Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Untitled Rainforest + Sitka Invitational!

                                            Rainforest Fall oil on canvas 36x50

 I will probably use google translator to help find a different title but not now. The challenge here was keeping this fallen tree, a tree. Not so easy for me! People are always saying my trees are dancers so I worked hard to thwart any creature associations. In the dense forests along the coast, immense specimens will topple in a windstorm and soon be colonized by mosses and ferns. The hole in the canopy allows more light until the surrounding trees close in.

 The annual Sitka Invitational is coming up soon, just days before the election. This is about the best opportunity to see a whole lot of quality landscapes and nature inspired art work, ever! It`s huge!  I`ve written a lot about the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the central Oregon coast and this massive exhibition is in support of this worthy institution. They offer terrific unusual classes all summer and artist residencies in winter. I`ve had the great fortune to have painted there for a month, two different times. It sits on a flank of Cascade Head, a biologically diverse and protected rainforest and it is stunning!
 To promote the show, I will be doing a demonstration at the Dick Blick art supply downtown this Sunday [Oct. 23] 1 - 3 pm. I`ll be painting in watermedia, probably on Yupo.
On the last day of the exhibit, Nov. 6, I will speak about my work at 3pm.
Hope you can make it!

 If you haven`t seen it, let the Canadians comfort you in this bitter election season. We`re going to be OK but this sure hurts.

 And let David Hockney explain how image making is utterly human. That wonderful Brit, by the way, has spent a big chunk of his career celebrating America.

This week`s masterpiece is by Karl Klingbiel;

                                                    Lester Leaps In by Karl Klingbiel

 Isn`t that rich?! Oh my god, I could look at it the rest of my life! I love this guy!!

 Cat owners, I suspect that`s all of you who read this, are you tired of those plastic scoops breaking when you`re trying to pry up a urine soaked corner in the litter box? After buying dozens throughout my life, I finally had enough. Behold the Dura Scoop!;

$9.99! I could clean up after a lion with this beauty!

work for sale in my studio

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Two Watercolors and a road trip

                                                       September Marsh watermedia on Yupo 12x9

 A little corner of Bryant Woods where I walk frequently. Looks nothing like I intended but feels like what I saw. That keeps happening and I think it`s interesting. Same with this one;

                                                            Untitled Iceland watermedia on Yupo 12x9

 I found the south Icelandic landscape to have a raw austerity yet it was lush. Every day was overcast and it often rained. Green mountains like in Kauai rose just beyond bleak windswept beaches. Being there in mid July, I probably saw the island as verdant and benign as it ever is. Watching storms roll over the mountains was a daily experience.

 My show in Coos Bay ended on Oct. 1st and we decided to retrieve it ourselves and make the trip a little holiday. I rented a van and got inside information on the good stuff in Bandon OR. I wanted to be near the ocean and Coos Bay is a port. My source delivered. We stayed in an old motel perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific and the beach below was crowded with sea stacks, riddled with caves! My inner twelve year old flipped out!

 Near minus tides with the weather parting as we arrived and closing in as we left. The drive on OR highway #138 was sublime in the gentle rain.

 Guess what, I won the Lake Oswego plein air prize with my big watercolor "Iron Mountain";

                                                          watercolor on Yupo 26x40

 I had a piece of sheet insulation that was almost the exact same size as a large sheet of Yupo that could be my support. I figured if I worked fast in black and white in sunny weather, I could manage the big dimensions. Here is a process shot;

 I was with my friend Mitch and he was painting me as I painted;

                                                                 by Mitch Burrel

 Really fun plus I won some bucks and a set of Gamblin alkyd oil paints!

  Mary Alice Beard is spending her retirement savings buying my paintings. God bless her. I just sent Metolius Morning to her and she wrote a poem about the painting;

                                         Wordless, the morning sun
                                          slants through the trees,
                                          nudging the river awake.

                                          Waterlight rises.
                                          Dancing ripples push
                                          mystery into the shadows.

                                          Nothing new here.
                                          All is new here.
                                          Behold the day.
                                                                 _Mary Alice Beard 2016

 I love it! The magic in the ordinary. What I hope for in my work.

                                                         Metolius Morning oil on canvas 30x48

Creativity is a birthright and good for your health. Research is proving it too. Check this out.
Ever created in a group? There is a hum of satisfying concentration whether it`s a life drawing session, working outdoors on location,  trying something new in a class, playing music with friends or rehearsing a play. It makes you glad to be alive when you make something.

