Galen also has been doing some remarkable work in Opaques, a technique originally suggested by leaded stained glass or Mosaic found in the arcades, walls and floors of monastaries in Europe. It was originally a surface decoration made by inlaying in patterns small pieces of colored glass, stone, quartz, rock jades, and other material. This Mosaic work presents the first form of broken color ever used. Galen has been experimenting with an opaque techn ique in solid colors that is partially an innovaqtion of his own. It makes beautiful and effective art.
Some of the general remarks Galen made concerning art and painting are probably common knowledge to artists but it should be of interest to the like of many like the writer whose knowledge of art has mostly been gleaned from the arresting pages of Esquire.
The most difficult part of a picture is in the proportioning of the main features and general pattern. Balancing the body of a picture is the most subtle job in painting. Subtle because if it isn’t handled properly the layman couldn’t tell you what was wrong with it but he would remain disturbed by it. For example, by sketching a tree in the foreground, using distant mountains and scenery for the background, the mountains in the background must be proportionately related to the tree in the foreground in order to properly convey distance and size. As for the tree which is the main object, there is only one position in that sketch where the tree can be placed to give the picture balance. A half inch or inch to the right or left, up or down, and the picture just doesn’t come off.
Among other things, the artist knows that the colors he works with are characteristically individual. He knows that warm colors have more power of appeal than cool colors. Therefore a small area of orange or red or yellow is comparable to a larger area of green or blue. Also, large areas of color tend to saturate the eyes. The eye is attracted by the strength and amount of color. But a small picture to attract attention must be sharp and distinctive, done in fine detail to compensate for the reductions in size, darkness of shadows, and strength of hues.
“This Is Your Coastside; Its People, Places and Industries”
“Galen Wolf–Part I
“Galen Wolf long ago discovered what most of us spend a lifetime futilely seeking–a pleasant way of life. It is the essence of this gentle man’s existence and his work.
“If you like interesting people, you would like Galen Wolf. He’s a sharp featured, loose jointed man flirting with his early sixties and standing just beyond medium height. He has the square jaw and jutting chin usually associated with a fighter, and a wide generous mouth that lends itself easily into a humorous smile.
“His small alert blue eyes are made to appear smaller and more deeply set by their conditioning to be heavily lensed glasses he wears. A bandanna or large handkerchief covers his head, a smooth expanse of skin, except for a fringe of snow white hair, which has little in common with a comb. The ends of the bandanna re rolled up into a beret like affair, which is held in place by the straps of green eyeshade Galen usually wears over it. The combination actually amounts to a homemade cap that is cool, comfortable, and restful.
“He’s slightly stoop shouldered from his constant hunching over his sketches and paintings, but he sits and stands with the relaxed ease of an athlete. It is a poised sort of relaxation whose nature is primarily mental, whereas the conditioned athlete’s is almost purely physical. It is the man’s inner harmony that seems to manifest itself in a physical sense.
“There is something singularly [missing words] complete to sweater and tie, are well worn and loose fitting and yet are in no way casual or sloppy. Rather there is an exactness about them, even to neatly knotted loose fitting tie, that suggests a precise and orderly but tolerant mind. Clothes have a way o losing their identity on Galen. Regardless of what clothes he wears, it is only a matter of time until they become part of him, merely one phase of his personality.
(Photo: Galen Wolf with a friend on the tractor.)
“There’s an unpretentious sort of dignity about him that combines the worshipful simplicity of a man’s love of nature and land with the added refinements of the cultured mind of an underpaid college professor.
“Everything that Galen is–a pleasant, cultured man of simple dignity–is reflected in his art.
“Galen Wolf is one of the foremost watercolor artists in the state, and certainly the ablest interpreter of Coastside scenes. He has had a traditional show of country pictures at the Peninsula Book Store in Burlingame for 8 years, plus one show at the Mull Galleries on Sutter Street. He has had pictures on exhibit at Grave’s and Maxwell’s, Allied Arts in Palo Alto; at the California Historical on Mission.
“Galen estimates he has sketched and painted over 400 Coastside scenes, mostly farmsteads, which are his favorite subject.