Simple tools help artist create heavenly scenes
If you go
What: Janesville Farmers Market
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 31
Where: Main Street north of Milwaukee Street in downtown Janesville
JANESVILLE From a lowly can of baked beans come planets never before seen by the human eye.
All this on the sunny sidewalk of the Janesville Farmers Market.
Spray-paint artist Tommy Ray France of Indianford has taken his self-taught hobby to the streets. With simple tools from around the house, France creates detailed pictures of planets and landscapes.
Like all painters, he works in layers, France said. He starts with a few sprays from one or two cans. Then he uses torn pages from magazines to blot off paint and add textured swirls and stripes.
He makes moons and planets by spraying over cooking pot lids, paint lids and a can of baked beans. He dribbles white paint to make stars in a black sky. With straight edges, France adds shooting stars and starbursts.
France made his debut at the Janesville Farmers Market on Sept. 12. He had a steady crowd of demanding fans and created 15 pictures in about two hours. In many cases, he worked on three paintings at once.
France said he learned his craft on his own and with the help of a mentor who lives in New Mexico. He gets ideas from other artists and from his customers. He tries new techniques whenever he can.
On Saturday, one adult customer asked for a series of black and white landscapes. She wants to use them to decorate for Halloween. A boy asked for a painting with two rocket ships—one going up and one coming down.
One little girl wanted a pink planet to match her headband.
“I’ve never done pink before,” France said.
He smiled and settled in with cans of red and white spray paint. “But I’m always up for a challenge.”
The farmers market runs through Saturday, Oct. 31.