Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Memoriam Jerry Power, PSA

Jerry Power passed away in September 2009. This post is a tribute to him, and an encouragement to all to view his achievement. I don’t know how long the site can remain online without maintenance, but I would urge you to see his paintings before the opportunity is lost forever.
Note: As of this revision, January 2012, this website no longer exists.
Jerry Power started painting in 1989, when his wife signed him up for a pastel class, but he became a serious painter 10 years later after retiring from a management position with Ameritech. He belonged to several art organizations including the Great Lakes Pastel Society, and the Michigan Plein Air Painters. He was proud to be a master painter with the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Association, a signature member of The Pastel Society of America, and a member of the Master Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies.

Jerry loved to teach. This is what he had to say about the undertaught art of squinting:

I found squinting to be the most important technique that I use. It was never taught and isn't really a part of any how-to-draw-and-paint publications. Maybe it can't be taught and just has to come from experience. Squinting down your subject sounds simple, but it takes awhile to understand what it really means. There are degrees of squinting and different approaches, depending on what you are squinting for. Are you squinting to determine shades and patterns? Are you looking for movement or an abstract design? Clarifying color value or the right temperature? Deciding on composition, blocking out distractions, softening edges, establishing contrasts? Or are you just making a busy scene appear simple?

Believe me, squinting is the best tool. I have seen artists or students squint when they start a painting because they were told they should, and after they have started the painting, never squint again. If you continue to use the squinting process while you paint, you can help keep your center of interest from getting lost. You know where to keep your sharpest contrasts. You won't lose the basic design and movement of space and form. It will keep you from losing your measurements, which may have been covered over. Squinting really helps you choose the soft and hard edges that make a painting work.

The quote above comes from American Artist, March 2003.

In the April 2009 issue of The Pastel Journal, Robert K. Carsten devoted an article to Jerry Power on the occasion of his being awarded the Art Spirit Foundation/Dianne Bernhard Silver Medal Award for Excellence.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing Mr. Power's website and his insight on squinting ;). Because of your post, I will meet a new artist and learn something new today.


  2. Jerry Power is an inspiration to me. I am on the cusp of retirement from my day job, and if in retirement I can achieve a fraction of what Jerry achieved I will be content.

  3. I am deeply saddened to learn of Jerry's passing. I had the pleasure of being one of his students at Thoreson Farms on the Leelanau Peninsula. I learned so much from him and enjoyed every minute. I will pay him homage by using the techniques I learned and continue to enjoy every minute!