Some friends of ours, Larry Vellani & Peg Boswell of Mebanesville, and Al & Carol Engler, would host birthday parties for Joe Thompson. That’s where I met him. What a gentle, friendly soul. At the time he was enjoying a second round of celebrity, having been rediscovered by the Carolina Chocolate Drops who were interested in learning from Thompson about black string band music.


Fiddlin’ Joe Thompson, Oil, 24 X 36, $500. 

There were many musicians that showed up at those parties and they were too photogenic to not want to paint. I did many paintings of several of them including, fiddler and banjo player Paul Mitchell, all three of the then Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lightnin’ Wells and Joe.  Those paintings are all sold, however, I kept this one in my studio. I am now ready to let it go. If you have an interest, email me. art at jude lobe . com.

Here’s an article about him when he died at the age of 93, that appeared in the New York Times.  CLICK


HORSE: Born to Run

HORSE: Born to Run, Oil on linen, 30X30.

Michelangelo was quoted as saying ‘Every block of stone has  has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” This painting indeed made that impression on me. 

My intention was to paint a picture of horses running wildly across a prairie kicking up sand. I worked on the painting changing colors and images for quite a while, but it just didn’t seem to work for me. One day I just sat down in front of it and began talking to the painting. “What do you want me to do?” I feel the spirit of the horses joy in and freedom in taking off running while at my friend’s horse farm and want to translate that on this stretched linen.

I got up and grabbed some charcoal and just began making gestures on the canvas with the intention of wiping it all out and beginning from scratch. However, as I sketched, I was compelled again to pick up my paint brush and mix up my favorite colors of siennas and ochres of which Roussillon in Provence is so famous, and a few hours later this painting of horses emerged.

Sometimes you have to stop thinking and just let feelings take over.  That can be a lot harder than one thinks.

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MOORED, Oil on masonite by Jude Lobe

MOORED, Oil on masonite by Jude Lobe

An artist’s hardest decision is deciding on a frame for the artwork. For a time, I didn’t frame paintings and they looked pretty good as long as they were deep canvases. However, I always thought the frame enhanced the art and brought the viewer’s eye more directly to the painting.

Why frame: Frames make the artwork look more professional. They protect it and make it more sturdy. A proper frame can enhance the visual allure of the artwork. And finally, what would convince most artists is framed art sells more easily.

 An easy no-brainer for deep canvases is the Floater Frames. They are fabulous for canvases and cradled boards, like the ones I use in my cold wax and oil paintings. The have a clean, contemporary look and don’t fight for attention with the art. 

My quandary: My dilemma  comes when I’m looking for a frame for a oil painting, like Moored, the oil painting of a boat moored at Hilton Head pictured above. It was done on masonite. I don’t want a too decorative frame that will detract from the artwork, but I also don’t want it too plain so that it doesn’t add anything. There lies the perplexity. And then there is the consideration of who would buy the painting and would my expenditure for an expensive frame pay off in a sale.

Why to not Frame: Then there is the idea that perhaps the frame would effect the viewer negatively. Suppose the viewer is a light maple wood person and dark mahogany has them running in the opposite direction.  It is certainly impossible to find a frame that matches every decor. And if an art buyer wants their frame to match the decor, well, that’s money the artist spent paying for a frame that flows down the drain. 

What to do: Well, for the art above, I’m asking you to give me your opinion of the three considerations I have above for the frame for Moored. Which do you prefer? I really want to know.


SEEING SIMPLICITY, Cold Wax & Oil, 18X24, by Jude Lobe

SEEING SIMPLICITY, Cold Wax & Oil, 18X24, by Jude Lobe

If someone were to ask me what I did last week or even yesterday, I couldn’t tell them. The day and week were filled with a host of extraneous errands that keep me from my list of want-to-do’s. But there isn’t any one thing I could actually say I did that made me feel I accomplished something.

I have goals and things I want to accomplish. My ultimate goal is to declutter, down-size, simplify my life and complete an artwork every day. But little extraneous “stuff” always seems to pop-up keeping me from achieving my goals. I truly think that if Einstein were still around, he would have proven that time is, in fact, moving faster. There seemed to be so much more time when I was in school, to think. To just sit and read and think.

So what does all that have to do with this cold wax and oil painting above? Well, I had turned off my cell phone and headed for the studio the other day. This cold wax and oil painting began as just basically playing around with drawing and coloring. Several layers of varying colors were squeegied on the board. Usually I alternate a light layer and dark layer. Then I began by taking a potter’s tool, a stick with smooth, somewhat pointed end, and drew lines with no pre-meditation of thought. Afterwards, I picked up my brush and  mixed different color oil paints with wax and painted in the shapes. Feeling quite relaxed with no real theme in mind, I continued adding textures, designs, and after awhile I hung the piece on the wall and I noticed the window.

