Utah Arts Festival: Pilar Pobil's technique
Published: June 21, 2012 07:08PM
Updated: June 21, 2012 07:08PM
Painter Pilar Pobil talks Thursday at a reception for her Utah Arts Festival exhibit at the City Library. (photo by Sean P. Means | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Pilar Pobil doesn't sketch before she paints.

If she did, the 83-year-old Spanish-born painter said to a reception in the City Library's gallery Thursday for the Utah Arts Festival's annual Special Exhibition, "the sketch would be better than the painting."

"When I start painting, I don't know exactly what I'm going to paint," Pobil told a group gathered to celebrate her "Expressions in Color" exhibit. "The painting itself tells me what it wants."

Pobil's work is known for its bold colors and bright lines, and for sometimes extending the bounds of the frame.

She pointed to one painting, a portrait of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia. That one has jewels floating around Garcia's head and in the frame, looking like stars in the firmament.

Pobil said she was inspired to paint Garcia that way -- the painting's title is "Jerry Among the Stars" -- after hearing about an effort to have a star named for Garcia after his death. The proposal was vetoed by whatever scientific body that is responsible for such things, Pobil said, because a star can only be named for its discoverer.

Pobil said she's often asked what inspires her. Her answer: "What doesn't inspire me?"

"Expressions in Color" will remain on display at the City Library's gallery, on the fourth floor, through Aug. 3.