Monday, August 19, 2019

Dreamy Summer

                                Minto Brown Marsh oil on canvas 18x36 inches 46x91.5 cm

 I haven`t loved a summer so much since living in New Mexico. This benign, soft, fresh summer is a surprise and a luxurious gift. One sweet day after another. No smoke, cool oceanic mornings followed by clean sunny skies into evening. How did we deserve this? Paris reached 108 degrees! No one knows why we`re so lucky.
 Yet the overwhelmingly green landscape doesn`t inspire working in series. So as in previous summers, I use the season to get to the paintings that have been waiting in the back of my mind. There`s usually a photo to anchor the memory and the emotion. Once I begin, it`s not hard to imagine.
 The wildlife refuge-municipal park-farm which constitutes Minto Brown Island in Salem OR always provokes me. The wetlands in particular in late fall and winter. The painting above is probably still a work in progress, I don`t understand it yet. The color took off in a direction of its own with the composition trailing along. Feeling like a bystander when painting isn`t bad but it takes longer to evaluate the conclusion.

                                                       oil on canvas 24x24 inches 61x61 cm

 Another new painting that is a mystery to me. The inspiration was the maroon leaves decomposing on the forest floor in winter. I was remembering a muddy little woodland I love on Fanno Creek. Somehow it quickly became more about the juxtaposition of Mars violet against teal. Once I figure it out, I`ll probably paint over it.

 I happened upon an ad for Kroma Acrylics on Instagram, I went to the highly educational website and soon realized these might possibly be what I`ve wanted. The problem with acrylics is that they are not oil paints. When I read they had the maximum pigment load the vehicle could accept, I was ready to gamble. I bought the 'classic' set pictured above. All traditional; cadmiums, cobalt, and titanium. All primaries with none of the modern pigments based on dyes in this set. They are a pleasure to work with, very creamy yet dense. In my practice, acrylics come into play to extend or correct watercolor. I rarely use them alone. If they had an equivalent of Gamblin`s Radiant White, I would be tempted to replace my oils. As good as these are, the white is just not opaque enough, and I really don`t like trying to re-paint spontaneous brush strokes. The texture is soft enough though, I don`t think I would need both a tube and fluid version of my colors like I do now. They`re local too and I love that!

                            Into the Shallows oil on prepared paper 24x18 inches 61x46 cm

 I`ve been super busy being famous lately. A Chinese-American website called Our Narratives asked me for an interview and I said of course. Many nice questions and emails later, "Through the Mist-Interview with Oregon Artist Mr. Randall David Tipton" was published. Thanks Adelina!

 Then a French magazine, Practique Arts, asked me.

 Having just done the one, I was less than enthused. I asked what they would want from me? The list was long. I said no, there were several interviews already in existence, my story stayed the same and I just didn`t have the time to give it. She could write something on her own if she wanted to. She did. Thanks Steph!

 I translated some of it through Google Translate with disappointing results.
My bilingual buddy Mitch gave me a much more poetic version. Nice how well the paintings reproduced!

 Have you ever had something you knew intimately become really popular?
As a kid I went to Laguna Beach often as a guest of my close friend Jim. His parents brought me along to keep him entertained. We had so much fun. The same giant house was rented with three or four families occupying it. The adults played cards from morning until bedtime while the kids swam, fished, and hiked. Our favorite place to fish has become a plein air hot spot; the Keyhole. We never called it that but we thought it was cool to walk through. Right beside it was a huge slanting rock we sat on to cast our lines. On the bluff above was a trailer park. Now it is an upscale resort called Montage. Here are some of my painting colleagues views of the Keyhole.

                                                                       David Solomon

                                                                 September McGee

                                                                 Robert Kuester

                                                                   Robert Lemler

   Lessons from her father. Anyone who has ever had a job could benefit from these clear principles.

