Thursday, December 6, 2018

November Gloaming

                                               November Gloaming oil on panel 12x12

 Two kinds of fog settled upon Cook`s Butte just days after Thanksgiving. Driving below it on Saturday, I saw the dome was obscured by a mist. Walking toward the top, I was soon in a light drizzle. This type of fog is being inside a cloud. The next day it was thicker but 'dry'. Both were impossibly beautiful. Literally everywhere I looked was worthy of painting;

 For me, such a visual and sensory feast just makes me want to paint.
That`s where the danger is! How in the world to even get close to such loveliness? Nature even simplifies the task by removing many of the details. The depth is solved before even beginning. Then why was it so difficult? This was my first attempt in watercolor;

But that didn`t please me so I sprayed an acrylic varnish on it and took it to the oil painting part of my studio. This what I accomplished;

                                                    November Gloaming Study

 No, no, no! Too heavy handed!
So then I began the piece at the top of this post. I changed the orientation of the composition a bit and this time began in a much more sober deliberate manner. Inspiration makes one feel so alive, it`s just about the best sensation there is. It sure can create some high expectations which are often disappointingly unrealized. That`s what it`s like to paint. Try and try again. Sometimes I think after all these years why isn`t it easier? Some smarter, better me keeps the challenge fresh by finding new ways to think about painting and the landscape too. I don`t want it easy. Even though people can recognize one of my paintings with a glance, believe me, how I got to the conclusion of each one was a lot different from the other. Knowing that each process was unique, it used to bother me that they could be so quickly identified as mine. Now I`ve come to understand that the human eye is acutely perceptive. It notices characteristics and patterns that don`t even reach consciousness. And the painter is a slave to his body. How I walk, speak, sign my name and wield a brush, it`s all unique to me and others notice.

This year Thanksgiving was in my home and just my brother and his wife were with us. I offered to cook anything,
I have enough skills to follow a recipe and I was game for adventure. What I wouldn`t do is make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Too much variety! Oh my god, how many millions of moms pushed through their own exhaustion to satisfy the expectations of their families?? Year after year after year! Really, how extraordinarily selfless!
Well I wasn`t going to take up that cross but I would make something exotic. Problem was, we all wanted the real thing.
Portland has an established beloved deli, Elephants`, and I had seen an ad for a package Thanksgiving dinner. We got a few extra side dishes and I will tell you it was Good. The turkey especially. Reheating instructions came with it and we all felt extremely clever and well fed.

Oregon has a new Artist in Residence program and the incredible Gert Boyle is behind it! Pine Meadow Ranch is now offering all sorts of artists a chance to get some serious work done on the dry side of the mountains near Sisters. Super easy application form and an approaching deadline of Dec. 17 for sessions beginning in March.

                                                           By Kim Frohsin

                                                             By Kim Frohsin

                                                          by Kim Frohsin

 I`ve been vaguely aware of Kim Frohsin`s work for years but never took a good close look until recently. These figurative paintings from ten years ago really caught my attention. Her negative spaces are skillfully integrated with clear bold color. Newer work seems to be about architectural abstraction.

                                                          by Kim Frohsin

 Those are my boys Lyndon and Carter. They are on the edge of the bathtub because they are obsessed with this cat toy;

 It is stationed above the tub where they can never reach it. Carter`s foster mom gave it to us and it is a most excellent device. We all know playing with our cats is important but it is also incredibly boring. Right? This is the solution. The Leather Bouncer Wand is capable of many complex movements and sounds that make cats insane. This is entertaining. Other toys may look like this but this one is tough. We use it all the time and it hardly shows any wear. Trust me.

The last apple on my Honeycrisp apple tree and the only one not infested with insects. I only saw it because the leaves had fallen. It must have ripened after the cold killed off the bugs. The dwarf little tree produces lots of fruit but I don`t know how to protect it. I use a dormant spray in winter to little avail and yes, I`ve googled my dilemma. Maybe next year I`ll try something toxic. Be careful what you ask for! I was eating so many of these apples I thought I have to grow them!

when it`s good....

