Junko Ono Rothwell received her art degree from Okayama
University in Japan, and soon after came to the United States and attended art
classes at Cornell University.
Rothwell’s cultural heritage can be seen in her use of space and shape –
which echoes Eastern art, yet her color palette is strongly influenced by her
American art experience. She uses bold
bright colors in contrast to the more delicate tones often associated with
Asian art. “When I was an art student in
Japan, I used darker colors. But after I
moved to the U.S., I often went to museums where I learned to use brighter
colors.” Rothwell uses color to bring
out the mood, movement, and energy of her works. “I do not block each color, but try to flow
colors over the entire paper to create the feeling of movement. Color brings each painting to life.” The pieces Rothwell created for the Wells
Gallery are brought to life by this color interplay. These works include images of Charleston as
well as Kiawah marsh landscapes.
Rothwell is a master at capturing changing color and light as she paints
en plein air. “I am always impressed at how the sun lights
up the marsh and changes its colors and moods at different times of day and
during different seasons of the year.
Weather patterns also dramatically change the look of a marsh. In summer, I always love to paint big white
clouds floating over the distant marsh.
And in November, the marsh glows with a lovely yellow-orange cast.” It is for a marsh scene that Rothwell is best
known on Kiawah: a large colorful marsh owned by the Sanctuary Resort brightens
their east wing and draws in locals and visitors alike.
The Sanctuary is not the only fortunate holder of Rothwell’s
work. Her works have been purchased by
the State of Georgia and many corporations including the Southern Company,
Continental Telephone, Kaiser Permanente, Prime Bank, Nations Bank, George
Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and the Northwest Memorial
Hospital in Chicago.
Rothwell’s work has appeared in Best of Pastel (Rockport
Publishers, 1996), Portrait Inspirations (Rockport Publishers, 1997), Best of
Flower Painting 2 (North Light Books, 1999), The Best of Sketching and Drawing
(Quarry Books, 1999) and Pure Color (Northlight
Books, 2006). She was one of four
artists featured in the “Unforgettable Landscapes: Different Approaches to
Light and Texture” article in The Pastel Journal (May/June, 2000). Rothwell also illustrated a children’s book
in Japanese: M. McLaughlin, Minna no koe ga kikoeru (Bungeisha,