                                                     The Wedding by Zoey Frank

 I was aware of her but not fully. Then I looked closer at Zoey Frank`s astonishing work. Oh my God, just take a look. Such luscious, sensuous realism! Yet completely contemporary. This rarely happens to me but after a half hour or so scanning carefully, I became intimidated. I thought why bother? Let her do it. Stupid, but I was flabbergasted!

                                                      Peter Reading by Zoey Frank

                                                     Bathing Suit by Zoey Frank

I`ve been working on a show to coincide with the new Earth and Ocean Festival in Cannon Beach in September. The industrious artists and merchants on the coast are always thinking of fun ways to attract visitors and celebrate something worthy. Well the dates of the festival were changed and my show became more of a group affair. This is fine though I did feel like a balloon that had popped. I will still have lots of new work on display and I will be giving a watermedia on Yupo demostration on Saturday September 21 at 2 pm at the White Bird Gallery on the north end of town. This is my 34th year with the gallery!

                                                                    by Daniel Collins

work for sale in my studio

Monday, July 29, 2019


                                                Mid-winter oil on canvas 20x24  51x61 cm

 The local parks where I live serve me well. The bonds I vote for translate into maintained places that keep to a natural low key vibe. Just what I like. No picnic tables or swing sets, a visiting child can look for bugs. Most of my paintings, like the one above, come from my walks there. Occasionally though I get out of town and if the trip allows, into someplace wilder. Not back packing nature but more like car camping. I carried a pack in Boy Scouts but never since. I may give the impression I`m hiking in pristine wilderness but I`m really a mile away from my home.
 However last week, after a visit with nearby in-laws, we went to Silver Creek Falls state park. It`s a little chunk of old growth forest with multiple waterfalls and undisturbed rainforest vegetation. It`s a bath of green!

 With some really big trees

 As you can imagine, the atmosphere of the place is kind of reverent.
I just finished 'Barkskins' by the wonderful Annie Proulx and she shows the consequence of centuries of logging. Because she`s a great writer, I could stomach the descriptions of the brutal massacre of the New World`s forests and the incredibly arrogant attitudes behind it. It is ugly and the genocide of the people living in those places, will surprise no one. It is the story of our country entwined with the history of the timber industry. As an Oregonian, I`m glad I`m better educated now about the business that first produced the wealth of my state.
This was painted a couple of days later;

                                          Broken Promises oil on panel 20x16  40.5x51 cm

                                                       Spider Rock by Bob Stuth-Wade

 A couple of years ago, I was perusing the vast Valley House Gallery website when I stumbled across Bob Stuth-Wade and it was like a jolt of electricity. How had this magical realist ever gotten by me??
He knew the soul of the Southwest intimately, and his technique is so precise and skilled , it`s utterly baffling.Yet he is not a hyper-realist.  He works from life on location and his intentions seem to be humane, even loving. He takes realism to a rare, maybe holy place. A Stuth-Wade painting is a clear view into the miracle of existence.

                                                           by Bob Stuth-Wade

                                                                 by Bob Stuth-Wade

                                      Summer Meadow watermedia on paper 12x9  30.5x23 cm

I`ve done some more outdoor work myself. That meadow above is no other than the Bryant Woods meadow! That place just gives and gives to me.

    Mitch Burrell and me in a photo by Burt Jarvis. That was a fun day. I`m back to my old method of hauling around an awkward lawn chair and painting on my lap. The fancy easel I bought just wasn`t right and it took me a while to figure it out. The palette didn`t let me get close enough to the paper, I had to lean over it. Anyway being closer to the ground is nice. I was studying the grasses;

 which led to this;

                                              untitled  watermedia on paper 12x9   30.5x23 cm

                                                               by Richard Diebenkorn

 "I can tell as soon as he turns up at the garden gate. I can tell if he had a good day by the way he carries himself, whether he fumbles with his keys, whether he says hi. Just a few weeks ago, he came in and said 'it`s all over. I simply cannot paint!' The next morning he left early and stayed in the studio all day without putting a single mark on the canvas, just trying to look at it in a new way. And then he came home and said 'I think it`s the best thing I`ve done'." Phylis Diebenkorn, from the Diebenkorn Foundation on Instagram.

