Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Across the Field[s]
From my plein air foray in the Columbia River Gorge in early September.
It was so refreshing to be in the golden East once again. The transition is swift, within 15 miles the landscape changes from rainforest to arid grasslands. From one side of the Cascades to the other.
It`s not the mountain, it`s not the trees, it`s the space between them and me. That third dimension expressed with just two. The classic artist`s dilemma from the caves to the present. How do you do it? How, is pretty much the history of art in Western civilization. Probably the most direct method is through scale. Things in the distance are smaller. Learning how to mimic visual reality was one of the great achievements of the Renaissance painters. In time though, exposure to other cultures caused artists to question this. Why not make everything sort of equal? My hero, Pierre Bonnard, did just that giving the same importance to his wife, her friend, the cat, the bowl of fruit, the floor tiles and the orchard through the window, all in a single painting! Wove it all together through color and pattern. His work ravishes the eyes.
My own approach is somewhat similar, I usually flatten the space out yet suggest atmosphere through gradations in the paint. Though I can`t say it`s a constant theme in my work, I`ve done quite a few paintings of trees from across a field. Again, the subject is really that distance between. There is just something so healthy to the human spirit to see just 'space', emptiness. A house with a view is often no more than a building without anything close to it. Just that unoccupied air. It makes us feel good, expansive and safe. Worth the higher price!
From last summer, my beloved Bryant Woods.
This one was about the smell of damp grass, shadow and dusk.
The Finley Wildlife Preserve near Corvallis. Created from former farm land and slowly being restored to an original native landscape. The sense of a promise fulfilled for the early settlers is palpable. The place is bursting with life.
Until it caught fire a couple of years ago, I spent considerable time at Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge. The burnt fields are coming back. The views from here into the mouth of the Columbia Gorge have a yearning quality. Like you really ought to go there. Now.
This one from 2006 was painted from memory of a stand of trees at the Storm King Sculpture Park a bit north of NYC.
Come visit me and some other worthy artists this weekend and next during the Portland Open Studios. I have maps.
Randall David Tipton
5373 Lakeview blvd
Lake Oswego OR
97035 [close to I-5]
available work for sale in my studio