Jay M. Kreighbaum
I live and create here in Tucson. I grew up all over America and Europe, following my father’s career in the Army and then my own in the Air Force. I started drawing when I was 13, and have kept at it. I received a BFA (Painting & Drawing) from North Texas University in 1982. I did not have the courage then to become a “starving artist." Instead, I entered the Air Force and flew fighters for 12 years and then did strategy and future capabilities work. I retired in 2011, and came to Tucson to work at Raytheon. I retired last year (2022), to pursue my deferred career (passion) in art.
My hero as a boy was Leonardo Da Vinci, because he pursued both Art and Science. I have always held a belief that pursuing these opposite disciplines, makes for a richer and more balanced whole. The tension of opposites and their accommodation, merging, and resolution is a common theme in my work.
My heartfelt conviction after producing 200 works - over 55 years is a responsibility to share my art. Please join me for a gallery and studio tour.
This is a portrait of my wife Lynn, done in Jan 2020 at home. I worked from a photograph that I was fond of taken in France. The method I use is to print out an 8×11 color photograph as well as a black and white one, and place them on either side of the portrait paper. These both help me to compose the work and attempt to get the values right.
It is on portrait paper (25×19), and I used charcoal, chalk, smudge sticks, and colored pencils to complete it.
I included this piece to show others that I can draw realistic subjects. Many people have a predisposition for representative work, and I understand that. What I hope may happen for those who favor realistic/representative art, seeing I can draw a portrait, is they become more willing to view the abstract work I do. if they follow a logic of saying, if he can do the portraits with precision and realism, perhaps he is visiting these same skills on the abstract work and it merits another look.
This is an example of what could be called a discovery piece. This is where I do not start with any intent. I simply start drawing with 0.3 Micron pens, and a 0.3 mechanical pencil, Mono Zero eraser and colored pens. I wait for a figure, a subject to emerge from the drawing, and once I recognize it, I become more intentionally minded to complete it.
I start the work on 11×17 Bristol Paper (white). And from the very beginning as I get completion points, I scan them in and create a digital file. I then import the file into Photoshop.
Once I have the piece nearly complete, I sometimes create parts from what I already have and insert them into the work at a different scale and orientation. This piece is the 1st in what is now a 6 part series chronicling the travels and adventures of Rocket Bear & Wedge. It is the origination of the characters “Rocket Bear & Wedge” (a welded two ship); see if you can find them in this piece and in The New Garden as well. 5 of the 6 in the series are on display in the gallery with pride of place.
This piece is in honor of Apollo 1 and the accident on the gantry when all three (White, Grissom, and Chaffee) of the astronauts died. I remember it happening when I was a boy of 11 in Salina KS, and it left an impression on me of sadness and respect for the astronauts. I am particularly fond of Buzz Grissom, and named the Star Base in his honor. On the bottom left of the piece I have placed the NASA Apollo One badge.
Open Studio Tour
About the Process
My art is playful, whimsical, intricate and complex in a continuously emerging design. I do traditional portraits of loved ones, and landscapes that are in a graphic style. However, these are not typical of most of my work. The majority of my work starts without intent, I have no preconceived subject in mind. I simply sit down with my Bristol paper, mechanical pencils and erasers, micron pens, and colored pencils and draw. I like to weave lines (pipes) and shapes – integrating them as I flow. This flow I believe taps into my personal unconscious and the collective unconscious (C. Jung); an awake dream. I continue to draw and solve design issues as they come up and I wait. I wait for the subject of the piece to emerge. I study the work as I go, turning it to different orientations and see if I recognize its identity.
Once I see what the drawing is about, I become a more consciously intentional partner. Now I draw to aid the subject to show as clearly as possible. This sometimes involves erasing parts of the drawing that confuses the subject. The result of the completed work is often richer than my imagination could have come up with and for this I am deeply grateful.
How to Purchase
Artwork is available during the Open Studio Tour event and by contacting me by email or phone 703-419-0121