Tuesday, October 29, 2019

more watercolors!

                          Rainforest Winter Study watermedia on paper 22x15 inches, 56x38 cm

  I`ve admired Joan Nelson`s work forever. Her landscapes have a mythic quality that stirs a peculiar longing inside me. Months ago I tried to paint something with her vision in mind and I did not succeed.
 Last winter I began a search for a paper that would be a 'soft' alternative to the plastic paper Yupo I use so often. This search for the 'right' paper has been a neurotic journey for years. I`ve tried many papers, all decidedly unsuitable and all with the one common denominator of me. My mental health isn`t too sturdy when it cones to paper. Check my pockets and you`ll find napkins and kleenex I might 'need' again. Visit my studio and you`ll see papers lying everywhere. I seem unable to throw them away.
 I had heard of Hahnemuhle papers as being beautiful to work on so I found a supplier and asked for some samples. Mark, at Acuity Papers, balked, then reconsidered and sent me a nice selection. I tested them all, was unimpressed but ordered a few sheets and the package sat in my studio unopened until now. I had been too involved in oil painting to give watercolor any more than an occasional plein air effort. Now that my oil paintings had been delivered to the gallery, I was ready.

                         Rainforest Summer watermedia on paper 30x22 inches, 76x56 cm

 The painting above and the opening image are painted on Hahnemuhle`s Cezanne Hot Press watercolor paper 140 lb. and it is a complete joy! I am hard on papers, I revise constantly and this stuff is tough. And there is enough sizing to keep the paint on the surface longer which allows for a versatility in techniques.
 I think I got much closer to a Joan Nelson in Rainforest Winter Study and I think the otherworldly quality in her work may come as much from her materials as her intentions. My composition was a repeat but the way the watercolor sat and shimmered was different. It was softer and more atmospheric than on Yupo. I think I have what I`ve wanted for so long! Be careful what you ask for.

                           Stafford Valley October 1 watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches, 66x51 cm

                        Stafford Valley October 2 watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches, 66x51 cm

 I also bought a bunch of new Yupo including a roll 30 inches by 10 yards.
I am so happy to be working in watermedia right now. This is the best run of work since before my legs were so messed up in 2017.

 Two weeks ago I was in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana visiting a beloved cousin. Once we were close, living nearby, both young artists open to the world. Yet nothing is stable for young adults. She soon left California for upstate New York, I had my year of farm living on the Mendocino coast and then moved to New Mexico. We drifted apart.
Our parents died one by one and some of our siblings left too. At a family gathering last summer she invited me to come see her in Montana. My brother Mike and I flew into Missoula and were welcomed with a reunion/love fest like no other. There is nothing like being wanted. Her home, her family, her world were works of art!
I met Bobbi McKibben in her studio and saw her moody emotionally charged pastel landscapes and impressive collection of other artists work. Including two Ben Aronson landscapes.
 At the Missoula Art Museum [free!] was a retrospective of the great Oregon artist Rick Bartow. I had seen this show in Eugene OR with Carol Marine a couple of years prior.
Just that morning in my hotel room I had received an email from a mutual friend who said Carol was moving to Missoula! Synchronicity sure gets my attention.

                                                                   by Matthew Wong

 I had just become aware of him. Who was this guy? These paintings are original to say the least. The look of Outsider Art but with narratives and modernist insights. Matthew Wong died earlier this month, 35 years old. He was on the autism spectrum, with Tourette`s Syndrome and chronic depression. He was Canadian and self taught and that young man could paint!

                                                                 by Matthew Wong

                                                                by Matthew Wong

                                                                        by Matthew Wong

                                                                      Matthew Wong

                                                                          by Ed Clark

 Someone I learned of through his obituary. Ed Clark lived to be 93 but felt overlooked. He was African American and no doubt was. That painting just above is exquisite!
Likewise this one;

                                                                         by Ed Clark

 I`m posting this from Facebook and it allegedly comes from Jerry Saltz, that mensch of an art critic.
His humble humane advice to artists is worth listening to.

