Thursday, July 7, 2016

Southern artist Jaime Ortega brings nature into focus

When fine artist Jaime Ortega picks up his brush, he most often calls on images of nature to populate his work. Whether he’s painting an impressive buck or a detailed image of one of the many nuts which become omnipresent in autumn, he brings nature to life with vivid colors and original perspectives. As one of the artists of Artists’ Galleries de Juneau in Slidell’s Olde Towne, he displays work on many surfaces. From a giant saw blade to wooden artist palettes, he will not be limited to a single size or shape.

His newest project, the nut images, are on 16 X 20 inch canvases. He shares pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and more, turning a treat for the mouth into a treat for the eyes.
Ortega’s first painting dates back to when he was six years old. His mother, an artist in her own right, told her children to paint something. He painted a nautical scene from World War II with a battleship under attack by airplanes. He continued painting throughout his school career, in advanced art classes. Following high school, he attended New Orleans Art Institute for more than two years until joining the U.S. Army.

After his military service, he spent time in the convention industry as an artist, designing the convention and show settings. He found the sharp edges necessary in much of the work bothersome.

“I never did like my draftsman side,” he observes, preferring to soften edges in his work to draw the viewer deeper into the piece rather than breaking the sweep of view with a hard edge or angle. His work is inspired by the Impressionists and his aspiration is to feel that he paints as well as the historic figures of the movement.

“There are color changes but no linear delineations between any two objects in a painting,” he explains. “From the background to the girl’s skirt, it just changes colors. And then that skirt has to change colors as it goes around the light and then back to the background on the other side.”

Although born in New Orleans, Ortega now lives in rural Mississippi where he can study his favorite subject, nature, at will. Art fans can look forward to more images of natural wonder from him.

Originally appearer 12/14/2015 at

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