Ryan Chartrand

Color that extends from the Central Coast all the way to the Sierra Nevada mountains is painted around a haiku on the pages of Cal Poly emeritus professor and artist Robert Reynolds’ new book “Quiet Journey.” The book’s title comes from Reynolds’ personal trips, capturing people and nature in all seasons.

Reynolds was the original designer of Cal Poly’s running mustang and has been an artist at heart most of his life. Recently, his work was exhibited in Florence, Italy, at the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea. In addition, he has been mentioned by national magazines and in more than 20 art books.

“I can’t stop painting altogether. It’s like how everyone must breathe,” Reynolds said. “I need to paint.”

The Cal Poly Corp. backed the project that took more than a year to complete but took much longer altogether. The book compiles work done last month to pieces painted 35 years ago.

The hardcovered book spans 176 pages, displaying 178 images, painted both in watercolor and acrylics. Not all of Reynolds’ work was included because of technological reasons. Reynolds worried about the flow of the book, but said once all the pictures were laid out, the chapters followed the order perfectly. “Quiet Journey” is broken down into four chapters: the Central Coast, sweet springs, land sea and sky, and high Sierra.

Reynolds worked with Jim Hayes, long-time friend and emeritus journalism professor. Hayes wrote the “about the author” section, haikus and other prose throughout the text. Both wanted to do a book about the Central Coast many years before, but couldn’t get a publisher.

“It was neat to call up Hayes a year and a half ago and say, ‘Hey, let’s do something we were going to do 30 years ago,’” Reynolds said.

Hayes, 81, said he knows the places from Reynolds’ work well after visiting them throughout his lifetime.

“…It’s a reaffirmation of places I’ve been, but (his paintings) give me new understanding of what I saw with my own eyes, emotions I never experienced the first time,” Hayes said.

In one of the passages next to a painting titled “Dinner Bell,” Hayes wrote: “Robert finds beauty, serenity and sometimes a haunting loneliness in the quiet corners of our land where time seems to stand still.”

Reynolds grew up in the San Luis Obispo area. After graduating from the Art Center School in Los Angeles, he came to Cal Poly to earn his teaching credential.

Reynolds expressed a deep appreciation for the opportunities Cal Poly afforded him. This is evident in a piece titled “Cal Poly Remembrance Pond,” where Reynolds wrote: “The pride of the central coast is Cal Poly. This campus Remembrance Pond was constructed in the mid-1930s, around natural rock formations that were originally found at the site in 1901, when Cal Poly was founded.”

Reynolds joked that while in art school he told a friend that pursuing a teaching career would be a waste of talent.

After working as a staff artist awhile at Cal Poly, Reynolds taught drawing and watercolor classes for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Once the art and design department started at Cal Poly, Reynolds created the first watercolor classes.

Reynolds said he enjoyed teaching because he was able to do more of his own work and help students hone their own skills.

“I feel that being an artist and teacher at the same time feeds off of one another, learning as an artist comes out in teaching too.”

The book is available on campus at the El Corral Bookstore or from the downtown location, and at www.elcorralbookstore.com/books for $79.

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