Chuck Jones and the California Watercolor Movement

We ran across this photograph the other day on our way to something else (as usually happens) and delighted in what it said about Chuck Jones' passion for drawing and painting every day of his life.

Chuck Ford Consul 1961
On May 1, 1960 we find Chuck Jones sitting on the back of his 1960 Ford Consul convertible (this car was made in England by Ford Motor Co. and sold in limited release in the U.S.) up in the high desert outside of Los Angeles with his watercolor paints in a tool kit as he contemplates a work-in-progress (or has he completed it?  We're not sure.)  Which put us in mind of two watercolors of the high desert vistas that he did complete: 

GICLEE151 copy

"Joshua Tree," a watercolor on paper (18" x 28") by Chuck Jones was completed around the same time as the photograph.  His classical training really shines through in a work such as this; his facility with the medium is without peer and reminiscent of the California watercolorists such as Phil Dike (who worked at one time for Walt Disney Studios) and Millard Sheets, both of whom taught at Chuck's alma mater, Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts in Valencia.)

GICLEE-154 copy
"Storm Clouds" watercolor on paper (20" x 30") by Chuck Jones again indicates his familiarity with the California watercolor movement with its emphasis on color, form and the landscape of the state.  This movement was defined by a large format, expressive brush work and strong colors (you can read more about the movement by clicking here.)  You can see in both works how Jones used the white of the paper as a color and form, another attribute of the movement.  

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