In my humble opinion, here is a perfect painting;

                                                                      Phillippe Croq

I wish I painted that!

 In this latest Donald Trump scandal of sexual predation, Armistead Maupin gets it right:

 "Here's what I've been noticing: All these panicked Republicans saying: 'As a husband and a father, I'm offended.' How about as a man, period? How about as a human being? To these assholes, women are afforded dignity only if they can be defined somehow as property. MY wife. MY daughter. It all comes back to the man in the end. Always has."

I`ll close on a positive note, kitten in a sink. My brilliant Lyndon.

I`m with her!

work for sale in my studio

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Plein Air Iron Mountain

                                                               Iron Mountain watercolor 26x40

 I was on location painting for two days of the recent Lake Oswego Plein Air Festival. There is an entire culture to painting on site but it`s never been critical to my studio practice so I just do it for fun.
It wasn`t the size of this painting that was so tricky, it was that dappled light falling on the paper as well as the path. The composition was straight forward so I filled the surface with paint and manipulated it as it dried. If something wasn`t working, I`d re-emulsify it and do it over. Revisions are easy with the slick plastic paper Yupo. Still, the light falling on the surface made it confusing and I was about to stop when my pal Mitch objected. That bit of faith kept me going.

                                                                 Before the Park watercolor 12x12

 A couple of days before, I was with Bert Jarvis shivering in the cold as we painted at the edge of Tryon Creek State Park. We saw two other painters on the only day the park was available to the festival painters. Too wet, windy and frigid!
 A reception will be held Oct. 7, 5-7pm at the Museum 510 in downtown Lake Oswego.


 I told him he was on sacred ground. That both Jackson and Lincoln had sat there before him watching me floss. He indicated he understood and accepted the rights and responsibilities of being my cat.

                                                                       Caio Fonseca

 Caio Fonseca is an interesting painter in that he works backwards. With negative shapes. He explains it in this video. I`ve been told this is a sculptural impulse, removing something painted to reveal the image. I do this at times with scrapping. Ciao paints something then paints over it again with flat color leaving behind in shapes, the original painting.

Call me stupid, naive and foolish, but after watching the first debate last night, I think my country is going to get very lucky. Who else could withstand year after year of withering attacks and still be standing? Still willing to fight for what is needed? I don`t think she wants war, I don`t think she`s a pawn of Wall St. I don`t think she`s a pathological liar. She`s tough and effective and I think one day will be beloved.
Be sure you are registered to vote!

This is the last week to see my show "New Landscapes" at the Coos Art Museum on the southern Oregon coast. It ends Saturday Oct. 1.
Thank you to those who saw it!

work for sale in my studio

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Broken Spruce

                                                          Broken Spruce watercolor on Yupo 12x9

 Another on the theme of distance juxtaposed with decay, the mortal and the eternal. Georgia O`Keefe mined this vein thoroughly with her vistas and bones though the oceans in her work were vestigial. The Southwest was once submerged under the sea for millions of years.
The impulse for this came from walking around Cape Arago after teaching last July. The winter storms wreak havoc on the front line of the forest and it often looks like a battle scene. I visited the coast a few years ago after a severe storm and saw a whole hillside of young alders snapped off at the same place.

                                                      Harry`s Sunset oil on canvas 16x20

 The remarkable painter Harry Stooshinoff posted a similar piece on Facebook recently. I told him in a comment I was going to steal it. He didn`t warn me away and I did. Scale is an element he skillfully plays with.

                                                                Three Iris watermedia on Terraskin 13x9

 It was a week of tinkering and repairing as I thought about a big new painting to be. My favorite sort of studio time. Small projects, rescued paintings and ambitious ideas. Please return to my last post with an Icelandic waterfall in Gjain. It finally is right! Here are a couple of other improved older works;

