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Echoes of the past reverberate in style of San Juan's art | Guest Colum
By Teddy Deane
In the last article I asked the question “Is there a San Juans Style?”
I was (am) looking for something that sets all of our art here apart from anywhere else and gives it a special meaning or character. I got several replies, including one from San Juan County Arts Council member Thrinley DiMarco, which I’ve excerpted below.
Hopefully I can address other replies in upcoming articles.
“The past history of the Skagit Valley area was a loosely knit group of mystical painters and sculptors. They didn't particularly like being called mystics but their work certainly did give that feeling. I think the soft light, the mists and diffuse lighting, nature, the influence of the symbolism of the first people's of the land all had a very big influence.
Here in the San Juans we aren't isolated from the rest of the world, so we are aware of what the rest of the artistic world is doing... However, I do think that all of the above considerations have a stronger influence.
I find myself still looking intently at the cloud formations in the sky and the many moods of the water, the plant life, the rocks and natural forms all around me. I still want to celebrate them; call others into the circle of magic and mystery and join in the celebration!
When my sculptures are successful, I feel as though they grow from the earth itself and that they recall images and myths that reach back to the earliest times. I see my latest work as powerful, simple and organic, like beautiful stones or bones. The images come from a lifetime of observing how nature has worked the earth and how those ancient people I feel so connected to have spoken of their lives and to their gods.”
Please send me your thoughts on Art coming from the San Juans, and if you’re an artist, how living here has influenced you and/or your work.
—Teddy Deane is president of San Juan County Arts Council