SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
Tess Corrinne Jordan is a busy artist. So busy, in fact, that she rarely has time to let anyone know about it. But somehow they find out anyway.
Since dubbing herself a “professional painter” in 2003, the Arkansas native can count on one hand the number of solo exhibitions she’s held to display her work. Yet she’s one of the most popular artists at Diane West Jewelry & Art on Main Avenue, both among customers and the gallery’s owner.
“Her work has very broad appeal,” West said of Jordan. “Tess is probably a little more whimsical and playful than most of my artists, and I like that component a lot.”
West gave her blessing for Jordan to hang about 25 new works at the Lost Dog Bar & Lounge, where she’ll be the featured artist for the kind-of-monthly Art Spectacle at the Main Avenue eatery. The Lost Dog is quickly becoming a desired alternative venue where artists can introduce their works to a new and ever-changing audience.
“I want all of my artists to succeed and I do whatever I can to help them promote themselves. This seems like an easy win-win,” West said.
Jordan is a prolific painter whose day job might explain her light and almost minimalist style. As the owner of Jordan Design Consulting, she acts as a go-between for architects and contractors on new home construction and remodels. There is more pressure in that kind of job, so a portfolio of “playful” paintings sounds like a nice release.
“I am thinking about every little detail when I do a home project – an architect can say where the fireplace goes but not how it fits into the design of the room,” Jordan said. “I do a full color palette of the interior and exterior so everything works together.”
Jordan is probably best known in Durango for her series of bicycle paintings, but she tends to work in phases, and the bikes are currently on the back burner. She recently returned from a road trip to the mid-Atlantic coast including North Carolina and Virginia, and her latest series depicts many of the older structures, such as barns, shacks and older, dilapidated homes of that region.
“I explore something until I get inspired by something else, and I was almost overwhelmed sketching those old falling-down buildings,” Jordan said. “Painting for me is truly just seeing things again. It’s my memory of how something looked and felt. You see what used to be and what it is now. I love that feeling.”
The paint will barely be dry on the final additions to her Lost Dog show, but Jordan has already launched into her next project. Her upcoming series of figurative paintings of nudes is under way, and she’s looking for models to help increase the collection. West is looking forward to hanging the new work on her gallery walls.
“I think we’re excited about her testing the waters with this figurative work. I think it has a lot of potential. The style’s similar, but it’s a big change in subject matter for her,” West said.
For Jordan, it is a new source of inspiration and one that should produce another cache of unique – and head-turning paintings.