December 2017: Jean Justeau Payne

 Reception December 1 | 6 PM - 8:30 PM

Baby 'Trane

What Makes Me Me

Oldest daughter of eight children, born into grinding poverty and raised in rural California foothills, my first memories are of the unpainted board and tarpaper shack of home. That distressing shade of weathered wood – gave birth to my lifelong need for color…any color other than the grey and white and dirty browns of winter. School was my refuge. There were the paints and brushes and tin pots of color in the well of a folding easel. I loved the act of painting, the feel of the brush putting paint on paper, the colors, and kinetics of it. I was 6 years old.

My first commission was at age 16…the neighbor’s dead cat; okay, not as “Dead Cat” rather as a memory of “Tommy”; it wasn’t great, but I still got paid the $10.00. At 18 I joined the US Air Force and was blessed to be assigned as an Apprentice Illustrator and to wear that fine blue uniform. I made great use of the GI Bill (before they ripped they heart out of it) to complete a B.A. in Art at CSUS and a M.A. in Psychology (I had aspirations to be an Art Therapist). I found bill paying work not at all related to art.

Along the way I painted portraits (Dogs, cats, adults and kids and the occasional blue mule). Entry fees and a basic lack of confidence precluded the possibility of entering juried shows so I muddled about with commissioned work. I did a stint at Matrix, a Gallery of Women Artist and learned a bit about the processes involved in putting together a show. Eventually I retired from my “day job” to the Central Valley of California.

I do not title myself “Artist”- I am a painter.

My paintings are about the limits and freedom of my medium. My politics are that of color and composition. As a painter I am not an activist armed with a red or blue palette. I have no desire for a “higher” motive to paint. I delight in the opportunity to express myself in casual studies and essential truths. My paintings are meant to convey a moment in time, memory of observed and experienced events, nothing esoteric just the banal everyday stuff of existence. If I am lucky I catch that nanosecond of joy/agony.

As an Air Force Illustrator I painted as ordered and as a portraitist I painted as requested, now I do the work that I do simply because I enjoy it. At my age I have no long-term goals or aspirations. I do however have gratitude for time spent with these great teachers, some of whom despaired of my ever “Getting it”; finally perhaps I have. In order of appearance:

Larry Weldon, convinced me to believe in myself and apply for the scholarship; Chief Master Sergeant Walter Fortuna, elements of design and commercial techniques (to this day I have no love for a ruling pen and India ink); Jim Lewis, color theory and the elegance of line; Bill Williams, stones and the gift of whimsy; Larry Walker, the nude, form and attitude; Oliver Jackson, “it’s about the work”; Steve Kaltenbach, the importance of planning and detail; Esteban Villa, to value a different point of view; Jose Montoya, the single image statement. To these I owe credit for anything I get right, the rest is on me.

My grade school love of the act of painting has not withered; ultimately my paintings are rapt with paint, and they are about the act of painting.

I still find joy in the way painting feels, the resistance of a brush as it glides across the canvas, the movement of my arm, and the ache in my lower back from standing too long at an easel.

The act of painting sustains me and ultimately only that act will satisfy me; painting, my delicious torment. 

Jean Justeau, Painter


November 2017: Ron and Sandy Ridley

 Reception November 3rd 6 PM - 8:30 PM

“We like to put movement and feeling in our paintings. You could call it Dancing in Watercolor.”

Both Ron and Sandy teach watercolor painting classes. Sandy Ridley teaches on the first and second Wednesday of each month at the Elk Grove Fine Art Center. Ron teaches at the Elk Grove High School at night to Adults in the Art Department through Always Learning (see class details below!)

They both takes lots of long trips to Plein Air paint around the world. They have been to Mexico, Hawaii, South Pacific, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, and also taken the 15 day Grand European Viking River cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest traveling through five different countries.

At the reception on November 3, you will see some of their paintings that they taught in their classes and some of the paintings they did on their trips around the world.



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