Happy Hanukka!

work for sale in my studio

Workshop in Seattle Feb. 2&3

Prints at Fine Art America

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Flavors of Gratitude

                                           Rainforest March watercolor on Yupo 26x40

 When something is good as in sublime, I never expect it repeated. So when I had a second walk up Falls Creek six years after the first, I was curious what the experience would be like. I never thought I would see it again after reports of catastrophic fires in the area. Yet it had survived and on the cold, cloudy, late winter day I returned, it was still jewel like. The temperate rainforests in the Northwest are unusual. The deciduous forests are bare in winter but because of the mild temperatures and frequent rains, they are outrageous with their neon green mosses and ferns. Visually stunning and hard to believe, the trees are distorted by clumps of vegetation all along the trunks. My legs were a mess then so my 'hike' was slow and aided with a cane but so beautiful I was consciously grateful for my life. That is too rare a realization.
 Now our great national holiday celebrating gratitude is upon us. Just the concept seems at odds with our nation at the moment. If ever there was a time to let our differences be, this is it. We all love our country. Eat well and reflect on some of our many blessings. The good stuff we did not earn.

                                          November Grove watercolor on Terraskin 12x12

 After a little trip to the coast I began this as a seascape. On the beach I had watched the sun struggle to break into view. My effort to portray that cloud formation was not working but it reminded me of the autumn leaves still lingering in the forest. So I carved out some trees with a wet brush and suddenly I have this soft elegiac painting before me. I`m not sure what I think of it but there has been no urge to fix anything.

                                                                   Larry Poons

The once renowned minimalist painter, Larry Poons, is the subject of a new film on HBO called 'The Price of Everything'.  In it he claims art is not business, something I`ve believed for a long time. Success in painting happens in the studio, success as a painter, is a matter of commerce. There is a whole lot of effort from all sides to blur this distinction yet it is true. Ask Larry.

                                                           Aronua by Larry Poons

 With that in mind, why did I decide to whore my work all of the sudden?
Because of a beach towel.
One with a fabulous Ferdinand Hodler landscape of an alpine lake. I love his work and seeing it on a towel seemed like the coolest thing I`d ever seen. Fine Art America was offering this item and many other printed products. The wheels turn. I have a dozen high resolution images just sitting on their asses on my hard drive. Why not put them to work? Why not partake in a little commerce now that the paintings are long finished? This was once an anathema but change is inevitable, right?
Now I may wake up tomorrow as my former high minded self and withdraw the merchandise. But for now, if you need a Tipton mug or a forest shower curtain, you will find one here.

The 2018 Portland Open Studios has come and gone. Although there was enough income, there were not enough visitors. It`s impossible to paint while waiting. Driving south out of Portland is too much to ask unless there is a cluster of artists to visit. This year there were only two in my community so I don`t think I`ll participate again. I`m talking with some local artists about a studio tour in just Lake Oswego. Anyone know of a guide for organizing such a thing?

                                                                   by Jo Bertini

 The Australian artist Jo Bertini paints the landscapes of her country with great economy and sensitivity. She doesn`t depict what she sees, she creates an equivalent. That is modernism.
As colorful as her work is, it`s used to intensify her response to the sensory conditions in her environment. To me she achieves a sense of lonely magic with that vast arid land.

                                                                by Jo Bertini

                                                                by Jo Bertini

 Yelp is certainly helpful but there are other ways to find good places to eat. In Six Rules for Eating Out, Tyler Cowen gives us observations and strategies to finding delicious food when we are away from home. His ideas are really useful. I don`t travel a lot but this issue can vex me mightily, usually when I`m already grouchy with hunger.

                                                                 by Mitch Burrell

 Yep, that`s moi!
Mitch was painting lots of portraits from photos and I kept egging him to work from life. Finally I told him I would sit for an hour. To give him the experience. I figured it would be much different. He said it was and he certainly got my likeness. Unlike in photography, the soul remains with the sitter.

