Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Most Wonderful Book

Chicken Boy at Future Studio, Highland Park

On Saturday night we met our friends Claire and Tom at Future Studio (the home of Chicken Boy) in Highland Park.  Artist, Barbara A. Thomason was showing paintings and prints from her series "100 Not So Famous Views of L.A."  In addition to the original paintings and prints, I was delighted to see that Prospect Park Books had published a book on this wonderful series. 

I bought the book.  I'm enchanted.  I LOVE Barbara's work and her selection of Los Angeles views to paint.  Barbara has depicted a few obvious landmarks around town, but more often than not she paints scenes that we drive by every single day.  These are scenes that are merely part of our landscape, nothing special.  Barbara makes the everyday scene special.
I remember meeting Barbara at one of Claire's and Tom's fabulous summer potlucks a few years ago.  She's a wonderful conversationalist and a truly interesting person.  I cannot wait to see the direction of her next series of paintings. 

"Space Shuttle and City Hall" by Barbara A. Thomason
Inspired by nineteenth-century Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige's "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo," Barbara painted her works in the oban format, narrow and tall, similar to Hiroshige's work.  She used Cel-Vinyl paint that animators use to resemble Japanese wood-block ink.  Barbara painted on illustration board to achieve the look of the traditional wood-block print.  

"Western Exterminator" by Barbara A. Thomason

"Tommy's" by Barbara A. Thomason

"Capitol Records Building" by Barbara A. Thomason

I was immediately drawn to the colors and format of these paintings.  For one lone semester I was a Japanese art history major in college.  Once I figured out that this was not a practical way to earn a living in Los Angeles, I changed my major.  However, I have always admired the wood-block prints of Japan.  Barbara has modernized her methods from the Japanese masters, but retained the feeling of this timeless style.
Barbara wrote descriptions of each painting along with a little history of each site.  There were some places even I didn't know about!

Barbara, second from left with friends, at Future Studio.  Photo by Megonovich Pied Piper

"Pink Chair"  self-portrait, 1987 by Barbara A. Thomason

If you love Los Angeles like I do, you'll LOVE Barbara's paintings.  Buy the book.  You will be charmed.

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