Oil painting of two old Ford trucks

’51’s Got a Drip
40 x 60 in.
Oil on Recycled Metal
Available through the Borrego Art Institute

Ryan Jensen: On the I-5, my palms began to sweat; I had a problem on my hands. I was heading to Southern California for the Borrego Springs Plein Air Invitational. While I had the frames to fill the ample wall space waiting for me, I still needed a 40”x60” canvas.

I found myself at a scrap yard, hunting for a substrate. I pulled out a large metal drip pan. It needed to be cut to precise size, but it was that or some desert-dried plywood. Sighing, I bought it off the guy for three bucks and took off to find a way to cut it. It was Sunday, people weren’t cutting metal for artists.

Then, in the distance, a glimmer of hope amidst the heat waves dancing across the road. An old-timer was working on his fence, handkerchief hanging out the back pocket of his Levi’s. I knew this was my guy when our conversation evolved to swapping war stories. A fellow veteran, he reminded me of my grandpa, kind eyes that shimmered through a weathered squint.

Soon, we had that drip pan over some crates, and sparks were flying. His cut was clean, and my visions of the painting were vivid. I was laying the metal in my truck when Henry started up about two old Fords he had out back and it wasn’t long before he was showing me the girls. “1951 and ’52,” he said, “…‘51’s got a drip.”

Four years ago, Jensen made the decision to start painting full time. “Beauty lurks around just about every corner up here in northern California, especially near the coast, and ever since I moved here I felt compelled to paint it,” he explains. His decision to become a full-time artist greatly contrasts from his previous career in the United States Marine Corps. Now Jensen’s orders come from how much atmosphere and light are present on any given day. He used to
carry a rifle. Now he carries a brush.

Artist Statement: “We all start out as artists, until we decide we’re not.”

See more of Ryan’s work on his website, Facebook and Instagram.