An emphasis on drawing as the basis of painting and on trying varied styles and subjects to improve your work are key elements in a small show by Jim Cobb at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd.
“If you are not willing to change, you will not and cannot get better,” said the Norman artist, who has been easel painting for twenty years after retiring from his medical practice as a surgeon.
“I feel one should paint everything from still life to portraits, figures and landscapes,” said Cobb, who takes his own advice in his “Varied Styles in Oil Painting” show in the Governor’s Gallery.
Representing drawing as a foundation for painting well are four “life drawing” studies in conte, colored pencil and chalk on tan paper of a young woman posing or resting between poses in a ballerina’s white tutu.
Two well-handled, understated figure studies in oil, depict the head and shoulders of two different female models at a sketch group, and a third portrays a black-and-white dog, his tongue lolling, irresistibly.
Demonstrating Cobb’s mastery of the still life genre, admirably, is his oil of a vase of “Magnolias” on a table or shelf, in front of a green wall, divided by the diagonal of a shadow.
But it is Cobb’s oil landscapes that are the most visually engaging part of the exhibit.Green mountain peaks tower over an old, possibly abandoned white truck, parked or left in a field, beside a couple of rough looking, reddish-brown buildings in “Dog Town,” to name a case in point.
Almost equally dramatic is his oil of a massive, dark gray cloud, separated by a thin red line at sunset from the horizon, in a painting he calls “Evening Rock.”
Autumnal red trees, beside buildings, interact nicely with “Patchy Snow in Fall” in another mountain landscape, while the orange-crimson sail of one of three “Spanish Boats,” creates a distorted reflection.
Particularly painterly, too, and perhaps benefitting from use of a palette knife, are Cobb’s oils of green fields under blue and white, cloud-filled skies, in “Susan’s Farm” and “Midwestern Northern.”
Offering us a look at the work of an artist who believes that “high quality is more important than having a signature look or style,” the solo show is well worth visiting. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council, it runs through Dec. 9 in the capitol’s second
floor Governor’s Gallery.
Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Call 521-2931 or visit the website at www.arts.ok.gov for information.