May 30 2021
Artist Talk: Ken Potter, AWS

Artist Talk: Ken Potter, AWS

Presented by Sacramento Fine Arts Center at Sacramento Fine Arts Center

Join Artists Frank Zamora and Jahn Kloss for a discussion about the work and life of watercolorist Ken Potter.

Kenneth Potter, A.W.S. (1926 – 2011) Born: Bakersfield, CA; Studied: San Francisco Academy of Art, Academie Frochot (Paris), Istituto Statale d’Arte (Florence); Member: Society of Western Artists; American Watercolor Society. Ken Potter is a third generation Californian. He grew up in Northern California during the depression and began drawing regularly at an early age. While living in Sacramento, he received art instruction through a W.P.A. sponsored program. As a teenager, he visited the 1939 World’s Fair art exhibit in San Francisco where he viewed works by many of the world’s greatest artists. He was particularly excited about modern works, especially the French modernists.

When America entered World War II, Potter was well prepared. He had been in an Explorer Sea Scout program as a youth and in the R.O.T.C. as a teenager. As a United States Marine, he moved right into a position providing security for admirals and chiefs of staff. He later saw action as a combat machine gunner. He manned 20 and 40 mm anti-aircraft weapons on battleships engaged in daily combat off the coast of Japan. He spent his free moments sketching portraits of his fellow shipmates; marines and sailors. Many of these sketches were sent home to their loved ones.

After the war, he visited New York and Chicago before returning to San Francisco. Upon his return, he studied art on the G.I. Bill with Carl Beetz, Hamilton Wolf and Richard Stevens. Both Wolf and Stevens taught geometric abstractionist ideas in art. In addition, his interest in the watercolor medium was heightened after attending presentations by Millard Sheets and Dong Kingman.

Potter was painting expert watercolors by this time but felt he wanted additional instruction. He traveled to France and Italy and studied painting with famed Cubist Jean Metzinger. He attended less formal classes with Fernand Leger and Albert Gleizes. In Italy, he received instruction in fresco painting and printmaking.

By the early 1950s, he presented one-man shows in Paris, San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro and contributed works to groups shows in New York and California. For a brief time, he lived in New York and Brazil and eventually returned to San Francisco. He settled into a flat in North Beach, which was the West Coast center for artists, poets, jazz musicians and philosophers. He painted watercolors daily, visiting the waterfront and Embarcadero where he produced depictions of ships, cranes and industrial objects. When they decided to tear down the old produce district, he did a series of paintings which are masterful works of art and serve as valuable historical documents.

He has primarily worked with transparent .He has primarily worked with transparent watercolors and is known for his ability to manipulate large areas of flowing paint into bold compositions with expert design. His art often shows the influence of cubism and divisionist modern art ideas, but true to all innovative artists, his personal style dominates his work.

In addition to his career as a watercolor painter, Potter has produced murals in California and France. He was an art director for advertising agencies in New York, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco, created set designs for theater productions and worked as a fine art printmaker. Since the 1960s, he has become an instructor of watercolor painting, presenting workshops in California and other parts of the world.

Frank Zamora is a revered artist and art teacher who is on a lifelong quest toward synthesis of imagined and real form in his painting. He continually explores different techniques ad methods where representational images, “fact” and “reality”, evolve into abstract expressions. In mastering this marriage of reality and abstraction, Mr. Zamora’s bold approach challenges convention, while speaking to the human spirit. His most satisfying works reflect not only the merging of representational forms and abstraction, but reflect his experimental use of color, images, and multiple forms of media ad textures.

Having studied and taught art for over forty years, Mr. Zamora continues to inspire the many students who enthusiastically crowd his classes at Sacramento City College. he encourages and challenges them to work beyond the constraints of fundamentals, and to always explore the many possibilities of artistic expression. He is an inspiration and embodies the descriptor a colleague gave him years ago: Zamora is a master of “Painterly Drawing.”

For over 30 years, Jahn Kloss inked editorial cartoons and syndicated Sunday strips for newspapers and magazines. Though Kloss has experience in several media, he is primarily known in the capital city as an editorial cartoonist. For sure, the political cartoonist is “an odd bird strutting the art barnyard” but Sacramento is a government town – full of important political battles. So Kloss turned his “critical eye” to the major issues of Sacramento, the state, and the world. In 1989, after a decade of drawing political cartoons on nuclear power, Jahn was proud to read in a book that a prominent editor proclaimed him as “the editorial cartoonist that (helped) shut down Rancho Saco nuclear power plant.” Thus, he combined good theory with good action. Art in service to a safer and healthier public policy.

Jahn is also a humorist, able to find fun in all things with his art – be it painting, drawing or inking your portrait on a wine cork. Kloss recently retired from teaching at American River College. He moved last summer with his wife and two cats to Salem Oregon, yet another government town raging with its own politics. So far he has begun dabbling in Plein air watercolor landscapes. Nevertheless, his ink bottle and old wooden quill pen are never far away from his hand

Admission Info

Admission $10

Phone: (916) 971-3713


Dates & Times

2021/05/30 - 2021/05/30

Location Info

Sacramento Fine Arts Center

5330-B Gibbons Drive, Carmichael, CA 95608