So with that preface, here is the work in my show at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach. It just ended but everything is there still.

click HERE for paintings for sale in my studio

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Watercolors autumn 2019

                               Canyon Stream watercolor on Yupo 16x12 inches 40.5x30.5 cm

                                Coastal Nocturne watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches 66x51 cm

                                   Cliff Corner watermedia on Yupo 26x20 inches 66x51 cm

                           Ice Fog Lichen Light watermedia on Yupo 20x20 inches 51x51 cm

                                Hog Island Study watercolor on Yupo 20x16 inches 51x40.5 cm

                                         North Coast watermedia on Yupo 26x20 66x51 cm

 I`ve been unusually happy painting on paper again with watercolor alone or mixed with ink, acrylic and watercolor crayons. These are larger than I have been doing and it feels good to scale up and use big brushes. Despite them all looking exactly like I did them, I`m always trying to say something new or personal, using any means that are exploratory and fun. I insist on fun.
Each bright white sheet of Yupo is as scary as the last one. That silly reaction has been there from the start, so I acknowledge it and then begin.

                                                                Arch Cape Creek

                                                          in Oswald West State Park

   Hug Point-best beach in the world! Cliffs to climb on, a waterfall, a cave big enough for shelter, odd rock formations and a rainforest just steps away.

                                                          photographing a cave

 My trip to the coast three weeks ago has sure stayed with me. It`s far enough away to keep each visit distinct. On damp gray days, the beaches seem most like the iconic Northwestern landscapes everyone imagines. Nature is dominant with islands of culture and comfort strung all along the coast. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and best of all, it`s not New Zealand or Greece or Patagonia. It`s Oregon and it`s not expensive.

It`s too soon for a wager but it`s beginning to look like #45 might experience some justice at last. But he`s an old white rich Republican not to mention "leader of the free world". We will see. Those children are still in cages. This cruel, immoral president is being shielded by his party. History will not be kind to those who enable him. As Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, with Trump, 'all roads lead to Putin'. I think a whole lot of corruption will be uncovered in this serious process.

 Her political instincts are razor sharp and clear headed. She waited as long as possible to begin impeachment proceedings, fearing what it would do to our country. Until there was no other way to defend our democracy. Impeachment is the remedy for the abuse of power. It is what the constitution requires.

 This is an extreme form of what we are up against. With over a quarter of our citizens, the president has become an idol.
God help us.

                                          Roofs and Gables, Santa Monica by Ben Aronson

 This is as good as painting gets in my opinion. Even though he`s from Boston, he exposes the soul of California like no other. These cityscapes are an homage to Richard Diebenkorn and his world, yet they extend his insights into a kind of language. I can tell you as a native, he nails it every time. San Francisco or Los Angeles, he knows both intimately.

                                             Moonrise watermedia on Yupo 12x12 2008

Ode to Tides, the traveling art exhibit about our coastal ecology, will soon be in Beaverton. This big body of work is intended to bring a closer awareness of our estuaries. The range of artwork within  this theme is remarkable, the cause is so worthy. As the sea level rises, healthy estuaries will help enormously with the expected storm surges.

Click HERE for art for sale in my studio

Friday, September 27, 2019

new revolution and an Anniversary

                                      Overgrowth watermedia on Yupo 8x26 inches 20x66 cm

 The week before I was practicing and this was one of those pieces. I wanted my demonstration at the White Bird Gallery to be credible. It was an 'event' in the first Earth and Ocean Arts Festival which was timed to coincide with last weeks Climate Strike.
Somehow, somewhere deep in our collective psyche, something turned. Did you feel it?

                                    Northwest Forest acrylic on Yupo 20x16 inches 51x45 cm

 This was the demo I began at the gallery. Below is how it looked when I stopped for the day.

