Alchemy in Color

At home: SJ Island painter Scott Salsbury  - Contributed photo
At home: SJ Island painter Scott Salsbury
— image credit: Contributed photo

If you've been wondering what Scott Salsbury has been up to lately, well, you're not alone. But even better, you're in luck.

That's because more than two dozen new paintings by Salsbury, whose distinctive use of color and shape has earned him many an admirer over the years, will be on display when a month-long exhibit by the uniquely talented San Juan Island artist debuts in the lobby of San Juan Community Theatre on the longest day of the year.

"I'm really, really glad that he's having this show," said longtime friend and fan Trinley DiMarco, an accomplished sculptor in her own right. "His art come from a very deep personal place. I'm excited to see what he has that's new."

Scott SalsburyBetter yet, the artist will be in the house to offer insight about this latest compilation of creativity, entitled "Dreams of Color," at the exhibit's opening reception, June 21, 5-8 p.m.

Salsbury says several pieces in this new collection, which includes 22 oil pastes and five acrylics, may seem to some like a bit of a departure from his previous work.

"I think there's some new and interesting work in it," he said of the 28-piece exhibit. "I guess you might say it's a lot more evolved, and in some ways more of a compact design than I've worked with before."

Born and raised in Edmonds, Salsbury got bit by the art bug early in life and has been putting color to canvas since his teens. He studied art through a California College of the Arts extension program and in Patzquaro Mexico as well, and his artwork has been featured in several earlier exhibits, locally and in Seattle and in Mexico.

He hails from an artistic family as well. His father, Allen Salsbury, was one of the most highly acclaimed interior designers Seattle has ever known, and brother Stephen and sister Susanna are gifted artists in their own right, he says.

While creativity may be in the blood, Salsbury, now 60, finds inspiration in the bold, bright works of ground-breaking Latin American artists such as the late Rufino Tamayo and Wifredo Lam, as well as in the simple, ordinary images, elements and artifacts of everyday island life. In fact, he describes the creative process that propels his art as a modern-day stroke on the ancient art of alchemy, the transformation of something common into something special.Scott Salsbury

"I'm a spur of the moment kind of guy, I like to do things spontaneously," Salsbury says, "but with this show coming up I've been planning a bit more.  I don't know really how to describe the paintings. I guess maybe something like 'crazy jazz art'."

In the end, however, it's not a label that defines a signature "Salsbury", its the unique blend of images and shapes, and without question, it's in the color.


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