JD Wellborn

J.D. Wellborn’s newest series titled Mystical Tablets explores a connection between ancient motifs and contemporary techniques. Mandalas, petroglyphs, ancient coins and artifacts in archeological sites found on her trips to Guatemala and Peru inspired these unique creations. The paintings are achieved through a woven technique of layering delicate papers, with canvas, fiberglass material. The culmination of this layering becomes a very beautiful & sturdy surface reminiscent of tin tiles or leather.

JD Wellborn


BFA University of New Mexico

Artist Statement:

My work is aimed at creating diverse patterns by varying my treatments of a common format of materials and shapes. I start by constructing a paper and cloth grid, with the paper torn into small pieces. That gives the flat border surfaces an undulating shape that viewers often sense as metallic or stone-like. These ever-different surfaces open up a wide spectrum of possibilities for free and energetic painting.

Each painting has a center that allows me to pursue my basic urge to work from the outer boundaries toward the core. The grid-and-center format provides balance as I begin by painting chaos and then impose order on what seems to be formless turbulence.

That initial phase gives me the base for playing with colors, that is, by layering many hues of thick paint and sanding the impasto/ built-up areas back from time to time, producing unanticipated combinations of texture and colors that render depth. During that process, I start building glazes of very thin coats of paint, with goal of reaching harmonies of color, tint, and hue across the spectrum.

Striving to make the paints thick and plaster-like, I mix acrylic paint, gels and medium with plaster materials and pigments obtained on trips to Guatemala and Peru and the resulting raised surfaces on the pieces are almost always made of paper and thick paint which I manipulate in different ways.

As I work on multiple pieces at the same time, I often find a color or texture that works on one piece can be applied to another. Rather than planning ahead, I react to the new and evolving surface. Working back and forth keeps the work fluid and prevents the flow of work from being held up by a purely linear sequence of effort. Another advantage of working on many pieces simultaneously is that finished paintings look good in groupings.