It seemed to me to illuminate my feelings of late, where I have the sensation I am so busy but can’t really enumerate my accomplishments. The mood of this painting exactly expresses my sense of being overloaded and engaged in many activities that do not yield me the satisfaction or triumph of accomplishment. Oh, how I would love to be able to turn off the incoming traffic, ie: cell phones, daily routines of preparing meals, and so on, and just read, paint and garden. Like that crow peering through the window, I’m seeking simplicity in my life.

I wonder if anyone else has those feelings of wanting to escape to a quieter environment.

LAST FRUIT: cold wax and oil


LAST FRUIT: Eye on the Prize, cold wax and oil by Jude Lobe

This piece entitled, “Last Fruit” grew into thoughts of how man has misused, unappreciated, devoured, drained, wasted, worn out (well, you get the picture), the fruits of nature. But then as it neared completion, the unanswered question of ‘what do we do when resources are limited’ appeared. It perhaps will lead to a new companion piece.

When beginning a cold wax and oil piece, I have no thoughts or ideas in mind. I begin by laying down layers of color onto a prepared cradled wood panel. My palette is drawn from nature. I love the colors of the ochre clays found in Rousillon, Provence, France. I lay a few layers down first so I have a cushion in which to impress textures. Then I leave it overnight and come back to it the next day and continue adding layers of color applied with a brayer, squeegee or palette knife. Along the way I add more textures, scratch and scrape the surface and at some point it starts interacting with me. An idea will begin to form.

Working in cold wax and oil has so many benefits. For some reason, the oil paint mixed with the cold wax has less offensive odor. The finish is a lovely matte, that when buffed has a silky look to it. And the most wonderful thing about it is it dries to touch in 1-3 days. When I finish a painting, I can take it to the gallery in 3 or 4 days, rather than 3 months waiting for an oil painting to cure. The cold wax and oil painting will continue to cure, but it is dry and odorless in a few days.

The cold wax and oil painting, Last Fruit, is now in the exhibit 22 SQUARED at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, 121 N. Churton St., Hillsborough, NC. 919-732-5001. Come GET SQUARED. Jan 27 – Feb 23.

Click image to visit site.


MEDITATION, Cold Wax and Oil painting by Jude Lobe

With Cold Wax & Oil, you are building up layers. The beginning layers allow a cushion to impress your base textures some of which may or may not be visible in the final stages. You can obscure some parts of layers with painting over with brushes, brayers, scrapers, etc., and reveal layers beneath by scraping, applying solvents, scratching (sgraffito), etc.

It’s a process of adding and subtracting. Along the way, your vision will begin to appear.

You can add materials like fabrics, metal, papers, and so on and embed them in the layers or make it more 3-D.

To me, working in Cold Wax and Oil represents the history of a life that becomes the compilation of bits and pieces of one’s past experiences.

This piece on the left includes an enameled piece of copper, a patinaed copper and etched copper (the water lily).  Click on the image to visit my website. And feel free to comment on this blog.


R U Frackin’ Me, Cold Wax & Oil, with Copper, painting by Jude Lobe.

Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a technique in which typically water is mixed with sand and chemicals, and the mixture is injected at high pressure into a wellbore to create small fractures, along which fluids such as gas, petroleum, uranium-bearing solution, and brine water may migrate to the well.

Fracking has been in the news a lot recently, most recently with the water contamination in West Virginia. Environmental groups alleged that the spill is part of an increasingly dangerous chemical threat called “fracking” – using chemicals to mine hard rock for oil and natural gas. Investigators in West Virginia found that the released chemical (4-methylcyclohexane methanol )had traveled through the ground and into the Elk River, leaching into the water just a mile above the West Virginia American Water Company plant that supplies large parts of the region with clean water.

The chemical was legally stored ib tanks located upstream from the drinking water intake. It was contained in “rusty and old” tanks. Safety concerns related to MCHM and other chemicals used by the coal industry have been raised before.

Fracking could possibly exercised safely, if, and that’s a big IF, there was regular enforcement and safe restrictions applied. However, the local governments and US congress don’t seem to want to put any pressures on those companies that made significant contributions to their elections, in my opinion. Which, to me, doesn’t seem to make much sense, because they drink, bathe, and cook with the same water the rest of us do. You would think they’d want to be sure there would be no contamination and if something did occur like in West Virginia, there was a plan in place to deal with the disaster.

So all this talk about Fracking had me working on the above piece, which I call “R U FRACKIN’ ME“. It is a Cold Wax & Oil painting of an abstract landscape at the top, with heat-torched and forged copper beneath and river rocks affixed to the copper and substrate. It is presently displayed at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Hillsborough, NC. Hillsborough Gallery is now featuring a show, RIVER, which displays artworks from Orange County Artist Guild members that were part of the book, RIVER. Original artwork from the book and the book are on sale. All proceeds go to the Haw River Assembly.

The Haw River Assembly is a 501(c)(3) non-profit citizens’ group founded in 1982 to restore and protect the Haw River and Jordan Lake, and to build a watershed community that shares this vision The scenic 110 mile Haw River is at the headwaters of the Cape Fear River Basin.