Seattle Workshop Feb 2 and 3

Prints from Fine Art America

Work for Sale in my Studio

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Big Day!

                                             Over the Sea 27 watercolor on paper 24x18

 Today is important, we will know what kind of country we really are.
Hillary Clinton is nowhere in sight to justify a return to a meaner and certainly less just America. I`m not even nervous this time. Reality never quite reassembles after being shattered. I know now much better what my responsibilities are and what I can do, either way.
I also turned 65 around 2:30 am last night. So many of my birthdays have been steeped in idealism and hope and also in crushing disappointment. Depending on the election. I feel prepared as best as I can be.
 This morning I was reminded that gratitude is where happiness can be found. I know this but it takes a willful concentration. Not like a child`s fast prayer at bedtime. If I unravel the threads and look closely, I can see my inherent advantage and also mountains of pain and trouble that never darkened my way. And the good stuff benefits by counting. If I can stay with it, the word becomes the feeling which becomes the realization of extraordinary grace. The bus missed me, my parents loved me, I`ve never been hungry, I lived when my peers died of AIDS, I can paint! ....Lucky from the get go!

                                                     Riverlight oil on canvas 40x30

This is what has darkened my way! This is a section of the Tualatin River that I`ve painted many times, on site and in my studio. On an afternoon visit in late summer, the water was almost inky, the shadows of the cliff deep and yet the luxurious grasses and bushes on the far shore were ablaze;

 Yet I can`t seem to get anything convincing. Beware the painting that is inspired and promising in the beginning! I was, maybe still am, intent on getting this right but I`m not sure of what to do next. If I use my hard earned maturity, I`ll set it aside and do something else. I`ll ignore its calls for rescue.

Thank you to those who visited my open studio last month! My work was competing with spectacular, dazzling sunlight yet you ventured down into my basement. I appreciate it.

                                                              Lyndon and Carter

 Though I think he could eviscerate him with a swipe, Lyndon continues to mentor our new family member with patience.

                                                           Fall River watercolor 10x8

This was painted exactly two years ago. Another stretch of the Tualatin River, purchased by an artist who lives very close to that spot. That was a nice validation.

Abstraction from Nature workshop
Feb. 2 and 3
Seattle Artists League

work for sale in my studio

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

collage-Workshop-Randy for President!

                                                       Collage by Randall David Tipton

                                                          Collage by Randall David Tipton

 The second weekend of the Portland Open Studios is coming three days. The collages above were done during the first. Part of the 'mission' of the P.O.S. is educational, we are encouraged to show how we work. In previous years I painted and sometimes became so engrossed in what I was doing I ignored my guests. John would hiss at me that I was being rude. So collage seemed like a casual form of creativity that I could set aside easily. Some of the visitors joined me in my creating as if it were a big jigsaw puzzle.

 If you`re local, go out and talk to some artists this weekend. The weather will be gorgeous and we want some feedback! I`m at 5373 Lakeview Blvd, Lake Oswego OR, 97035. 10am to 5pm.
Also, another talented landscape painter, Lisa Wiser, is just down the street from me.

 I am asked periodically if I teach and the answer is usually no. However, I have been asked by the Seattle Art League to teach a workshop in February and I agreed. "Abstraction from Nature". Colleagues of mine insist I have much  to say about painting and I know I certainly have opinions. Now I`ll have a chance to organize my thoughts, examine and express my motives and methods. I do believe I have a visceral knowledge of painting. I`ll do my best to convey why and how I respond to the landscape. Feb. 2 and 3, 2019.

                                                             Tualatin River plein air

 It seems our hot smoky summer came with a consolation prize. October has been crystalline, warm and seductive. Day after day. The chilly night gives way to a cool morning that blooms into a clear, balmy, breezy afternoon. This sort of day will make you love your life. This is when life truly does feel like the gift that it is. Honestly, everyone acts blessed.
Now throw in a kitten!!
Oh my god, does it get any better??


