48 Ashland Gallery Guide
J AY GORDO N
Six small watercolors are on the
wall; six heads of faceted deer with
antlers. Jay Gordon used a computergenerated
deer head image showing
the planes of the 3-D shape six times,
each in a different color study. She
was looking for a way to assign color
to a facet rather than blending colors
that overlap over a curving surface.
She showed 14 sheets of color
studies, using Mary Whyte’s palette,
methodically blending two colors at a
time, 14 times, in rows of varying color
patches. It is a thorough investigation
of color combinations for future
reference, and an approach that belies
her many years in academia.
After studying piano and woodwinds
in high school, she received a degree
in music at the University of Oregon
in bass. She worked in electric and
acoustic bass as a freelance musician,
then she moved to Manhattan to
attend Columbia Medical School. She
got her degree in Pediatrics and did
NYU and Belleview.
She did pediatric work after moving
to Washington D.C., where she raised
her two boys. The free public art
museums are where she extended her
art education. Jay found the docent
tour programs through the museums’
big shows to be marvelous and
edifying. Some of her favorites are
John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper,
Edgar Degas, and Andrew Wyeth.
She also mentioned the “Japonisme”
movement, the aesthetic developed
in the cultural exchange between the
Impressionists and the Japanese art
students who went to Paris to study,
and ostensibly were studied by their
colleagues, and generations later by
Jay herself. She signs artworks with
her “chop” identifier, and was drawn to
Japanese prints, and printmaking too,
at the museums.
Both of her parents are creative, and
her younger son (15) draws a lot. Her
father is a ceramic artist—his jars
and bowls were set up for still life in
her studio. Her mother is a writer. Jay
moved to Oregon to be closer to them
in Salem. Jay was born in D.C. Her
family moved to Lander, Wyoming,
staying through her elementary school
years, whereupon they moved to Old
Town, Maine for her dad to enter
architecture school. She has lived in
Ashland for two and a half years so far,
and has her studio at Enclave since
the summer of 2018.
She has really enjoyed being there and
seeing all the different techniques and
mediums by the artists around her.
She takes classes with Gabriel Lipper,
the primary instructor at Enclave, and
is enjoying more exposure to oils.
She finds it to be changeable. It can be
precise or messy, textural, and malleable.
Its colors remain true, and she feels
that it is the best at extending drawing
into color painting. She showed six-inch
oil panels, exercises in speed painting,
allowing only 45 minutes on each.
Oil is great for this, to understand its
Jay feels strongly that drawing is
fundamental; an artist can communicate
anything by drawing, in any medium.
Watercolor is sensitive and requires
patience. She likes acrylic for multimedia
works like collage. Further down
her studio exhibit wall are four pieces
themed on the Chinese zodiac, each
with a central iconic head of a zodiac
animal also using the faceted matrix like
the deer. Their backgrounds are a grid
...drawing is fundamental;
an artist can communicate
anything by drawing,
in any medium.