John McClelland’s Untitled 16 is watercolor, crayon on paper.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: JOHN McCLELLAND
John McClelland has only been active in the Center for the Arts studio for a relatively short time, but he is quickly finding his voice. From the start his subject matter has been mainly confined to cars and houses. He prefers to present them in starkly iconic silhouettes. When working with drawing materials, oil pastels or colored pencils, he chooses to lay the image on top of a white background, placing even more emphasis on its pared down form.
McClelland also places a premium on the expressive and tactile qualities of his art. His pigments are always applied thickly, sometimes building up multiple layers of the same color within the outlines of the image he is working on. In his drawings this results in emotionally charged forms which display a depth of coloration unobtainable in any other way. Details are perceived only by following the contours of the strokes within the unbroken color fields he has created.
The same is true in his acrylic paintings. However, he approaches his paintings differently. Rather than a white background, McClelland always provides his paintings with solidly colored backgrounds of either one or two colors, separated by a horizon line. As his colors are always undiluted and rather dark, it is sometimes difficult for the eye to find separation between the foreground forms and the background. A breakthrough came when McClelland began to draw on top of the paintings with oil pastels. Not only was a needed degree of separation obtained, but the pastel tended to cling to the ridges of his brushstrokes, revealing their expressive power even further.