Sunday, December 27, 2015

Year End Still Life

                                                 Rose Hip watermedia on Terraskin 13.5x9.5

                                                        Cliff Vines watermedia on paper 12x9

 These drawings are probably the last two pieces I will do this year. I`m back in my basement studio but organizing it in light of the flooding is taking more time than I would like. Usually December passes much too quickly, it`s my favorite time of all, but I`m ready for a whole new year.
Thanks to all of you who expressed condolence for my loss, it`s odd how helpful those little gestures are.
At a family gathering on Christmas, we played a cassette tape I found packing up my mother`s belongings. It was from the mid 90`s and was mostly my Dad practicing a presentation he and my Mom would be giving to their prayer group. It was anecdotal about his spiritual evolution and his voice was strong and sincere. I had forgotten what a born storyteller he was, it was riveting. The tape also included my very young niece Mackenzie singing Christmas songs with Mom joining in the background. She hasn`t been gone three weeks but to hear her 20 years younger in such a happy moment was grace itself. As we left my sister in law`s home on a hill in Camas, the steam from the paper mill billowed straight up into the night sky and glowed by the light of the full moon.

Ellsworth Kelly died today. The pioneering abstractionist was 92. The obituary in the New York Times is well worth reading. Though I never had any interest in minimal art, I sure liked his drawings;

                                                Drawings by Ellsworth Kelly

                                                Mendocino Meadow acrylic on canvas 15x32

This is a painting I gave my parents in 1975. After all these years it`s mine again. The subject is the enormous meadow that fronts the sea in Mendocino CA. I spent a lot of time there thinking as a young man.

                                                                 John Steinbeck

“This I believe: That the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.” ~ John Steinbeck

Friday, December 18, 2015

Over the Sea 30 and other new watercolors

                                                  Over the Sea 30 watercolor on paper 12x9

                                            Trinity Mountain Study watermedia on paper 9x12

                                        Tryon Creek Summer Study watermedia on paper 8x6

 As I waited for the second flood to recede, I set up a little studio in our workout room upstairs;

 I really needed to paint, but I was so agitated I had no idea what. My momentum had been knocked off kilter weeks ago so I painted new pieces in themes I was familiar with. They were something. My studio is much more than a workplace, it`s a sanctuary where I regroup, do research, watch videos, nap, listen to music, write and imagine. My inner life comes alive down there. So being without it has been very alienating. It stayed dry through this last big storm so tomorrow I`m going to recolonize my oil painting area and begin work again.

This graphic comic by the Oatmeal about the tortured relationship between exercise and eating rang so true for me. I was a dedicated runner for decades and its positive contribution to my sanity cannot be exaggerated. Give this a read, it`s funny!

Have safe loving holidays. Give your mothers some extra affection.

Two more days to see my show at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art in Oregon City!

work for sale

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Flood Recedes...

                                                   The Flood Recedes oil on panel 20x20 2013

 It was an unhappy concurrence. A couple of hours before my mother died, my studio flooded. In the five and a half years I`ve lived here, there has never been a hint of moisture in my basement. So I foolishly trusted my hole in the ground would be as dry as toast forever. Work on canvas was stored upon pallets and newer work on paper was in my flat file or on a table, so it wasn`t a full catastrophe. But I had boxes of books and letters and portfolios of drawings and watercolors from my past on the floor. They were ruined. I was also very sick so these two different, simultaneous losses seemed overwhelming.
 The next day, having had the water removed at great expense, I began to see the opportunity in this disaster. Someday before my exit, I intended to sort through the reams of figure drawings and experiments on paper, review the decades of correspondence and winnow the books and toss out this detritus from my life. So John or my heirs would not have to. Suddenly, that day was now. We brought in a dumpster. Having lost my mother on this same day gave me a grim acceptance, made me focus on the future.
 Grief has many facets yet I was surprised to find the old ones resurfacing. I was aching for my brother and father too. When someone close dies, the mourning feels vast. Like a sorrow for the whole world, for all life.

 I`ve been comforted, advised, prodded, fed, encouraged, consoled and helped by many lovely friends in the past week, I thank you from my heart.

               my young parents

 This Wednesday is the evening of my gallery talk at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art in Oregon City at 7 pm. I`ll tell you all about sump pumps and drainage engineering. Ask me questions about painting, I hope to do that again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Goodbye Mom

  Gwendolyn Tipton 9/6/27 to 12/7/2015.
No one can love you like your mother.
The parents of a gay child have a delicate task. Since the child most often has no idea of what sexuality is, there is no confirmation early on. If a loving parent suspects this might be true, they have to manage their fear yet support the emerging identity open heartedly. This isn`t simple especially if religion is a part of the family. My parents were devout Christians yet when I came out to them, they believed without question what I told them, that I didn`t choose it, it was part of who I was. I never feared rejection for a moment.
Mom took a course in human sexuality at the community college to understand it and it opened her eyes and heart. Most importantly my parents liked me and this gave me the confidence to be myself.
She championed all four of her sons all of her life. We drew strength from her and knew we were lucky to have her.

 Here she is seven years ago with her great grand daughter Hailey. She LOVED babies!

Thank you Mom, you were wonderful.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Vigil - watercolors - Santa Barbara

                                              Coastal Stream Study watercolor on yupo 12x9

                                                 Lights on the Shore watercolor and ink 8x8

 The holiday weekend with relatives in an out of my brother`s home felt like a party even though my mother was upstairs in hospice. Having so many loved ones about brought out the best in Mom and she was funny and sweet. Midway into the week we thought her time had come but it has not. Meanwhile I got very sick with a cold and had to return home to my bed. This is the third day and I finally felt well enough to paint some, the two pieces above. Tomorrow I`ll return to her bedside. This is such an important time, I hope I`m a comfort.

 An exhibition including four of my paintings opened last night in Santa Barbara at the Marcia Burtt Studio Gallery. I became friends with Marcia after a lengthy email correspondence. She represents another Northwest artist I`ve admired for years, Michael Ferguson;

Please check out the show if you`re in the area!
517 Laguna St., Santa Barbara, CA
805 962-5588 • Th-Su, 1-5 email

And my show continues at In Bocca al Lupo in beautiful Oregon City;

 Come ask me questions Wed. Dec. 16, 7 pm!

I will be teaching a one day watermedia workshop at the Coos Art Museum in conjunction with my show there Sunday July 10 2016