Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Forests - teaching questions

                                                           watermedia on Yupo 14x11

 No titles on these new works yet, it`s been mortal combat just to get something decent.

                                                          oil on multimedia board 14x11

                                                       watermedia on Terraskin 16x11

                                                             oil on multimedia board 7x5

                                                  watermedia on Terraskin 14x28

 With each recent painting, I`ve been mentally verbalizing what I`m doing. In early February I`m teaching a workshop in Seattle and want to be prepared. Talking while painting is something I discovered I can do and it`s the only way it feels natural to teach. The class is just two days so I`m trying to distill what I do into concise helpful units. For example I`m taking and will talk about a big variety of brushes. When I`m in the fray, I choose which one to use much like a surgeon would. Carefully. Each type does something specific and I believe the right choice is crucial. That being said, I also believe they should be inexpensive. Precious tools and materials really inhibit me.
A friend suggested I talk about color, she thinks it`s the most distinctive aspect of my work. It might be the most subconscious of my decisions too so I am happy she pointed it out as worthy of a discussion. Do any of you who look at my blog and work have any thoughts as to what you might  like to hear from me in such a setting? I`m not fishing for compliments, I`m just curious what others think is important in painting. I`ve never taken a workshop like this and I want to provide as much useful information as possible.
I will talk about having a real connection to your subject and the importance of knowing your reasons for painting and of what your ideals might be. These psychological questions are often uncomfortable especially for new painters yet they are worth asking though as the answers can set a course of forward motion.
Thinking about the process so much makes me realize how individual and instinctive it all is. Just the way we hold a brush will determine the sensitivity and energy of the mark it makes. And how we hold it is also probably genetic. It`s not a coincidence my handwriting looks like my Dads`.
There is plenty to love in painting, just creating something is often thrilling. If we go deeper, get more personal, we will encounter true tests of our character. If our best self prevails in those situations, painting becomes our companion and the real fun can begin. If I can make that experience more accessible, I will be happy.

                                          a poem from Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille
                                         [thanks to Dana and Laura]

                                                       Chasing Rivals by Matthew Dibble

                                                       Mecca Chip by Matthew Dibble

                                                        Earth Vanishes by Matthew Dibble

 I`ve mentioned Matthew before, I think he is truly an exceptional painter. He walks right up and steps into the shoes of Willem de Kooning, one of the greatest artists in history. Without explanation or apology Matthew extends the territory of abstract expressionism. His personal story is an inspiration. The investment group, Brighthouse Financial, made a little commercial/promotional video featuring Matthew, and it`s sweet. His show 'Legendary Bog' is up at the First Street Gallery in New York until January 26 2019.

 In New Mexico, I almost always knew what phase the moon was in. I worked at night and in the Southwest it is impossible to ignore the sky. Now in the Pacific Northwest, hardly ever. Too many clouds and trees! With this chart I can check with a glance.

 Here is a man who paints with the tide.

work for sale in my studio

Workshop in Seattle Feb. 2&3

Prints from Fine Art America


Libby Fife said...


I think I would just love to sit with you all day and talk about painting. Honestly.

Other than your mandate to me to remain curious and that my life would always be interesting, I think the other important thing I have gotten from you is to look inward. The answer to what to make and how to make it and how to feel about it isn't a technical question, or one of materials or anything like that. (Those things are important though because you can't get what you see unless you learn to use your tools. And it's necessary I think to spend a certain amount of your career mimicking or echoing other people's work. It's just how it is. It's the unique and individual divergence though from that practice that will eventually be important.) You have an inward eye that is Randall-Specific and that is what shows in your work. You aren't painting the forest as much as you are the forest for just a little while, if that makes sense.

You should photocopy that poem and hand it out. Maybe suggest a tattoo even so painters could just see it over and over again. I have never read a greater truth about making art or anything else for that matter. So, thank you.

I am excited for you that you are teaching this class. Pass along what you know while you can. You just won't know how you have helped people but you will have:)

Mitch said...

Of all the aspects of painting you could talk about to students, all the various techniques and tools, etc., I think the most valuable thing you could share is how you get your inspiration for a work, because without that driving force and need to make art, all the skills in the world would have little purpose. But I wouldn't worry; every time I have watched you work, I have marvelled at how magical your process seems, and you will have them all dazzled no matter what you say.

Barbara DeMott said...

I always screw up painting by too much surface and detail. I would like to know more about the processes ofabstracting, letting go and leaving well enough alone. It is the directness and contrast in your images that carry your poetry. I need to get closer to a more direct expression of what is in my heart.

Jo Reimer said...

I agree with the previous comments, Randall. Of course you can talk about brushes and about your approach to color choices, but the product of your brush is unique, and perhaps that's what all of us who sit as students to a master want to learn. Very few people know how to convey the how-tos of painting emotion, yet that's exactly what you do so well. Talk to yourself about your emotions as you paint and see what comes from that. Maybe you can figure out a way to show students how to make a tangle of dormant bushes glow with a few vibrant strokes of a brush that's driven by your artists mind. You have only 2 short days.

Maggie Emm said...

I love the way things are hidden until they are revealed - like the name 'JASON' in the months of the year. I had never noticed that before until I saw this calendar years ago. I think that is part of what art does, with the artist as the revealer.
I would love to hear you talk about colour. It's so linked to emotion, and I agree that your use of colour is very distinctive. - as I guess you could say about many artists (all artists?). I am not a painter but when I look at paintings the arrangement of colours is what speaks to me loudest I think.

Donna Thibodeau said...

I'd like to tell you what to teach me but I'd like you to tell me what I need to know. Technically I would like to know how you make those images. I could never replicate what you do but could possibly look at the world differently and choose paint, brushes and paper better to get closer.

Melody Cleary said...

I shared that poem with some art friends and they loved it....and thank you, also, for the introduction to Matthew Dibble....great story! Love everyone's comments will shine!

Lorrie Mcclanahan said...

For the past few months I’ve analyzed quite a few of your paintings, mainly on Pinterest. Mixed in with everything else that scrolls by on that site, yours pop out, unique and satisfying. Yes, it’s the color. But it’s also the use of gradients. And above all, it’s strong composition. You might place an accent, a bit of repeating color apart from the main subject, for example, to balance the composition. I don’t know if you’ve verbalized when or why you do that in a teaching scenario. Also, in the misty paintings (which I find the most emotional) the brights are surrounded by grayed, gradient fields. At the risk of reducing a mysterious process to the technical, I offer that. We all know there’s more to it in your hands, but I see it repeated so much I know it’s part of your process: the contrast between grayed and saturated. If you’re talking about emotion in painting, you might go into that. “How to create a living gray” is so crucial. Most amateurs go all out with bright colors with no relief (been guilty). Totally saturated paintings scream. Your quiet ones beckon with a few judicial brights.

I like the really colorful ones, too. But even they have toned down areas. How do you achieve that balance? Talking as you’re painting sounds like a good idea to me.