Though I was familiar with the online portfolio of California based plein air painter Jim Wodark (pronounced “wood-ark”), and already had him on my list for a post, I had the opportunity recently to meet the artist and attend a demo he gave at the recent Wayne Plein Air Festival here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Wodark was the juror for this year’s event and in addition to judging the event and conducting a workshop, he gave a free demo in which he painted a copy (images above, bottom) of one of his existing paintings (second from bottom) over the course of about two hours.
As he worked he discussed his process, and also talked about some of the artists, both historic and contemporary, who have influenced him, including Ken Auster and Richard Schmid.
Wodark has a crisp, vibrant style, in which he demonstrates a deft touch with both value contrasts and variation in edges. He also experiments with composition, at times pushing elements out of the typical “safe” areas of the canvas in which many artists work, leaving large areas of foreground, for example, in the manner of Degas or Caillebotte.
His subjects include rocky and mountainous western landscapes, as well as costal views and seascapes, urban subjects, scenes from his travels in Europe and occasionally still life or figurative works.
Wodark participates in a number of regional shows and plein air events around the country each year, garnering awards in his wake.
There is a podcast conversation with Wodark from 2011 on Artists Helping Artists (the interview starts about 5 minutes in).