                                                        Riverbank Study 14x11 watermedia on Yupo

                                                         Fiscalini Surf watermedia on paper 20x16

 The great jazz musician Toots Thielemans died in August at 94. His instrument was the harmonica and he could make it say anything! My Dad played harps as well and idolized this artist. He might be best known to the general public for performing the theme to Midnight Cowboy written by the phenomenal film composer John Barry. The melody is plaintive with just a bit of hope. Dad learned to play it for me because I thought it was so moving.
With the passing of Toots last month, many memories of my father and his musical life rose to the surface.
In the late 70`s I was living out in the country in northern New Mexico working at a restaurant that has become quite well known, Rancho de Chimayo. My parents were visiting from California and I took them to the restaurant for lunch. Tiptons are always running late so as we finished eating on the patio, most of the other guests had left. We had that well fed glow. All of the sudden Dad pulls a harmonica out of his pocket, puts it to his mouth and belts out a passionate rendition of Release Me! I remember feeling intense horror, pride and embarrassment all at once! Like a third grader, I wondered what everyone including my boss would think. We are a family of introverts. Friendly, but we look forward to retreating to our rooms. I sat there and wondered who he really was. If a person, even a father, is comfortable enough to be spontaneous with me, I take it as a compliment.

                                                 painting by Miguel Acevedo

Isn`t that a terrific painting! The placement of the clouds seems to compress the focus into a single moment in time!
I love good seascapes!! This seems to be a 'golden age' in this genre. Ran Ortner,  Dion Salvador Lloyd, Zaria Forman, Kurt Jackson,  Hanna Woodman, Ruo Li and many others are doing innovative outstanding work.


For the Lake Oswego Plein Air Festival, I intend to take into the forest a 26x40 sheet of yupo and paint in black and white watercolor. I have never painted anything close to this big on location and I`m excited to try. This will be on Friday the 23rd near the Red Fox Hills entrance to Tryon Creek State Park. I think I have the logistics figured out and will begin around noon. If you`re looking for me, send me a text; 503 380 4731

available work for sale in my studio

"New Landscapes" Coos Art Museum July 9 - Oct. 1

Saturday, September 10, 2016


                                                               Gjain oil on canvas 30x24

 Impossibly beautiful Gjain. It took us four hours to find and it was hard to believe what we were seeing once there. Every fantasy about purity, a nurturing mother nature, or heavenly paradise is embodied here in this small oasis in the badlands of Iceland.
 Waterfalls are so numerous here I`d be surprised if they`re named. Most are rivulets vaulting off the green mountains and visible for miles. But then there are the serious ones like Haifoss, Gullfoss and Skogarfoss. They drop precipitously from an austere rocky landscape completely devoid of trees. Straight off the cliffs naked and exposed with an unusual regal authority.  Oregon is waterfall central casting, but these were unlike anything I`ve ever seen. They were somber, autonomous and powerful.
 This painting took way too long however! A promising start with the far distance and sky and then trapped with the falls and cliff for days! If I didn`t get that  alien Icelandic mood I wasn`t going to be happy. I think it`s the far northern light that gives the pristine landscape such an otherworldly sense.

                                                                 Gjain Creekbank watercolor 6x12

 This too is Gjain. Something about black and white with a bit of color is so suited to landscape. Especially working on location. The Lake Oswego Plein Air Festival is in a couple of weeks and I will be participating again. So much fun and September weather is usually heartbreakingly gorgeous.

 I got what I asked for, God help me.
May I introduce Lyndon!


 He`s only 3 months old but already he`s huge! And with a distinctive sense of himself. He has ideas and values and knows where he`s going in life. I ask you now, what could be better than having a gigantic loving cat on your lap someday?

                                                                     this is what I needed

 My pal Dana Roberts has a show opening at the Waterworks Gallery in Friday Harbor WA on Sept. 17. This is an event, trust me. She doesn`t exhibit all too often. I was an ardent admirer well before I met her and when we were suddenly showing in the same gallery together, I couldn`t believe my good fortune! She is an important painter. If you click her name above and see the photos, read the artist`s statement too. You`ll understand why I love her.

                                                                     Dana Roberts

                                                                  Dana Roberts

 I wouldn`t even try to change anyone`s mind about Hillary Clinton. She is savaged by the left and the right. But read this little vignette in Humans of New York. It returns some of her humanity.

 Speaking of waterfalls, gaze at this one by the Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.

Such a visionary! Look through his website and marvel at his inventiveness. My tubes of paint and brushes are prehistoric in comparison.