                                                                   by Michael Lipsey

work for sale in my studio

prints by Fine Art America

Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer Work

                                               In the Canyon oil on canvas 30x30 [76x76 cm]

 This came together in a 12 hour day, it`s been a long time since I`ve done that. I didn`t intend to and as the day progressed, I started letting go of my other plans. This is an imaginary composition of the Oneanta Gorge in the larger Columbia River Gorge, and I had done a study years ago. Can something be a study when there was only memory to guide it? It felt great to paint in the 'zone' again but when I took it outdoors to photograph, the greens screamed at me. So then I spent several days adjusting them and in the end there is peace.

 It can`t possibly last but Oregon is having a mild summer. Like they used to be and I am beyond grateful. In this new age of global warming, the sweetness of a day feels to me extravagant. I want to honor it. To that end, I`ve been painting outside some. The results aren`t too successful yet but these two cheered me on;

                                 From Luscher Farm watercolor on Yupo 14x11 [35.5x28 cm]

                                     Untitled Forest watercolor on Yupo 12x9 [30.5x23 cm]

 Lots of unfinished oil paintings about but they are slowly coalescing. Very slowly. I`m close.

                                            watermedia on Terraskin 12x12 [30.5x30.5 cm]

 As I plot my strategy for re-engaging with the oil paintings, I paint watercolors. Even a decent abstract one!

 Everybody has seen the photos, most are appalled, but unless the courts order more humane treatment, these concentration camps at the border will persist. This is what the president wants and his party is mostly silent. Deterrence to immigration through cruelty. I am so ashamed of my country right now.

 Illegal immigration is a persistent problem but these Central Americans are fleeing lawless countries menaced by drug criminals. They struggle to come here for the mere chance their children will be safe.
In my opinion, we broke those countries and we own them now. Where to start? We overthrew democratic governments to make banana agriculture profitable for American business interests. That`s where 'Banana Republics' come from. We supported dictators who enabled businesses to exploit those countries for any resource that was marketable. Our disastrous war on drugs caused these societies to degrade into vicious feudal territories ruled by drug gangs. We used those countries in a petty proxy war with Russia, ignoring the needs of the citizens but keeping their governments placated with foreign aid. So now a lot of those people want the hell out of there just to survive. It will never happen, but I think we need a separate immigration policy with those Central American countries. And major investment in their local enterprises. Throw in sensible drug laws since this is a fantasy.

 And since this is a serious tone, here is an article by Bill McKibben on our new climate.

For now, the fate of our country resides in the Republican Party. Will any patriots besides Justin Amash emerge? Sure looks doubtful as that institution slides into fascist policies without a hiccup. The voter suppression alone is an outrage.
 We all can see it. That damn red hat is a swastika. American style.

 OK then.

 Look at these beautiful paintings by Jordan Ellingston.
A year ago he wrote me and invited me to come paint with him in Kauai. I could stay in the room he rented, he would sleep in a tent. Now that touched me, I`m a virtual stranger. He saw something in my work that had a commonality with his vision. I agree. There is an obsessive focus on the sweeping crystalline space of the North Shore that sure got to me when there in 2013.
Have you ever seen any paintings of Hawaii this soulful?

