Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pasture/Slough Study

The day after Thanksgiving was dry and sunny. In the Northwest we don`t take that for granted, we go outside. I don`t know if this is actually true, but I`ve heard that in Juneau AK elementary schools, they call a recess if there is a sun break. So we had to go somewhere and revel, and I didn`t want to get back into a car for long, having traveled for the holiday to Vancouver [WA]. The new Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge was nearby and as is common, these wet places are usually bordered by farmland.

Ruth Armitage, the host for my workshop in January, asked me to write something about the class and myself. This is what I sent her;

In this workshop I`ll focus on the versatility of combined watermedia, how to push the image much further than commonly thought possible. Through the use of various acrylic mediums, transparent watercolor can be extended and enhanced by the body and texture of these materials. The vibrant plastic paper Yupo will be the primary support I demonstrate on, traditional watercolor papers are also responsive.
Our individual motives and ideals about painting will be explored as we choose our subjects. As a landscape painter, I believe it is critical to analyze and understand my emotional reaction to what I`m seeing before I begin. These 'feelings' become memory and guide me throughout the many small experiments which build the painting. I refer to photos and drawings to structure a simple mental composition, then I proceed by intuition, chance and remembrance. Usually there are elements of abstraction which emphasize the aspects in the landscape that move me. The altering of 'natural' color, the simplification of forms, distorting the perspective, adding pattern to convey depth, and using gestural brush work are strategies I use to get close to the essence of my subject. Visual accuracy is not too important, what I`m after is a unique and personal vision.
For many reasons, I chose to forgo a conventional education though I read extensively, visited many museums and galleries and figured out the technical requirements of painting. Through luck, I was able to work briefly with a hero to legions of painters, Richard Diebenkorn. It was a month long workshop, he didn`t say much but did seem to approve of what I was doing. That was enough. That 'blessing' caused a leap in my ambition and eventually led to much stronger work.
I think I have something different to contribute in this workshop; some innovative methods and techniques as well as fresh ideas about where you might want to take your painting.

There is one opening left.


Maureen said...

I was listening last night (and taking notes) to an interview with the writer Joan Didion. In talking about her use of memories, she said, "Memories are what you no longer want to remember, because hey hurt, and also what you have to remember, also because they hurt. What you think you can't forget, you forget before you remember. . . Memories [help us] reshape ourselves." We never remember exactly, and time becomes an alchemic force, especially when the memory is influenced by emotion or the insertion of the "I". Reading your notes about the workshop, I'm struck by the parallels to writers' use of their experiences both remembered and filtered to make discoveries and thus "story". You use your visual memories to create, as it were, a new "narrative" in paint that becomes uniquely your own. It's fascinating to get behind the seeing to better understand both intent and outcome.

Ruth Armitage said...

Hi Randall,
Love this piece. The memory of the post Turkey-day sunshine is strong. I'm loving the sun this afternoon too :) Your class has filled, but I will take names for the wait list in case of cancellations.

kingfisher said...

Wow! Your colors just keep getting stronger! You must really appreciate the colorful autumn season.

Melody Cleary said...

I'm intrigued with the watercolor paint/acrylic mediums method - never heard of it. Ever tried it on canvas? I love seeing your work every week in my inbox, Randall.