 September is a pensive month. The fading light and cooling temperatures are the backdrop to many poignant memories. Beginning with Labor Day, I always think of my Dad who was a Teamster for decades. In his long career of manual labor, the union was critical in giving his family a decent, modestly secure life. I even have straight teeth because of a benefit won by his union. We were always taught to never, EVER cross a picket line and why. What the sacrifice meant and its larger significance politically. The labor movement has suffered terribly in modern times, a victim of relentless conservative demagoguing and of mechanization. Once it was an active element in the country`s political  struggle and evolution. To a lesser degree it still has a role, but as the influence of the   movement has waned, income inequality has reached a shameful level.
Remember what it has achieved;

work for sale in my studio

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Near and Far - Cape Arago

                                                  Near and Far - Cape Arago oil on canvas 30x22

 Georgia O`Keefe famously titled a painting " From the Faraway Nearby". With great poetry she contrasted the temporal with the eternal. It`s an existential image of yearning. I`ve experienced that in looking at the stars or out to sea. It`s been a wake up call to make everything count. When I saw this young spruce and the exposed roots of a fallen tree beside it, silhouetted against the ocean, I had that bittersweet sensation again. As I worked on this, I thought a lot about color temperature and its conveyance of emotion. This was a view in summer so I wanted a benign mood lightening the sober and stark.

 We secured the financing and I had a check for earnest money. So when the prospect of owning the blue house I posted last week fell through, I thought 'I can`t do this!'. Which of course means 'I don`t want to do this!'. It was suddenly very clear I didn`t want this giant upheaval after all. When my Mom died and I made the decision to move, it seemed absolutely correct to be closer to my family but I couldn`t do it then because of commitments. My resolve must have faded and I was in denial. I feel stupid and sorry.
My family is 30 miles away which isn`t far, it`s just the traffic in between. I will work it just like I did when Mom was alive.

How about some schadenfreude? That will cheer us all up!
Both of these may have gone viral, I have no idea, but they are hilarious! Be sure to have the sound on!

Neither the Brazilian government nor any US court of law could punish the Olympian Ryan Lochte more thoroughly than these two TV anchors.

I never condone violence but listen to this account from an observer of a traffic accident.

Check out Joel Janowitz. Because of his first name, I figured he was a recent MFA prodigy but no, this guy is venerable!

                                                                      Joel Janovitz

                                                                      Joel Janowitz

Great painter! I approve!

And here is one of the late masterpieces of Franz Kline;

                                                              Scudera by Franz Kline

And an I-pad thing of mine;

                                                         Randall David Tipton I-pad

Not as charming as I thought coming after a mighty Kline!

I`m ready to love again, we are looking for a kitten! Is it wrong to want an orange one?

work for sale in my studio

"New Landscapes" Coos Art Museum until Oct. 1.  [Southern Oregon Coast]

"On Paper" Marcia Burtt Gallery, Santa Barbara Aug.26 - Oct.2

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cape Arago Forest - Oregon

                                                      watercolor on Yupo 13.5x40

 Iceland had some trees but nothing like the rainforests of the Oregon coast.
In black and white, I began on the right and worked to the left completing each section as I moved. The larger trees and the dark shapes I had photographed and could refer to. But I never paint this way. Generally the whole thing is in motion for quite some time. This felt like a narrative of just visual elements and I felt more like a scribe than an artist. Walk in the woods enough and these 'facts' become part of the painter.


 Let me tell you, a happy bride getting down on the dance floor in her puffy dress is a beautiful sight!
Luckily they didn`t ask but if they had, I would have said keep it simple, elope, save some money! No, Liz and Eric had a vision and they saw it through! And I am grateful as it was pure joy! The ceremony was at 5:30 in full sun and 99 degrees. It didn`t matter. In fact I think it enhanced it. After the short vows we raced to the dim air conditioned ballroom for the reception. It was lovely, like a cool cave! When the dancing began the wedding party and friends went tribal moving in a pulsating circle. The event was the best three days I`ve had in a long time!

 We are looking at houses with potential studio space in Camas or Washougal WA. Not easy. This has to be my last move and I know it will nearly kill me. So the new home must feel right. It is hard to leave this;

But maybe this one if I can figure out where to paint;

Words elude me right now so here are some flowers, past and present.

                                                         John and Randall Iceland selfie

work for sale in my studio

"On Paper" [group] Marcia Burtt Studio Gallery, Santa Barbara CA Aug.26-Oct.2
"New Landscapes" Coos Art Museum July 9 - Oct. 1