Since her grade-school days of winning art contests, Jo Mattison’s first love has been painting. Growing up in Louisiana, Jo’s earliest exposure to art was watching her mother and grandmother draw. Her aunt, an accomplished artist, was a great inspiration. Mattison had a natural talent that was recognized and encouraged by family and teachers. Early on, she drew and painted the world around her. Her first visit to an art gallery came while in college. Jo currently resides in Dallas, TX.
Studying art beginning at Louisiana State University, Jo was excited to delve into sculpture, ceramics, figure drawing and oil painting. After earning her BFA, Mattison explored the fields of interior design and decorative arts but ultimately came back to painting canvases. From her experience doing frescos on walls, Mattison discovered she prefers working with the blade of a trowel and palette knives instead of brushes. She loves working with eco-friendly water based media now. Jo mixes acrylic tints into plasters to get texture on her large pieces and then layers in the composition. Mattison turns out vibrant, luminous works inspired by Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Helen Frankenthaler and other abstract expressionists.
Using only large palette knives and trowels, I prefer to work big and bold. Before starting a piece, I do a study on paper with pastels. This gets the excitement going and propels me to the canvas. Then I apply a textured base of tinted plaster. I layer color upon color and then slow down a bit as I scrape back to get the desired effect. I am always looking for that surprise that can be found underneath the layers of paint and plaster. I consider myself a color-field artist which means my works usually have one predominant color. Although challenging, I like the simplicity of this style of work. I strive to give the fields of color depth to make them glow from within.
My process is free flowing and spontaneous. Inspiration surfaces as the painting unfolds telling me where to go with it. Sometimes a piece will capture the essence of a place I have visited or it will visually represent an emotional response. Often I stick close to my original plan, but other times a piece will become something else entirely! Deciding when a painting is finished is the hardest part as I am looking for cohesion and closure. I want to create works that can’t be glanced at or walked by quickly. Each viewer should find a different meaning in the artwork and never tire of looking at the imagery they see.”