Sunday, December 23, 2018

Winter Night

                                                Winter Night watercolor on paper 48x36

 This is exactly thirty years old. It came from a night drive through the Rockies in Colorado lit by moonlight. I was driving home to New Mexico through the Salida Valley passing one enormous mountain after the other. The whole valley was illuminated by the reflected light from these glowing monsters. Memorable! I had to paint something!
 So we in the northern hemisphere just experienced the longest night of the year under a huge full moon. The solstice is a holiday that excites me. Civilization took hold because agriculture was predictable and another growing season always returned. We are as dependent on this cycle as we ever were. The north leans back toward the sun and the world will eat. No life is possible without the sun. That`s a big deal.

 Here is a young Navajo girl singing a gorgeous tribute to the solstice. She understands.

                                                                by Emil Robinson

                                                              by Emil Robinson

 These two paintings by the inventive, always interesting Emil Robinson, epitomize what is special about Christmas. It`s all about the light. For me these are stunning in their emotional purity. This is what I love about Christmas. When it settles down, when the room hums with color and safety and contentment. Were it so for everyone.

 Lisa Pressman is an artist I admire. So when she announced a year end sale by the Multimedia Artboard Co., I was curious, I had never heard of it. One stiff non-buckling board suitable for oils, inks, watercolors and presumably encaustics as that is Lisa`s medium of choice. It sounded too good to be true but it was on sale. So I bought some and had a rough start because of the absorbency but it soon became interesting. The price is right, it comes in some big sizes and I think a painting could be presented like any other oil and not a work on paper. The first piece below is it. Sort of like painting on gessoed rag board.

                                                     Forest Wall oil on panel 12x12

                                                 Theater of Trees 2 oil on panel 12x12

                                       Untitled Christmas Landscape oil on panel 12x12

                                                     Nordic Season oil on panel 12x12

 These are my latest works. I feel ambivalent about each of them so they may not survive. I need to set them aside for now and go on to new projects. I could use an unequivocal success and I know it will only come if I`m working. I couldn`t be more inspired, the landscape is full of mystery and I feel great so forward!

  Those of you who are artists, who are trying to build or grow a career, you might benefit from the counsel of Alan Bamberger. He suddenly appeared on a Facebook group I belong to in a discussion about bartering and discounts. He was no-nonsense and practical. I did a little search of his site and found this treasure trove of articles addressing the many conundrums of the art world. They are well worth browsing especially if you have a particular issue on your mind.

                                                                        Li Huayi

                                                                      Li Huayi

                                                                       Li Huayi

 The ink painting traditions of eastern Asia have called to me since I was a kid. When I saw them in encyclopedias, the simplicity of the technique and the other worldly landscapes got my imagination racing. I think of myself as a watercolorist largely because of this influence. I remember copying them and even tinting the surface to make it look more like rice paper or silk. The monochromatic palette was a comfort and something I could emulate. I still love it though now I can recognize the difference between the Japanese esthetic and the Chinese. Li Huayi, born in Shangai, paints in the tradition of the Chinese masters but he wants them to be distinctly of our present time. I think they are quite different in that viewer is hovering in the landscape rather than seeing it from a place of security. Here is a fascinating interview with him.

 As political as I am, I don`t understand foreign policy at all. Yet I`m certain we would not be so involved in the mid-east if it were not for oil. In all the rage and despair over the president ending our engagement in Syria, I sure don`t know what we accomplish by staying. Here is a defense of his decision from the left. Rolling Stone no less!

                                                                     Emile Carlsen

 This time of year, the losses we all carry hurt harder.  The voice of Bing Crosby can buckle your knees. I`ve learned a Jewish expression that can give a little elevation; "may their name always be a blessing" What they gave us rather than what we lost.

work for sale in the studio

Seattle workshop Feb 2 and 3

prints from Fine Art America


Melody Cleary said...

"Forest Wall" is a real WOW for it!! Your posts are full of great content, Randall....thanks for the links....the Native American singer was wonderful! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Libby Fife said...

I know you expressed ambivalence about your pieces but still. I can't imagine what your inner eye must see. Whatever it is it's amazing in the way it gets translated. There are always these other-worldy worlds that you make.

I like Lisa Pressman's work. I hadn't seen it yet. And I am interested in those boards. Anything for collage that would have the durability of wood and yet be paper. I need something that won't warp but that is paper or paper like.

As always, thank you for the post. I hope all is well.

Gretchen Dewire said...

Thank you for the link about Li the chinese artist. I love his work. Gretchen

RH Carpenter said...

Happy Holidays to you, Randall :). And I know (sort of) Emil Robinson, who is a Cincinnati regular - I was even in a life drawing (open studio) course with him many moons ago, before he went to London and began painting bathroom fixtures (for want of anything else to paint in his tiny apartment :). He’s a nice guy and I was surprised to see where he’s gone with this art - definitely far from the figures he was doing. Love the first painting you did so long ago - no wonder you know what you’re doing!! But I wouldn’t have figured out what it was or what influenced it, I just loved it for the power and light in it. I’ve tried out the all media art board (had one crack after painting it but it wasn’t a huge loss as I was just experimenting) and it does create some interesting textures using watercolor. I’ll enjoy seeing what you come up with on it.