For Jerry Baron, painting is about finding the subject and expressing it through color. “Painting, for me, is like a discovery process,” he says. “I need to maintain a spontaneous attitude about my painting. I’m a colorist. I think in terms of color rather than content.”
Like many of his paintings, Polly and Her Pet in the Park revealed itself to Baron. The 56-inch by 48-inch painting began as a piece of print paper attached to an 8-foot by 5-foot piece of thick glass on the wall of his North Bend, Ore., studio. With pastels, Baron, 73, scribbles shapes and forms onto the paper, smears it with water and lets it dry and tighten overnight.
“In the morning I go back and look to see what’s in there—what’s on the paper,” he says. “In this case, I saw Polly in there somewhere. The painting itself dictates its evolution.” Once he’s found the subject, he uses colorful acrylic paints to bring it to life.
Despite being voted CLASS ARTIST at his high school in Binghamton, N.Y., Baron, a self-taught artist, didn’t take up painting until 1980. He spent the intervening years in the Air Force, studying Japanese at the University of California at Berkeley, and working as a journalist, editor and publisher. In 1989, he retired as publisher of the Coos Bay World in Coos Bay, Ore., to paint full-time. “I had no guarantees of any kind that I’d succeed, but I knew I had to paint, so I quit and started painting,” he says. Polly and her Pet at the Park costs $1,500. Most of Baron’s paintings range from $500 to $2,000.