Jivan Lee paints big — as in 10 feet wide — on location. He uses a lot of paint and creates dramatic landscapes. More than 35 of his pieces will be on display at LewAllen Galleries in Sante Fe through April 24.
How can he work so large? Lee uses his vehicle as a windbreak. He acquaints himself with the location through repeated visits and studies. In his case, a study might be 40” wide. “When the big ones work it is usually because I really know the place,” he says. “There’s no need for much intellectual dialogue.” In fact, Lee says he sometimes finishes one of his very large canvases in less time than he does some small studies. The reason is that with the study, he is gathering information and solving problems — learning the scene. In the big piece, ideally he is simply reacting to it.
The artist gets out a large spatula and starts moving the paint around. “I don’t like a palette knife,” says Lee. “It can move paint across the surface quickly, but the metal blade is almost surgical in its precision. And I found the scraping was distracting — even the sound of the scraping distracted me. A big silicone spatula with a long handle has all the benefits of a knife and can hold a lot of paint, but it sculpts the paint more organically.”
For more information on the show, click here, and a digital catalog for the show is here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here