Linda Jo. C. Christensen
Linda Jo Winn Curley was born in Boise, Idaho in 1956. She is a plein-air painter who specializes in painterly depictions of landscapes and wildlife in Utah. She lives in Wallsburg, Utah.
Curley came to Utah when she was ten years old and studied under Paul Forester whom she credits as a major artistic influence. Other influential instructors were Floyd Breinholt, Osral Allred, Harrison Groutage, Jim Norton, and Ken Baxter.
Curley's work is exhibited in conference center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a Christian reading room in Adelaide, Australia, and in the City Hall of Draper, Utah. She is a signature member of the Oil Painters of America. Her paintings Opposites at Diamond Fork (1998) and Break in the Storm (2000) won merit awards at the Springville Museum of Art spring salon.
Biography adapted from Artists of Utah
My Grandmother laughed as I stated that I had a desire to paint as well as she did. These vague memories of her sticky oil paint and a baby food jar of oil I couldn't open had given me no vision of their potential. My parents would take me outdoors to places they loved. I wondered why they wanted to spend so much time in a barren desert. When I began painting my inexperienced eyes had not been disciplined to be observant and patient. I had not yet learned to see into the realities beyond the surface of the subject. Since then, I have found that I must, with patience, train my eye. For ordinary scenes around us everyday appear barren and ugly at first glance. They wait for the right moment of light to illuminate the beauty otherwise lying dormant. Opening my eyes to see has been a quest and a challenge of the most rewarding kind.
I have always thought it didn't matter what tools one had, only what can be done with what one has. I have tools from many teachers, the most influential being Paul Forester, while others include Floyd Brienholt, Harrison Groutage, Osral Allred, Ken Baxter, Dave Wade, Robert Abbot, Greg Allen, Jim Norton, and Jim Wilcox. The privilege of studying privately with Paul Forester came as a miracle in my life. I went three times a week, once to class and twice a week to help Paul's wife Peggy with light housework, projects, and cooking. To this day I do not know if she really needed me. She scolded me the first time I came to help her without paintings in tow. I learned to dust quietly while she and Paul critiqued and discussed each work in progress. She was as great a teacher as was he.
Many awards, ribbons and plaques have been granted to me over the years. I have felt honored with each one. However, the most exciting award I ever won came from a painting I called “Midday Naptime”. I painted it enthusiastically and with great satisfaction. I nearly sold it to a neighbor, but when she hesitated I decided to enter it in The Utah Mothers Competition, a show that I erroneously thought of little import, because three fourths of the competitors were disqualified, not being a mother. The show, I found, was indeed a tough group in which to compete. I was surprised when I won best of show! That was not the end, for the painting was chosen as Utah's entry to the Nationals where I again won best of show and the National Gertrude Fogelson Art award. The Governor of Utah presented me with the $1000 prize in behalf of the State. It was within a year of this award, as I desperately scrambled for enough work to meet the demands of private study with the Foresters, that I rather sheepishly unframed the winner to take for critique one day. Paul looked at the work for a long time and finally remarked, “I like the red dot here” pointing at the tag in the cow's ear that glittered in the sun. I laughed and commented that I was glad he finally liked something that I had done. Very seriously he eyed me over his reading glasses. His words are an award treasured by me. He said, “ I like everything you do.” I had never known. Other recognitions that have meant a lot to me are: Signature Status in Oil Painters of America and being chosen as one of Utah's top 100 artists. The greatest award of all is that others consider my viewpoint of enough worth to adorn their walls.
I have enjoyed the honor of having my work in many prominent places around the world. There are five large pieces in the Latter-Day Saints Conference Center in Salt Lake City, a mural in the South visitors center on Temple Square, and other paintings in over 60 Latter-Day Saints Temples around the world. Paintings also appear in a Christian reading room in Adelaide, Australia; Murals in Columbia River, Washington; Lubbock, Texas; Monterrey, Mexico; Snowflake, Arizona; The Haque, Netherlands; Brisbane, Australia; Redlands, California; Accra, Ghana; Aba, Nigeria; Manhattan, New York; and Helsinki, Finland temples. There is a mural displayed in Draper City Hall and works in the permanent collection of the Springville Museum of Art.
Pricklyrock is family headquarters for the studio, farm, honey production, research lab, and woodshop. It is near our home in Wallsburg, Utah. Greg and I have twelve children between us. I hadn't the patience to wait till the children were gone to follow my passion for painting. Consequently, each child teethed on brushes (new ones I hope) while I continued to practice. Sometimes I miss the little fingers helping me. I've always wished that one of them would like to learn to paint, for I believe I would be a good teacher. I have a few students that help me, and I love them as my own. Pricklyrock studio and gallery is always open to visit by appointment. We love the company!
What was the desire, which taught me to see? I think a desire to capture and share with others the excitement of something I found phenomenal. And why do I like to paint? It might be selfish, but the thrill of capturing a stunning ray of light, line, or color is a powerful feeling of triumph, like participating in creation and being able to recognize it as good. I know I didn't create it, but I was inspired by it, and through that inspiration re-created a piece of art that is added to the collection in my heart. This desire to share part of me, that which I value and love, becomes my gift to you. This is how I hope to improve the world with my existence, that through the slight brushing of our souls, I may inspire you, to search with patience for beauty in the landscapes and faces around you.
Biography courtesy of the Artist
Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.
Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton & Janie Rogers. 150 Year Survey of Utah Art & Artists. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2002.