 Believe it or not, I thought it was really promising when I concluded.
A reader of this blog asked me to record it live on Facebook. She said it was easy and it was. I taped my phone to a tripod and commenced painting. In my last post I mentioned I would try this so there were some viewers waiting. I chose a generic northwest forest as my subject because the motif is familiar. I learned the hard way to do something without too many surprises when demonstrating. Nonetheless, right from the start I had a major change of plans. Yupo has to be handled very carefully. If you touch it bare handed the oils on your skin will leave an area that resist the paint. Knowing this, I cleaned the surface carefully the night before. To no avail. My first strokes seized up as if I were painting on a waxed floor. The whole surface! The show must go on so I got out some acrylic medium to mix with the watercolor and squeezed out acrylic paint all around my mixing palette. This would have to be an acrylic painting. Improvisation is what I do and disastrous experiments are common in my studio. This time I just had an audience.
 Rather than having to figure out how to verbally explain my actions, I like it if I have questions. Christopher Mathie sat close by and we had a nice conversation while I painted.
 It is saved on my Randall David Tipton Studio page. If you take a look, two other videos show up first. They were done very crudely in my studio. Someone who had been watching earlier wanted me to proceed with the demo painting, so I tried to oblige her. I couldn`t find an option to just take a video, only one that would broadcast live. That would be ok I thought, no one knows I`m doing it. Wrong! Soon I was getting comments and some complaints about the lighting and hearing from people I had not had contact with for years! Sarah Peroutka watched it from her sleeping bag while camping! It was a real mess but also kind of fun.

                                                       Big thoughts at Pig and Pancake

 That is my husband John.
Twenty years ago I answered his personal ad on Yahoo. The whole online dating industry was still many years away. We had a long funny talk on the phone and agreed to meet at a Starbucks near his home. I had seen his photo and he was not there when I arrived. Considering  myself a good judge of character, I was surprised. After waiting twenty minutes I asked the barista if there was another Starbucks nearby. He said 'oh yes, right around the corner'. Soon I saw him sitting in the sun and there, for the first time, he said 'you`re late'.
Within a few months he had a key to my apartment and I began to notice his stuff in my closets. I`d come home from the restaurant late in the evening and he would be there. My experience with healthy romantic relationships was zero. But I had been diligent in pursuing why in therapy. When he sprang off the couch to clean up my diabetic cats vomit, I knew he was a keeper. They bonded before I did, also a good sign.
 So we count our time together from the day we met. Twenty years ago there was no cultural recognition of our kind of relationship. No rites of passage or celebrations except for the ones we created ourselves.
 Any marriage is a leap of faith. When they hold, over and again, it is so humbling.
That man reading his phone while waiting for breakfast is exactly who I want.

                                        Momento Mori watercolor by Richard Diebenkorn

 That is one of his last works, painted shortly before his death.
If you like his influential work, here is a wonderful essay by Diebenkorn`s student Tony Berlant. [He is phenomenal in his own right]

                                 From Laguna Pueblo, photo of her brother by Miriam Marmon

Click HERE for work for sale in my studio

Prints from Fine Art America

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I love paper

                        Bryant Woods, Late Winter watermedia on terraskin 23x36 inches 58.5x89 cm

 At last, nearly all of my 'serious' oil paintings are complete, many are already in galleries, and I`m working on paper again. I`ve yearned for this moment but haven`t totally trusted it. My perverse human nature could have only been wanting what it couldn`t have. But it feels good! Paper is liberating, anything can happen on a piece of paper. All is allowed.
 My tough early years as an artist have ruined me for anything more precious than good paint. How someone could commit an image to Belgian linen is beyond me. I need  the [relatively] cheap substrate of paper. Then I can  relax and maybe forget about myself.
 All summer I used paper in my plein air efforts though they weren`t too good. I had new equipment, stimulating conversationalists along side me, and a gentle smoke-free gorgeous summer to work with. I did much better stuff two years ago when I hobbled to each site using a cane. There is something very interesting about adversity enhancing creativity. I don`t mean the stereotype of the doomed, drunk artist, I`m talking about how sweating in the heat, shooing away mosquitoes can make for nice painting. Every time I sit on my lawn chair, open up my 'travel' palette and look around, I think this is the stupidest thing I could be doing. It is way too daunting. The solution is to not think at all. Get everything in place and just begin. No gap. With luck, the discomfort can make me transcend my ego with its fear of failure, and humbly do my best. Without exception I always feel I failed. Then later I look again and think that wasn`t so bad! A few adjustments later and I might have a piece imbued with how that morning felt. I also remember this dynamic always in place when I worked with the figure every week in New Mexico. Our efforts will always seem small when we can look up and see an actual forest or human being before us. The comparison isn`t fair.

