Thursday, September 19, 2019
I love paper
At last, nearly all of my 'serious' oil paintings are complete, many are already in galleries, and I`m working on paper again. I`ve yearned for this moment but haven`t totally trusted it. My perverse human nature could have only been wanting what it couldn`t have. But it feels good! Paper is liberating, anything can happen on a piece of paper. All is allowed.
My tough early years as an artist have ruined me for anything more precious than good paint. How someone could commit an image to Belgian linen is beyond me. I need the [relatively] cheap substrate of paper. Then I can relax and maybe forget about myself.
All summer I used paper in my plein air efforts though they weren`t too good. I had new equipment, stimulating conversationalists along side me, and a gentle smoke-free gorgeous summer to work with. I did much better stuff two years ago when I hobbled to each site using a cane. There is something very interesting about adversity enhancing creativity. I don`t mean the stereotype of the doomed, drunk artist, I`m talking about how sweating in the heat, shooing away mosquitoes can make for nice painting. Every time I sit on my lawn chair, open up my 'travel' palette and look around, I think this is the stupidest thing I could be doing. It is way too daunting. The solution is to not think at all. Get everything in place and just begin. No gap. With luck, the discomfort can make me transcend my ego with its fear of failure, and humbly do my best. Without exception I always feel I failed. Then later I look again and think that wasn`t so bad! A few adjustments later and I might have a piece imbued with how that morning felt. I also remember this dynamic always in place when I worked with the figure every week in New Mexico. Our efforts will always seem small when we can look up and see an actual forest or human being before us. The comparison isn`t fair.
Both of these bigger paintings burst out of me but I thought long and hard about how I would paint them first. Beginning a new piece is my least favorite moment in the whole process. I`m no visionary, my engagement doesn`t kick in until I have enough to react to. Bonnard inspired Oswego Creek but Klimt was my companion as I worked.
In Spring, the Northwest is a crazy, complicated pointillist landscape. I`m usually at a loss at how to respond. Well, it`s six months until that is my reality again. My memory scaled this back to something manageable.
Here are a couple more watermedia pieces, done either on location or while waiting for oil paint to dry.
And this just because it`s so bad. A friend was visiting Bandon by the Sea and her instagram photos provoked my own memories of the massive rocks all over the beach. I will paint one of the caves!
Despite many hours I achieved an unspeakable orifice, more tissue than stone.
Cheryl Strayed spoke recently at the local high school. Part of a 'Living Well' series sponsored by the Adult Community Center. Her memoir 'Wild' was deeply moving and I wanted to hear her. The event sold out so we arrived early to get a good seat. It was quickly evident we were in a sea of women. I could count the men on two hands. What the hell? Afterwards John and I were leaning against a wall talking about her remarks when one of the organizers approached us and thanked us for supporting the women in our lives. ?? I think she thought we were waiting for our wives to get their books signed. We told her what 'Wild' meant to us. We had both listened to the audio book and both of us found ourselves weeping on our walks. That is power. No doubt it was my male privilege that I didn`t realize the feminist icon Cheryl had become. After all, not many 22 year old women walk a thousand miles alone carrying a heavy load. Grief had been the engine in her trek along the Pacific Crest Trail after the death of her mother. Profound loss can cause a fearlessness. The worst has happened and one becomes untouchable.
I`m now listening to her book of advice columns called 'Tiny, Beautiful Things' and it too has stirred my emotions. Without flinching she will dismantle the deepest insecurity or impossible situation. Her responses to these difficult matters is ruthlessly honest but exceedingly kind. She has helped me imagine a better self and showed me how to do it.
This is my beloved Carter flying high on narcotics. This little rescue has had one problem after another. He just had all of his teeth removed except for the canines. He has the auto-immune disease Gingivostomatitis. He is allergic to the plaque that forms on his teeth. If you have a cat with terrible breath and it isn`t from Fancy Feast, your cat may be afflicted, it`s not uncommon. Untreated, the mouth becomes so sore eating is extremely painful. Somehow they can still thrive without their teeth and even eat dry cat food again! He`s healing nicely and in time we will be brushing those four remaining teeth.
I wouldn`t want to live a life without cats.
The great Bill McKibben has written a report from the future and it`s well worth reading. It is fascinating and depressing but hopeful too about how the world will be 30 years from now. IF we get serious about climate change. Is there anyone alive who truthfully still doubts global warming? The catastrophe will require worldwide cooperation and we shouldn`t be surprised that our possible demise is what finally brings us together.
This is my third try in three days to publish this post. Earlier I tried to include something from the Newport OR Police Department that corrupted those attempts. It was an excerpt from Winnie the Pooh about a visit to Eeyore when they notice his absence. He is sad and his friends just sit with him in silence. September is suicide prevention month. Simple quiet kindness can help those drowning in despair. Never underestimate the healing potential of just bearing witness. Just being there. It is awkward but it is something real.
On Sat. Sept. 21 I will be demonstrating watermedia on yupo at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach OR at 2 pm. This is an event that is part of the first Earth and Ocean Art Festival. It is a benefit for our Mom. Come to the coast and celebrate mother nature!
At the request and encouragement of Heather from Chicago, I will also try to live stream the demonstration on my Facebook page Randall David Tipton Studio. She says it`s simple......
click HERE for work for sale in my studio
Prints are available at Fine Art America