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Fri, Oct. 18

Guest column: Williams art scene round-up

Thank you

A nod of gratitude to the Williams Alliance for the Arts and Old Trails True Value for their continuing support of art for the young ones. It's how the old ones become artists.


Grand Canyon's Kolb Studio is known for the quality, creativity and diversity of its art exhibitions, but until recently most of them had to be hung on a temporary basis, returned to artist or storage on completion of the exhibit.

In recent years an effort by the Grand Canyon Association (GCA) to acquire original works has contributed to their holdings, but not to the space necessary to exhibit and/or store them.

The goal to develop a permanent art venue within the park persisted. Several years ago the group, following an "aha" moment, decided to let the artists help. This year, beginning Sept. 12, GCA and Arizona Public Service (APS) will sponsor the 7th annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. The idea is simple: if demand existed for a particular artist or genre, would not that demand be enhanced if the work could be seen being produced?

From Sept. 12-18, 26 of the country's most prominent landscape artists will participate in a plein air painting exhibition throughout the park, answering questions while committing their interpretations to canvas. The finished works will be sold, with the proceeds supporting the permanent art venue. Exhibit and sale will be Sept. 20 through Jan. 18.

Scratching out a painting

Art is in the eye of the beholder. Those who behold Joseph Robertson's art are left wondering how he can create wildlife and western images so starkly realistic with only a piece of black board and a tool that is little more than an elongated needle.

The art is called scratchboard, originated more than 300 years ago in Europe. The board, similar to Masonite, begins as a clear slab which is then coated with brilliant white kaolin clay, and a cover layer of solid black India ink. This three-layer surface then becomes the artist's canvas, subject to the vision and the skill of the one wielding the needle.

The outline of the image is transferred to the board's surface, and the artist begins revealing the complete image by carving down through the layer of India ink, perodically building up with applications of diluted ink.

Because of the extreme contrast between the flat black surface and the reflective brilliance of the kaolin clay, the completed etching often projects a dramatic, almost 3-D quality.

Robertson's work can be seen at The Gallery in Wiliams.

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