                  Oswego Creek Spring watercolor on Terraskin 23x35 inches 58.5x89 cm

 Both of these bigger paintings burst out of me but I thought long and hard about how I would paint them first. Beginning a new piece is my least favorite moment in the whole process. I`m no visionary, my engagement doesn`t kick in until I have enough to react to. Bonnard inspired Oswego Creek but Klimt was my companion as I worked.
 In Spring, the Northwest is a crazy, complicated pointillist landscape. I`m usually at a loss at how to respond. Well, it`s six months until that is my reality again. My memory scaled this back to something manageable.
 Here are a couple more watermedia pieces, done either on location or while waiting for oil paint to dry.

                                                             Luscher Farm Field



                                                               Frijoles Canyon


And this just because it`s so bad. A friend was visiting Bandon by the Sea and her instagram photos provoked my own memories of the massive rocks all over the beach. I will paint one of the caves!

 Despite many hours I achieved an unspeakable orifice, more tissue than stone.

 Cheryl Strayed spoke recently at the local high school. Part of a 'Living Well' series sponsored by the Adult Community Center. Her memoir 'Wild' was deeply moving and I wanted to hear her. The event sold out so we arrived early to get a good seat. It was quickly evident we were in a sea of women. I could count the men on two hands. What the hell? Afterwards John and I were leaning against a wall talking about her remarks when one of the organizers approached us and thanked us for supporting the women in our lives. ?? I think she thought we were waiting for our wives to get their books signed. We told her what 'Wild' meant to us. We had both listened to the audio book and both of us found ourselves weeping on our walks. That is power. No doubt it was my male privilege that I didn`t realize the feminist icon Cheryl had become. After all, not many 22 year old women walk a thousand miles alone carrying a heavy load. Grief had been the engine in her trek along the Pacific Crest Trail after the death of her mother. Profound loss can cause a fearlessness. The worst has happened and one becomes untouchable.
 I`m now listening to her book of advice columns called 'Tiny, Beautiful Things' and it too has stirred my emotions. Without flinching she will dismantle the deepest insecurity or impossible situation. Her responses to these difficult matters is ruthlessly honest but exceedingly kind. She has helped me imagine a better self and showed me how to do it.

 This is my beloved Carter flying high on narcotics. This little rescue has had one problem after another. He just had all of his teeth removed except for the canines. He has the auto-immune disease Gingivostomatitis. He is allergic to the plaque that forms on his teeth. If you have a cat with terrible breath and it isn`t from Fancy Feast, your cat may be afflicted, it`s not uncommon. Untreated, the mouth becomes so sore eating is extremely painful. Somehow they can still thrive without their teeth and even eat dry cat food again! He`s healing nicely and in time we will be brushing those four remaining teeth.
I wouldn`t want to live a life without cats.

 The great Bill McKibben has written a report from the future and it`s well worth reading. It is fascinating and depressing but hopeful too about how the world will be 30 years from now.  IF we get serious about climate change. Is there anyone alive who truthfully still doubts global warming? The catastrophe will require worldwide cooperation and we shouldn`t be surprised that our possible demise is what finally brings us together.

This is my third try in three days to publish this post. Earlier I tried to include something from the Newport OR Police Department that corrupted those attempts. It was an excerpt from Winnie the Pooh about a visit to Eeyore when they notice his absence. He is sad and his friends just sit with him in silence. September is suicide prevention month. Simple quiet kindness can help those drowning in despair. Never underestimate the healing potential of just bearing witness. Just being there. It is awkward but it is something real.

 On Sat. Sept. 21 I will be demonstrating watermedia on yupo at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach OR at 2 pm. This is an event that is part of the first Earth and Ocean Art Festival. It is a benefit for our Mom. Come to the coast and celebrate mother nature!
 At the request and encouragement of Heather from Chicago, I will also try to live stream the demonstration on my Facebook page Randall David Tipton Studio. She says it`s simple......

click HERE for work for sale in my studio

Prints are available at Fine Art America

                                                            Dune by Joan Mitchell