Oz, an American Fairy Tale

by Art West a.k.a. Alan Heuer

40" x 50" oil painting on linen

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About this Painting
"Oz, An American Fairy Tale" based on L. Frank Baum's classic tale, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" began in 2006 as an homage to my late mother, who was an avid reader of classic literature with a special fondness for the books of L. Frank Baum. She introduced me to his marvelous tales and was especially fond of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". The painting was initially titled "The Other Side of Oz II" and entered into the Taos Fall Arts Festival in 2007.

Later the painting was re-worked (2015), signed Art West. and named "Oz, An American Fairy Tale". Most of the re-work was superficial only, that is nothing was added or taken away, except for changes in value and color to increase the sense of depth from fore to back, especially with regards to the yellow road and emerald city.

Another digital only version also exists as "Once Upon a Time in Taos", or "Trucks in Oz", that includes trucks on the yellow road.

This is a composite of numerous paintings, sketches and photographs from Taos to Denver.

Any similarity to any other fairy tale city realized or imaginary is purely coincidental.

Just over the mountains of northern New Mexico lies an odd little rural city of peculiar shapes and sizes. It used to be made of Adobe. But, something peculiar happened. And although it's rather like that other odd city just beyond Kansas it is not that place, although one might be fooled by its high green spires. But the roads are paved in yellow cobblestone not brick. And it's the sort of place where tourists roam about and folks speak Spanish and Tewa and the gringos float around in balloons. I say it's an American Fairy Tale, a parody of both Taos and Oz as it's really neither, though some might argue they both exist somewhere over the rainbow.

Although my paintings have a certain surrealistic, almost fantasy type quality, I do work with reference material. For me what I have seen and where I have been are a necessary part of the creative process. I take a lot of photographs. "An American Fairy Tale" began with a photograph I took in Taos, which I did first as a small 8 x 10, "Early Morning Dusting of Snow" which became "Apricot Lane" which became "Once Upon a Time in Taos" with a cobblestone road. I also used "Dancing Trees" from a small sketch I did near the Taos High School. For the Fairy Tale City itself I used photographs I had taken near the Denver Art Museum to "grow" the imaginary city. The balloon was from the Taos Balloon festival. If you look closely, you will find the scarecrow done in paint, rather than ink as first penned by W. W. Denslow in the original book by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and in the public domain since 1956, fully two years before I was born. Although I could have invented my own scarecrow as I did the city (with deference to Denver), I decided it good to add Denslow's scarecrow for the historical significance as it serves to place the painting firmly in the 20th Century where it belongs. And this is an American fairy tale after all.

These were my main visual references for the large 40 x 50 canvas.

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    Art James West - "Art West" - Contemporary Southwest Art
    Visionary, Colorful, Whimsical - Landscapes of the West and Beyond

    Art James West, award winning Taos Icon and contemporary southwest artist. Art considers himself a post-modern, American visionary and romantic who paints with a touch of socio-political commentary and humor that includes colorful visionary landscapes of the West and beyond--large conceptual oil paintings he coined as utopic displacement. Raised in Wyoming, Art has been painting in oils for over 40 years and is now PainTing BADass Color in Albuquerque with a working artist studio / gallery in downtown Santa Fe on San Francisco Street - Art West Studio. In 2000 he moved from New York City to Taos, New Mexico where he established himself as a Taos Icon and post Taos modernist following in the tradition of the Taos School. In 2006 he won best representational painting at the Taos Fall Arts Festival "Taos Invites Taos" (now the "Taos Select"). He is represented by several galleries around the west including Scottsdale and Taos.

    In 2013 he took on the professional name Art James West (Art West) and moved his studio to Santa Fe.

    Originally from Wyoming, Art West is and listed in The Artist's Bluebook as Alan Heuer.

    When in Santa Fe you may visit Art West's Studio @ the Plaza Mercado, Suite 109, 112 W. San Francisco Street right off Santa Fe Plaza

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Art West | Fine Art Print | Oz, an American Fairy Tale
Original oil paintings and Fine Art Prints for sale, contemporary southwest art by Santa Fe, New Mexico artist and Taos Icon, ART JAMES WEST (aka Alan Heuer) - Whimsical, Colorful, Visionary, Landscapes of the West & Beyond - Conceptual of I Dreamed America, Southwest, Taos - City, Mountains, Roads, Structures, Utopia. Buy Art from Art!

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