Featured artist portrays Redlands landmarks

Joseph Stoddard, this year’s featured artist at the “Art, For Heaven’s Sake!” Fine Arts Festival, poses with some of his work.

Celebrated American artist Edward Hopper once explained why he was devoted to his canvasses.

“If I could say it in words,” he wrote, “there would be no reason to paint.”

We’ll soon enjoy an opportunity to meet an impressive array of artists about to gather in our midst. And their talents truly express far more than words can convey.

The “Art, for Heaven’s Sake! Fine Arts Festival” is a venerable Redlands institution — and deservedly so.

Now celebrating its 40th year, the art show has blossomed into a major regional event as exhibitors and guests come from all over Southern California to experience memorable art and music.

Joseph Stoddard has been named the featured artist for this year’s edition of the festival.

After seeing his exquisite work and having the privilege of speaking with him, I understand why he has earned this honor.

“I have been painting urban landscapes in watercolor for over 30 years,” he said. “I live in Pasadena and enjoy painting the things I see around me wherever I go. My subjects include downtown skyscrapers, views from freeways and other aspects of the urban jungle.”

Joseph has a way of creating beautiful art from the unexpected.

“I want the viewer to come away with the feeling of, ‘Wow, I never saw it that way before,’” he said. “My art celebrates the sketch — drawing scenes from our everyday lives and presenting them as little studies and collages. Beyond chaotic urban life, I may also paint quiet tree-lined streets and classic architecture.

Joseph is known for using pencil, pastel, pen and ink with loose applications of color in a unique, impressionistic style.

Twelve new paintings featuring iconic Redlands landmarks will be on display at the festival.

“My sketchbook travels with me everywhere and I am constantly using it,” he said.

“And I used it in Redlands. On a recent trip to Prague and Vienna I filled 60 pages.”

Joseph’s paintings have appeared on the covers of “Westways” and “Watercolor Artist” magazines, and many other publications.

“I’ve produced two books of sketches and authored two watercolor instruction books,” he said. “My latest book, ‘Expressive Painting,’ was published last year. I also teach workshops and give demonstrations throughout Southern California.”

Prolific as he is, Joseph is also part owner of an environmental graphics firm. He works with 20 artists who create specialized signage. Local examples of his company’s creations can be seen at the University of Redlands and Kaiser Hospitals.

He especially enjoys creating art in his home studio.

“It’s situated in the middle of my house,” he said. “I enjoy hearing the busyness of my family in the background as I work. My favorite time of the week is Saturday when I can devote most of the day to working there.

“I love to create. All the troubles of the week evaporate and I’m at peace.”

Visit josephstoddard.com to see more of his inspirational art.

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “You use a mirror to see your face. You use works of art to see your soul.”

Let’s explore the soulful creations on display at the Fine Arts Festival.

Wayne R. Scott is an award-winning writer, producer and director who serves as President of LifeHouse Theater, Redlands.