No it doesn`t!
This is my second kitten in two years! Such a privilege!

                                                                   Carter and John

 The beginning and end of my political career.
Someone from my high school put this up on Facebook. I just read the text now and it didn`t mention my most controversial proposal. I wanted to transfer funds from the athletic budget to arts programs. PE coaches were campaigning against me!  I was serious and definitely delusional. The vote was close but I lost. Now it is hard to believe I did such a thing.

                                                                  by Betsy Chang

 The marvelous painter Betsy Chang is also taking part in the Portland Open Studios, #85. Go see her luminous work!

work for sale in my studio

Monday, October 8, 2018

Wild Plum and Portland Open Studios

                                                        Wild Plum oil on canvas 30x30

 Third attempt and this one I`ll keep. The subject is so simple, it had to be isolated at an exact moment of floral explosion. Two previous efforts were just banal. I walk by these trees every spring with morning light streaming behind them. In early March, one day it`s winter and the next, the season has turned.

                                                  Sunlight and Stone oil on canvas 40x30

 This is also new and the place is another landmark on a different walk. I lap Cook`s Butte for a cardio workout circling up and down. It the late summer, it`s dry and dusty in the sunny areas, then cool and green in the forest. I first painted this rock as a demo in a class I taught.

                                              Circle of Cypress oil on canvas 36x56

 And this got a makeover. I thought it was finished in the spring of 2016 but later knew it could be stronger. It`s a view from a picnic area on a bluff just north of the town of Mendocino Calif. My semester of 'art school' was here. I was 18 when I arrived, and so ready for beauty. I had escaped the smog, the heat and the car culture of inland Southern California. It is so much nicer now and a shining example of what can be when government is progressive.

 Maya Angelou said people always remember how you made them feel.
I remember exactly every bully that attacked me, where I was and how I reacted.
So did Christine Blasely Ford. But the trauma and objections of women don`t mater and another sexual predator now sits on the Supreme Court. His opinions about women and their rights are the ones that will prevail. For now.
 What an unhappy, unaware small man the new justice showed himself to be in the hearing. Our country deserves better.
This article from Howard Zinn written in 2005 gave me some perspective.

 I`ve been so immersed in preparations for the 2018 Portland Open Studios Tour, it`s hard to imagine anyone who hasn`t heard. But if your are, 100 artists in the Portland Metro area will open their studios to the public for two weekends; Oct. 13 and 14, then Oct. 20 and 21. The hours are 10am to 5pm. The website has addresses and maps. There is a Portland Open Studio insert in the Oct. issue of Portland Monthly, and you can purchase an app with all the information for $5. I haven`t been involved with it since 2015 so I have lots of work that is new. Work on paper as well as oil paintings. It`s a fun time and a total ego trip for me. Everyone who comes through the door has seen some of my work online and they`ve made a deliberate effort to visit. I live in an old suburb of Portland a bit out of the way. Come say hello!

5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR
503 380 4731

 In other news... I have a new kitten!! Even though Lyndon is my dream cat, we could tell he was bored and sometimes even a little depressed. Well, no one can be down with a kitten about! Sure enough Lyndon is ecstatic and surprisingly nurturing. We don`t have a name yet. Maybe it`s time to end the presidential series and go with a regular name. Or does he look like a Kennedy?

 Here is a sweet essay on Five Things Artists Really Believe In. My favorite is "no one is coming to save you". I had that delusion when I was young.

                                                        Bayou Kaiku by Allsion Stewart

                                                               Into Spring by Allison Stewart

                                                   La Foret Etude #1 by Allison Stewart

 Have you heard of Allison Stewart? I`ve been loving her botanical, organic, ethereal abstractions for a couple of years. I think we speak alike but different. She is in New Orleans, close to the bayous with all that richness of life to inspire her. She is rarely literal but always lyrical.

work for sale in my studio [updated]