Viz City Talks With Artist LaVonne Tarbox-Crone

May 3, 2017

Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

  Out at UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, local artist LaVonne Tarbox-Crone has received an Award of Excellence at the big watercolor show called “Pour It On!”

How does that feel? It feels pretty good. I’m fairly competitive, and so, it was kind of nice.

What does it take to be competitive in a watercolor show like this one?

Technique and design are the two elements that ...catch the judge’s eye, and also high contrast, lots of darks and lights, so that it reads well from 20-30 feet away.

Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

If you’ve seen LaVonne’s art, you know she draws a lot of inspiration from her travels:

Turkey was a big breakthrough for me. I got to do a big circle of the country, and that’s where I ran into what I call the ancient walls. It’s the cracks and how time erodes things; some of those things are thousands of years old.

She says the challenge of painting them is:

Well I might throw some fruit or some vegetables on a ledge and I have “Now and Forever.” I used to call it my “Now and Forever” series. So something alive and something very ancient.

When asked why she paints:

I like challenge; I like the unknown journey, and I paint watercolor because you can’t really control it.

Tarbox-Crone is a respected artist and teacher these days, but her art had dark beginnings. I asked her if she thinks art is essentially playful? Or essentially serious? Or is it spiritual?

I don’t know if I’m really spiritual, but it kind of saved my life. I lost my son to a tragic accident years ago, and after that I couldn’t do anything, so I started painting, and it set me off and I always kind of feel like it’s ...I do well at art because I work really hard at it, and I’m very observant, but I think maybe he sits on my shoulder and I think I paint better that I really could/should

Yeah, you can’t--you gotta do something after something like that happens...

That’s kind of what’s still behind it….Angel on my shoulder.


LaVonne Tarbox-Crone's home watercolor studio is flooded with light.
Credit Sandy Brown Jensen

LaVonne Tarbox-Crone and dozens of other watercolorists from across Oregon and the West may be seen at the “Pour It On!: Watercolors of the West” show at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art until June 9.

Credit Sandy Brown Jensen


Viz City is co-produced by Sandy Brown Jensen and Terry Way