Jerry Dame looks at everything with the eye of an artist. Not to imagine a painting necessarily. But to see how the light falls on an object, or the shadow defines the shape. Looking just for the joy of seeing and appreciating what is in view.
“Beauty is everywhere. Not just pretty stuff, but genuine, breathtaking, beauty.”
Why do you paint?
“I remember driving by one of the many fields in our area. It was November and the days were grey. The clouds parted for just a moment and let the sun light a few plants that are part of a windbreak. I would have missed it but I glanced to my left just in time to enjoy the scene. Then it was gone. That scene lifted the rest of my day. So I shared it by doing an oil painting.
I realized this is why I paint… To share what has lifted me up.”
Jerry paints what interests him. As a kid it was surfing, old cars, boats, airplanes, landscapes. No one thing in particular but everything in general was fair game. “It seems like almost all things have interesting qualities if you look for a bit”. “A painting done well draws attention to the beauty of the object”.
So we see still life paintings and portraits on his easel as well as animals and the great outdoors. Recently a collector came to Jerry at a showing and wanted to by one painting in particular. It was a small still life of a bible and a folded letter. It was for her husband who had tears in his eyes the moment he saw it. “It touched me that this painting had special meaning for her husband”.
“Just a few minutes of painting with understanding is better than a full day of wandering with a truckload of paint on the canvas!”
“When I was very little, sitting on my dad’s lap, I drew an airplane. It was the usual child’s drawing as if you had stepped on the airplane and flattened all the parts. Dad demonstrated what you could do by foreshortening the wings. Giving the drawing a more realistic look. I was so amazed!” recalls Jerry.
Early influences include the Disney artists, Church’s painting of Niagra Falls , the Hudson River school, Remmington, Whyeth, Michael Coleman, Robert Bateman. “Like the person at the academy awards-there are so many you don’t want to leave anyone out.” The world of artists began to open up to Jerry as he discovered the Los Angels Art Museum. “Historic masters from the world over right in from of our eyes.”