by Paul Thornton
Dimensions: 16″ x 20″
Media: Acrylic Ink
For more information: 517-999-1013
Inspiration for Rheumatic Arthritis
I make it a practice to produce a self portrait each year, near my birthday. Being born in February I am usually faced with the grey cold of winter. Adding to the gloom this year I was also diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Carpel Tunnel and Tendonitis .
A light sketch with charcoal was the start for this painting. I then let the emotions of the time take over the work. The grey of the season engulfed me. The frustration and pain of the afflictions came forth in the hot colors of the facial features. I used Acrylic Inks for this painting feeling the flatness of the colors would add to the emotions I was feeling.
I was always asking to get into the cupboard that held the clay and art supplies at the one room Country School I attended. Rarely were we allowed in there. High School came with an art room and art classes. Most of my High School time was spent there. Graduating from High School in the early 70′s Jobs weren’t easy to find, and full time college didn’t seem to be an option. A job in Construction became available. This option seemed to work, after all I was able to work with my hands and the skills I obtained it turns out have been very helpful in my artistic endeavors. I even found ways to incorporate building materials into my artwork. In the 80′s I was able to start taking College Art Classes and by the late 80;s I was teaching Art .
The bar and everyday life scenes of such painters as Lautrec and Van Gogh have been an influence in my subject matter. Images of ordinary people in everyday life situations seem to be a driving force in my paintings. For some 30 years now I have been found sitting with pencils and paints waiting for that spark of inspiration, be it a shadow, a perceived mood or an interesting composition. My watercolors are painted while quietly observing from a corner booth, at the table across the way or even a bar stool. My first one man show was held at a truck stop at which I frequently painted.
Constant experimentation with processes has led to the use of some unorthodox materials. The tile-like watercolors, once referred to as “Small Intimacies” have evolved from this experimentation.
Fifteen years of teaching Life Drawing, Painting, and Silk Screen Printing at Lansing Community College had allowed me the time and opportunity to develop my skills and to discover and share new processes. The vibrancy of colors in my Silk Screen Prints comes from a process discovered during this period.
My building experience again came in handy in 2000 when I built my studio. I no longer teach but now spend my time in my studio. I have been able to go back to that clay I wanted to get out of the school house cupboard some fifty years ago and have developed a line of Garden Art Pottery. As with my two dimensional work my pottery is figurative in that most of the pieces have facial features. Being pots and having facial features they have come to be known as “Potheads”. I now have my studio called “Studio Gallery” open to the public.
Two dimensional works consisting of Watercolor Paintings, Oil Paintings, and Silkscreen Prints Hang in my Studio. The Potheads can be seen there as well as scattered throughout the two acres of gardens surrounding the Studio.
The ”Studio Gallery” is open Thursday thru Sunday noon til 6 pm. In a country setting adjoining Rose Lake Wildlife Area , the gallery is at 15098 Peacock Rd Haslett, MI ph (517) 339-9563
My work has been in numerous juried shows including the following
Honorable Mention: 1993 Open Competition Exhibition
Ionia County council for the Arts
Jurors Choice award: 1994 Annual All Media Exhibition
Ann Arbor Art Center
Jurors Choice Award: 1996 All Media Composition
Lansing Art Gallery