Wednesday, September 30, 2015

'Metolius Morning - PDXOS - 'Between the World and Me'

                                           Metolius Morning oil on canvas 30x48

 I fought for this. What could be so hard, a bunch of grass? Even with lots of reference photos, memory was the truest guide. That river and its lush vegetation are so pastoral and serene, color was the only vehicle that could convey it. Which colors and their intensity would work? It took lots of trial and error. Things were repositioned several times, accomplished by scraping, pouring and then going into the tacky surface with loaded brushes. The endgame began when I added the black shadows. The depth they suggested created the vitality I was after.

 The Portland Open Studio Tour is just  a week away! Take a look at the website and select some artists you`d like to visit. An app is now available to guide you! This year I will be demonstrating with oil paints around noon each day.
5373 Lakeview Blvd., Lake Oswego OR 97035

 A couple of weeks later, my solo show at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art in Oregon City opens. Roxanne Colyer Clingman is a visionary gallerist committed to showing honest emotive work. I`m happy for the opportunity to show in her gallery and so pleased it will be in our state`s first city. I will be demonstrating in mixed watermedia Sat. Nov.14, 11 am at the gallery.

 Last weekend I took a class from Sarah Moon celled 'Beyond Etsy; Selling your Work Online'. I`ve been doing just that since the Great Recession began but I knew there was much more to learn. Social media have baffled me yet I keep hearing they are effective in reaching new audiences. Her explanation of Instagram`s potential was the real revelation. It can be used to document an artist`s process and inspiration. This can create a kind of intimacy with the artist that many enjoy. Selling paintings is quite possible from these relationships. I know when I discover a  painter new to me, I`m very curious about their motivations and technique.

                                   Gerald in the Orchard watermedia on paper 12x9 [1996]

 I want to know more. After so many killings of unarmed young black men by the police, my ignorance was unacceptable. What was going on? What did young black men think was going on? As a start, I listened to Ta'Nehisi Coate read his sobering memoir 'Between the World and Me'. It is in the form of a letter to his young son. Among the many sickening insights in the book, I now understand that law enforcement is viewed as menacing, not at all protective of African Americans. It`s always been this way. Slaves were forced into bondage for their labor, for what their bodies could do. Since the body was utilitarian, its life was not important. Beasts of burden, not quite human. This legacy remains. The dead body of Michael Brown lays on the pavement for four hours. Mr. Coates says that this status quo will endure until those that call themselves white, wake up. See that the American Dream never included black people, in fact originated by their exploitation.
 On Monday Ta' Nehisi Coates was awarded a McArthur 'genius' grant.

 Now listen to the incomparable Casandra Wilson sing a meandering lovely rendition of 'Time after Time'. There is an exquisite harmonica solo.              

 Tomorrow, Oct. 1, an essay I wrote will be published in the online magazine Artists on Art. It is entitled 'Content and the Tools of Modernism'. A ramble on the incredible opportunity representational artists have in applying the advances of a century of radical experimentation and insights. This segues into a description of some techniques I use as well as a bit of biography. I accepted their invitation to write it in expectation of getting out of my comfort zone. Sure worked! It`s an interesting magazine as there are no filters, just artists using their own uneasy words.

work for sale in my studio


Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Randall,
I was wondering, after reading your words about Instagram, what it has that an artist's blog doesn't, with respect to explaining process, thoughts, etc..
Your explanation of "Metolius Morning" did a pretty decent job of showing us your insights, working process and motivation for creating it, in my humble opinion.
I know my age is showing in this comment. I have no Facebook account, nor any with other social media outlets, which most definitely puts me in the dinosaur category.
Enjoy your Open Studio.

Mitch said...

I love the glowing light of "Metolius Morning", and the dark shadows do help bring it out, give it depth, but it is also the overall intricacy of the marks, the muted background which is also reflected in the water, highlighting the greens of the plants. A masterpiece, and in a large size I have not seen you working in! Beautiful.
Your posts dance around like hummingbirds, and it is impossible to respond to all the thoughts you provoke, but as to your revulsion of our treatment of black people in this society, I might recommend a recent episode of "Vice" which covered the imprisonment of a huge proportion of black men, leading to a destruction of the black family and community. While it is true that there was a feeling that crime was growing and out of control in the seventies, the overreaction of the American population and our elected officials in particular led to there being seven times as many in prison now as were then. I am repeatedly saddened by our society's willingness to overreact to fear by utterly destroying "the other." Have we no human decency? Why can't we feel compassion for someone with different skin or a different religion?

Libby Fife said...


Bunch of grass indeed! Not so easy but you nailed it. The piece has a great feeling of "creekness" to it, at least from my perspective.

I'll have to give Instagram another look. I read this morning that I could use my Kindle to upload photos so this was the missing link. It might be fun. And I am the same way as you. I like to see what people are doing, how they are doing it, and why they did it in the first place.

I tried to view the article this morning (speaking of curiosity) and it didn't seem available yet. I'll give it another shot in a bit.

Great post as always. Thanks!

Libby Fife said...

Just figured out the magazine situation! Never mind!