More research on the incredible power of drawing! This article caused me to examine my own resistance. As I`ve mentioned many times, I think drawing is a pain in the ass. But why? Well for me it might be because I try to make it utilitarian. I see it as preparations for painting. So when I can`t indicate mass without a bunch of tedious cross hatching I get frustrated. Maybe if I just let lines be lines. I`m not sure if I can. For many years I only worked from drawings so it is baked in. That practice made me draw a lot and I truly think it`s the foundation of what I`m doing. I advocate for it all the time yet feel so little joy.

work for sale in my studio [updated]

prints from Fine Art America

Saturday, June 15, 2019


 I`ve been thinking about this for days, it`s our 50 year anniversary! Collectively, we began to demand our full humanity be recognized. I was 15 and can`t truthfully say I remember the event, I suspect it wasn`t national news. But by the time I graduated high school, I was acutely aware of what it meant for me. On a bus returning from Disneyland on grad night, I came out to myself. I felt terror and relief simultaneously. It was a couple more years before I let those I love know but I understood, a life of integrity was the only one I wanted to live.
No life is simple and everybody struggles. Yet having a massive prejudice to push against gave my life some early purpose. I`ve never assumed bigotry and spoke of my reality openly. Without negative reaction for the most part. I`m certain the love of my parents was the foundation for that confidence. I would meet many others not so lucky.
True pride was still in the future, I was doing what I could with my circumstance. Being an artist who worked in restaurants was an easier passage than most. I have been comfortable on the margins with little expectation for money. My personal 'pride' came with my husband John. It took many years and a lot of therapy before he was possible. And he stayed. When I became grateful for my sexuality, that was the attitude that mattered.
Despite the ridicule and bias, it`s good to be gay.

                                                              2014 post-wedding party

                                                                oil on canvas 12x9

                                                 Winter Meadow oil on panel 20x20

 A couple of recent paintings I can live with. There have been several others I can`t. I never get used to this dilemma; I yearn for that great painting that paints itself, but they`re very rare. My process involves lots of experimentation trying to find something workable within my intention. It can be so frustrating. Yet if it were easy, I`d make it complicated. Boredom is less acceptable than stress by far. The unrest I feel in my recent sessions must be a message, but what? I keep going back and forth between mediums, trying out new substrates, different scales and nothing is taking root yet in a sustainable joy. I get good paintings here and there but it`s a groove I`m after. The sense of mission.

The whining of artists who are living the dream, it`s the worst!

 You are looking at the next president of the United States. The one on the right, the other is his husband. I`m serious. This is how; Barack Obama`s presidency was made possible by the sheer incompetence of George W Bush, with his debacle of the war in Iraq. The country, in enough numbers, overcame an embedded racism and elected someone smart, charismatic and black. Eight years later, a complete charlatan barely wins because of the despair in parts of the country that never recovered from the Great Recession. What have we got to lose? The economy improves though the chaos, deceit and corruption of the President`s administration turns off so many, the country chooses a brilliant small town mayor for his replacement. Who happens to be very young and gay. It could happen! If Pete Buttigieg is humbly articulate and a visionary, he could capture the imagination of the country. If the president attacked his sexuality, I don`t think people would stand for it. I`m very curious to see the first debates. If he can win over people of color, and if his intelligence doesn`t become a liability, hard to relate to, I think the man above might have what it takes. After all, anyone can be president.

                                                                    by Doron Langberg

 The young Israeli artist, Doron Langberg, is gay and using his social circle as the subject of his work. His technique is sensual and painterly with vivid color. Bonnard is a direct influence both for his bold color and the domesticity he portrayed so lovingly. The work is intimate and often erotic. In an interview he explains how his generation came of age when HIV was treatable and it does not dominate the queer culture like it did. Yet he wants the work to read as unequivocally gay. Interesting.

                                                                   by Doron Langberg

                                                                     by Doron Langberg

                                                               by Doron Langberg

 I find his work to be utterly beautiful.

 Yo painters, listen up! I want to debunk a belief that is giving you false comfort. If you let your paint dry on a brush, you cannot bring it back to life with Murphy`s Oil Soap. This does NOT work! Mind your brushes when you quit for the day.

 My cats. Lyndon asleep, Carter on his waterbed. I`m just a piece of furniture to him.

                                                             Waterfall oil on panel 6x6

work for sale in my studio