A born artist spreads his wings
Contributed photo, Oro Valley painter and jazz singer Joe Bourne stands with some of his paintings that now hang in various art venues.

Inspiration for creativity comes from many sources – often through people, places and nature. Visual artist Joe Bourne sees things differently. While the desert, mountains and animals regularly show up in his art, he once found his muse in a weather map, leading to a painting titled "Ahead of the Curve."

"I was watching the weather on the Internet and the map used different color codes for temperatures," Bourne said. "They had blues and purples that reached out to me. I had a large canvas and didn't know what to do, so I incorporated the colors I saw and used those for my palette."

This was a new direction for Bourne, who otherwise uses predominantly warm colors.

"Most of my paintings are in red, orange and yellow," he said. "They're the ones I reach for first. I liked the weather map because it allowed me to reach for another color first."

Many Oro Valley residents know Bourne as a jazz and pop singer. Fewer have experienced his talent as a fine artist who likes to work with acrylics, encaustics, metals and a combination of media. But he's recently increased his visibility in this arena with exhibits at three Tucson area venues.

A gig at Green Valley's Community Performing Arts Center, with its theater and art gallery located in one building, was a perfect fit for Bourne, allowing him to show both sides of his artistic face. An opening reception in February and a concert nine days later were bookends for his first one-man art show.

Next he headed for Toscana Studio & Gallery in Oro Valley, where owner Linda Ahearn accepted nine pieces on consignment, two of which stand in the gallery's garden. Bourne's art will be on display there throughout the summer.

His work also is displayed at Tohono Chul Park, with eight paintings in La Galeria shop and two at La Fuente gift shop.

While entertaining on a cruise ship in the mid-nineties, Bourne took a painting class that introduced him to watercolors. After moving to Arizona and being exposed to other media, he shifted his emphasis to acrylics.

"I've stuck with it ever since," he said. "And while doing that, I wanted to create a signature and began incorporating metal into the artwork. In early 2009 I was exposed to encaustics — painting with beeswax — so I weave in and out of encaustics and acrylic."

He also began as a realist painter, but said he didn't have the patience for it, wanting the process to happen fast. These days he concentrates on abstracts or mixes the two.

While the economy is affecting art lovers' purchasing decisions, Bourne said there is a strategy to help buyers.

"Some artists are offering to sell their works on layaway," he said. "It helps stimulate sales for artwork. The time varies for each, but most try for six months."

Bourne's full collection can be viewed at www.joebourne.com.

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