Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bryant Woods - Oswego Lagoon - NFL -Tom Uttech

                                           Within Bryant Woods oil on panel 12x12

 This little painting began as a short demo for a curious visiting painter. These woods are my 'go to' place for beauty, I can walk there.

                                             Oswego Lagoon Study oil on Yupo 14x11

 A study for an oil painting I`m working on now. The lagoon is formed when the tiny Oswego Creek joins the Willamette River. Somehow a large protected pool was formed at this confluence. A footbridge crosses it with a view upstream that is ghostly and serene in winter. Here is an earlier version from 2011;

                                                    Winter Creek oil on canvas 20x16

  This blog is called Painter`s Process because I mostly talk about the creation of art. The psychological struggles, aesthetic concerns, technical questions and career realities. Sometimes natural history and science too. But my other two loves are politics and food. I have passionate opinions with both, the former I share here rarely but the other I`m going to more often.

 As a young teenager thinking my way through the Christian orthodoxy I was raised with but still a believer in its compassionate and generous values, I took to politics as a real world expression of these beliefs. I remember staying up watching the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago late into the night. MLK and Robert Kennedy had been killed just months before. I was frightened and only 13 but I knew that this mattered. I knew that those student protesters threatened the order families depend on, but I also could tell they were right, that the war was tragically wrong. Though I`ve never been an activist I`ve always believed politics to be a critically important and moral part of citizenship.

 Mitch Burrell has been a regular attendee at my monthly demonstration. For the last one, he appeared carrying a disc wrapped in foil. I thought he said 'fritatta' so as I set it on a table I announced it to everyone and maybe they thought like me, a quiche-like thing, now cold. No one even peeked. This became my great good fortune! When I went up to the kitchen after everyone had left, I opened the parcel up to find a thin cake dusted with powdered sugar. I cut some wedges and took a bite. It was intensely almond then came a nice note of anise. It was perfect and simple. John and I tried to think of something, anything that would enhance it. We couldn`t, no fruit or sauce or even whipped cream. Great Italian food is often like that. So uncomplicated it`s hard to believe yet change one ingredient or ratio in the recipe and it will fail. Mitch sent it to me saying it was from a cookbook called 'Tuscany the Beautiful'. Here it is;
1 cup of ground almonds, 1 of flour, 1of sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 TBS. of fennel seeds. Mix, Add 1 cup of milk. Bake 1 hour at 350 in a tart pan. [M. says it needs to be a spring form pan. There goes the Tuscan simplicity!] Dust with powdered sugar when cool.

 My niece Elizabeth posted this 'selfie' clip on Facebook of a Seattle Seahawks fan at the NFL playoff the other night. It`s mostly just his face but you can literally read what is happening in his expressions. I`m not a sports fan but I`m moved by human emotion and this young man`s joy is a sight to behold!

                                                        Tom Uttech 1983

 E M Corsa told me my work reminded her of Tom Uttech`s. She couldn`t have praised me more as Tom has long been a hero of mine. I see actual similarities in the older piece of his I`ve posted above but his current work is different. No particular stories are being told in his paintings yet they read to me like spiritual narratives, the Big Story found in the details. I`ve never seen one in person so I was surprised in this video to learn how important biological accuracy is to him. His landscapes of the upper Great Lakes are rich and intimate views of another kind of reality.

My website is updated and now includes work from 2014. Thanks Jeremy and Anneliese!

 I will be demonstrating my watermedia technique near the close of my show 'Environments' with Tom Cramer, at the site, Museum 510 on First St. downtown Lake Oswego, Thurs. March 26 at 11 am. All are welcome. Tom and I will also be giving a gallery talk Thurs. March 19 at 6:30 pm.

[updated] work for sale in my studio


Mitch said...

Randall, thanks for the kind mention. But I feel I should make a correction to the recipe for fennel cake: it should probably be baked in a spring form pan; otherwise, it might fall apart when you try to take a piece out. And I mis-remembered the name of the book: it is from "Tuscany, The Beautiful Cookbook".

It looks like the weather may be drying out a bit and getting milder. I hope you will be able to get out and gather up some more of that beautiful inspiration!

Ruth Armitage said...

Thank you for the morning inspiration. I had not seen Tom Uttech's work. Really enjoyed it...