[click "Play" to hear Susan's conversation with Jan Sitts]
This summer, Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts offers a series of immersions featuring talented artists from all over the country. The first of these in-depth workshops takes place June 9 – June 11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Ah Haa’s Stone Building, 117 North Willow.
In “Texture, Color, Feeling,” students get to explore a variety of materials, textures and surfaces to create a finished image on canvas. The emphasis is on process, rather than the finished product, an abstract image, meant to be a surprise. Using white papers and textured materials to layer and imbed, plus paints and inks, the end result should have a dynamic sculptural effect.
Your instructor is Jan Sitts, a Sedona-based art instructor and professional painter for 35+ years.
For Sitts, rather than the ends justifying the means, the means are the end. Sitts, then, is the natural offspring of the “Action Painters” of the late-1940s and 1950s, a group which included Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko.
Action painting as defined by art critic Harold Rosenburg many moons ago is a means of giving free expression to an artist’s instinctive creative forces. In this context, the act of painting – the action – is more significant than the finished work. (Although not for nothing, Denver fought hard for the right to put up a museum, now under construction, honoring the work of Action Painter Clyfford Still.) For this group of artists – and descendants such as Sitts – images rise up from the paints and other materials.
“For me, experimental art is the process of putting together materials on the various surfaces while responding to the outcome as an idea. This idea may be a process that will be carried from one painting to the next,” explains Sitts. “Each time I paint, something new is added through layered papers, various mediums, and textures. It is when the outcome of the painting becomes predictable… this is when I move on to the next. Seldom do I begin with a conscious idea. The white surface of the paper, or textured paper, along with mixed media are the building tools of the painting…The idea will follow as the painting evolves.”
Sitts received a BA in art from Western State College, Gunnison, Colorado, and further training at the Kansas City Art Institute. In a career spanning over three decades, she evolved into an accomplished commercial and fine artist. Her recently published book is “Texture, Color, Feeling.”
To learn more about the artist, click the “play” button and listen to Sitts’s interview.