles it “Missy in the Land of Earth Born Spirits.” The latter part of the title is the name given to the area by Native Americans.
Missy is his wife, Melissa, who is seen viewing the rock outcrops in Wyoming. Victor gives a nod to Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” in the composition.
Victor had painted earlier in his life, but gave it up for a time. Then in 2004, he was commissioned to paint a watercolor landscape for the cover of a phone book. That rekindled his interest in applying paint to canvas, but switched to oils. He’s been painting landscapes ever since.
“It spurred me,” Victor said.
Victor has two additional “in-person” events for the month: a painting demonstration, noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12 and a bluegrass band concert with “Strung Up,” of which he’s a member — he plays harmonica — from 7 to 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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