A Chat with Jim Wodark
This week, I had the pleasure of talking with Jim Wodark. He is so friendly and open, and I was very excited to get to know a little more about his background and perspective on art.
Jim Wodark’s Artistic Background
As a child, Jim loved to draw. His father had kept drawings from his own childhood and Jim would try to copy them, right down to the same folding and taping. Jim’s mother had a degree in Fine Art, so he had an artistic “influence on both ends.”
Jim ran his own cartooning business for fifteen years before really getting into painting. At one point, he created cartoon maps of college campuses. He credits that experience with teaching him how to talk to people and market his work.
Later, his wife was in a watercolor class and Jim played a little with watercolors. He also dabbled in acrylics, but when he took a plein air oils class, he knew “this was the medium I was trying to get to!”
When he and his wife started a family, Jim quit cartooning and stayed home with his son. He “could see [painting] long term,” so he was able to pursue it.
Now, he’s been painting for 20 years and doesn’t plan on ever stopping.
The Most Important Element
I asked Jim what he thinks is the most important element to his work. “Composition is the biggest thing, but it really goes hand-in-hand with emotion. Why am I painting this? If you can compose a painting well, it will be more successful. The goal of a work of art is to share emotion, eliciting that same emotional reaction that drew you in.”
Personally, when looking through some of his works, I was captivated by a piece titled, “Monuments of Gold.” After hearing Jim talk about composition, I went back to this painting to see the role composition plays in creating that response. The bright, towering plateaus dwarf the riders in such majesty, that I am completely drawn in. Check it out here: http://jimwodark.com/workszoom/3070235#/
Having the chance to see a piece hung in a house, changing the feel of the room and the environment is a great experience for any artist, I would say. He told me about a time that he took a small 9×12 nocturne of riders to someone with an expansive art collection. “It was an honor that he was so moved by mine. Inspiring people and bringing beauty into their lives is one of the main reasons I do this.”
Finding Your Passion
While helpful, Jim’s marketing degree wasn’t exactly his passion. “The sooner you get in touch with your passion, the better you’ll be because you have the time to work on it.” We talked about how a fine arts degree might have been better, but everything you do leads to where you are now. He found his passion, and he finds joy in helping others find theirs.
This week, we have the pleasure of hosting Jim Wodark at Tubac School of Fine Art. Find out more about this workshop and others here: https://www.tubacschooloffineart.org
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