Whimsical — everyone loves whimsy.
Oil pastel paint artist Jennifer Cavan, of Angel Fire, N.M., knows it well, and her paintings show that.
Art lovers attending the 30th Breckenridge July Art Festival can meet Cavan and enjoy her artworks. Cavan is returning to Breckenridge for her fifth time, part of a 15-show schedule.
“I love coming up to Breckenridge,” the 50-year-old painter said. “Like Angel Fire, it’s high and mountainous with cool evenings and beautiful clean air. The Breckenridge show brings a wide variety of patrons — from locals to vacationers.”
The Breckenridge July Art Festival, featuring more than 90 fine artists, is one of the top-rated shows in the country.
“I like just about everything about the show: the friendly town, the fox kits in the yard behind the show, the artists and the view from our booths,” Cavan said.
For the past dozen years, Cavan has created whimsical oil pastel landscapes based on her travels across the American countryside.
“The subject is about an appreciation of the simple — whether it be the grace of an old adobe building melting back into the earth, a grand old barn standing guard over her fields, or a winding road leading around a bend,” she said. “My work is loosely based on photographs I have taken and memories I have brought back from my travels across the country and through my state of New Mexico. I have no interest in making an exact replica of a specific location; rather, I strive to capture the essence of those places. I hope to make the drawings into places people would like to visit.”
“I start with a colored background — typical colors include burgundy, red and indigo,” Cavan said about her artistic process. “I work on various surfaces. I am partial to Canson Mi Teintes pastel paper (the flat side), gessoed panels and fine-tooth canvases. I color these substrates using a colored gesso Matisse Derivan background colors. Oil pastels are much like buttery crayons, and I use them that way. I generally start with a loose, light sketch to make sure I am happy with the composition (oil pastels are a little unforgiving).
“After I’ve blocked in most of the color (I work from top to bottom), I blend some of the colors using a clay-shaping tool or a piece of wadded up shop cloth. I will also scratch out areas with various Xacto knives to get sharper, cleaner lines.”
Cavan is represented by several select galleries and participates in numerous juried art shows throughout the country. For more information on the artist or her work, visit www.jennifercavan.com.