Evanston Gallery Hosts Texas Man’s Paintings

Anne Andlauer

By Anne AndlauerContributing Writer

Every year, John Palmer travels to a new country to get inspiration for his paintings.

Maybe that’s why each one is so different.

Every time he goes to a new country, Palmer tries to use different techniques in works – from collages in Japan to printmaking in Greece.

His work is on display at Maple Avenue Gallery, 1745 Maple Ave., until mid-November. A reception for his exhibition was held Saturday night for community members and fans of his work.

Palmer, 32, who lives in Houston, said he started painting eight years ago, when he owned a landscape design company.

His father’s sudden death “made something go click” in him.

“I bought 10 canvases and began to paint abstract pictures almost frenetically,” he said.

Since his humble beginnings, Palmer has established himself as a professional artist.

“My work is me,” Palmer said, describing how his art derives from his everyday life and evolves continually, just as he does.

“I don’t want my art to be stilted and my clients to get bored. My clients want me to evolve,” he said.

Palmer said one of the most important lessons he has learned as an artist is that painting “does not have to be so complicated to be successful.” He said he collaborates with other artists, which is “the best way for an artist to expand on existing ideas.”

This summer, Palmer studied with a Japanese artist in Tokyo and collaborated with his sister Kimberly, who lives there. They created Disney-themed collages, using an ancient Japanese art form called “chingre.”

Though none of his 22 Japanese paintings are on display at the Evanston exhibit, visitors can admire 35 of his other works.

The gallery’s manager, Susan McMenamin, arranged the event.

“We regularly display some of John’s works,” she said. “His paintings are full of energy. He uses the colors in an extraordinarily dynamic way. His oils, pastels and graphite flow onto the canvas and capture light in all its intensity.”

Palmer’s agent, Cheri Hamnonds, called Palmer’s art “structure with freedom.”

“Each of John’s exhibitions is a tremendous success, with many visitors becoming impassioned collectors in a few months only,” she said.

Marilyn Lowe, who has purchased 13 of Palmer’s paintings in the last three years, came to the exhibition Saturday. A Houston travel operator, she also has followed Palmer to New York and London.

“I appreciate the painter as much as his paintings,” Lowe said. “It’s a great joy for me to have some of his artworks at home. I never get bored of them.”

Evanston resident John Nolan owns two of Palmer’s paintings.

“I hung up a canvas in my dining room and a painting on wood in my bathroom,” he said. “With the daylight hitting the painting, the picture changes constantly. Palmer uses the colors in a very ambitious way.”

On Saturday, Nolan finally had the opportunity to meet the artist in person.

“We talked about the very personal ways in which he structures his work,” he said. “Palmer is definitely an artist to be followed.”

Reach Anne Andlauer at [email protected]