Thursday, 4/1/10: Travis Dodson

Thanks to guest writer Sally Murdoch King for today’s posting

What a great way to start this month-long event! Travis Dodson helped kicked things off with an acrylic painting on a wooden panel provided by Muse Art and Design. It’s easy to see why this Texas native turned Oregonian is making art his full-time profession. As well as being an artist, Travis is the owner of DeNada Gallery on SE 12th and Division and there are some things you’ll need to know about Travis and his love for nature that you can appreciate when viewing his artwork.
Travis began making art as a 4 year old. His mother is an artist and encouraged his emerging artistic talent. At the age of eight, Travis moved with his family from the brushy and barren landscape of Texas to Oregon, where they settled in ZigZag, Oregon in a house by a creek. His new home made a idyllic setting for tree forts and play houses constructed from fallen branches, moss and fern fronds, and this greenery set his imagination on fire. “green is my favorite color,” he says. “In color therapy, it’s known as a balancing color.”
When in middle school in Sandy, Travis began “getting into a lot of trouble.” Teachers and his parents saw his art aptitude and and channeled his energies there. They sent him to a two-week overnight youth camp in Salem called YMA and he turned more to art than he did trouble. His favorite medium is acrylic on board. All boards he uses are usually found, reclaimed, and repurposed. His favorite artwork is Chinese landscape painting (see image with sketchbook) which he attributes to his mom having lived in Japan before he was born and bringing her japanese art books back to the US.
Today, Travis began with a treated wood and spray painted panel, and he set up an easel with his sketchpad, open to a house in a pen and ink sketch done recently.  With the sketch in view and one earbud in his ear playing hip hop, jazz and electronica beats and instrumentals, Travis began to recreate the sketch in acrylic paint. He said he is inspired by the work of the City Repair Project, houses that have been abandoned, reclaimed and overgrown by nature. Seeing these take him back to life as a ten year old with the Mt Hood National Forest as his backyard.
Travis’s acrylic painting began with hues of brown and gold, applied with brushes and acrylics he brought. He also tried and liked M. Graham’s acrylic, in white, umbers, and orange iron oxide which he used to highlight the doorways in his fantasy treehouse. With the warm amber tones down, he took a break and walk to get ready for the greens to take shape. Later he will add pen, pencil and charcoal.
After the break came Travis’ favorite part of painting with acrylics–adding in the green leaves and mosses which he paints with delicate precision. The last image shows Travis’ piece as of the end of the day.  We’ll post an update with a picture of the finished work.
UPDATE, 4/5/10: The last photo shows Travis’ finished piece.

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