Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Exhibition at the White Bird


 The show I`m having at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach Oregon coincides with the 50 year anniversary of the gallery. I`ve been a part of it for 35. The poster above is available from the gallery, $35.

 The founder of the gallery, Evelyn Georges, was in New Mexico on vacation and staying in the bed and breakfast of a friend. My work hung in the guest rooms. Meanwhile I`m in Oregon giving it a trial run while living with my brother Gary. After a year, I moved back to Santa Fe for a while longer before coming to the Northwest permanently in 1993. Evelyn came by my studio in 1986 in a section of Portland now called the Pearl District. She looked at lots of my work with most of it done after the month long workshop I had participated in with Richard Diebenkorn. I was inspired and really productive and she asked me to show at her gallery. Evelyn wasn`t easy but she was a true believer in the relevance of art. Our relationship was tested but it held fast, I knew she cared about and believed in me. 

 The White Bird has always had an eclectic group of artists and for many of them, showing there was their first experience being represented by a gallery.  A long time employee, Allyn Cantor, bought the gallery from Evelyn before her death in 2014. As the new owner, she continues in the same spirit. I`ve never worked with anyone who was so simultaneously sharp, empathetic, and principled. She has been so kind to me even when I whine. The public, promotional part of a painting career has always been uncomfortable. I`m friendly and like the attention but I do not want to clamor for it. I write my blog, post my paintings on Instagram and Facebook, appreciate the notice and let Allyn do the other promoting.

Here are the paintings in the show. They all are 26x20 inches [55x51 cm] in either pure watercolor or mixed water soluble mediums such as acrylic, ink and crayon on the plastic paper Yupo;

                                                                 Downstream Tahquitz

                                                              Above the Cold Ocean


                                                                     Coastal Nocturne

                                                                         Cliff Corner 

                                                                      Dune Sea Sky


                                                                        Forest Edge

                                                                         North Coast

                                                                        Glacial Water

                                                                           North Slope

                                                                      River Run Park

                                                                       Over the Sea

                                                                           Reliquary 3

                                                                   North Coast Cliffs

                                                                Stafford Valley October 1

                                                              Stafford Valley October 2

                                                       The Cloud Lifts from the Mountain

                                                               Surrounding the Creek

                                                                      Summer Cliffs

                                                     Oswego Creek Spring 23x35 inches

 I was in Cannon Beach this morning to see the show. Most of the paintings are unframed and hung beautifully. It`s an unconventional presentation with a distinct advantage. The paintings can be rolled up and shipped in a mailing tube at a cost much less than shipping a framed painting with glass. They are also suitable for professional mounting and hanging without glass at all. They have been varnished with a UV protection matte varnish.

Here are some photos from Cannon Beach earlier today;

The pandemic made it worse but my inertia on updating my website has ended. After many recommendations, I sat down with Squarespace and tried to do it myself. Unsurprisingly it was disastrous. But I had paid already and begun the transfer of my domaine name. I put out a call of distress and sure enough the network came through for me. A watchful mom saw the S.O.S. on Nextdoor and promptly suggested her bright son design it. I go talk to him and he assures me he`s the guy I want. I believe him.

Not as much but I am painting too. There are several paintings in process in my studio and I think this one is finished;

oil on Multimedia Art Board 12x12 inches

 I also will be part of the Portland Open Studios Oct. 9 and 10 and Oct. 16 and 17, 10am-5pm. I have open windows, good ventilation and masks will be required. I`m confident it will be a safe environment.
I live at 5373 Lakeview Blvd, Lake Oswego OR 97035
Please come by

Click HERE for work in my studio

Friday, September 3, 2021

Late Summer

                                          oil on paper oil panel 12x12 inches, 30.5x30.5 cm

 After over a year of troubled solitude, I got busy. I delivered 21 large watercolors on yupo to the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach OR. It opens in mid-Sept. and I will post all of the pieces here in my next blog post. This is my first exhibit of watermedia on the plastic paper from Japan called Yupo. I began using it in 2005 and it gradually became my favorite surface to paint on. It is such a brilliant white, light reflects through almost any paint layer. They have a kind of radiance that is unique. I`ve devoted much of my life to learning how to work with the slippery stuff. Paint is not absorbed like with true paper, it has to evaporate. This is where the big challenge happens. Even with a perfectly level painting table, the paint will move. Walk away to the bathroom and return to a different painting. It is so slick, I`ve developed lots of strategies to keep the paint stable. These include a constant use of a hairdryer, gum Arabic or acrylic medium added to the paint to make it more sticky, elaborate tilting of the painting board beneath the Yupo to direct a wash, applying watercolor in a dry stick form, and subtle blotting techniques to achieve the correct density. It`s a lesson in gravity every time.

So anyway, the show is a big bunch of them mostly unframed. They will be hung on the wall using clips. I had a few framed to show how they look properly presented and had one of them mounted on board and framed without glass. This was surprisingly affordable and looks great. I finished all of them with a matte varnish with UV protection. I`m hopeful a collector will understand the savings involved with rolling up a painting to take home in a tube, is substantial. Shipping work with glass can be done safely but the buyer pays for that extra caution. I`m grateful the gallery agreed to this unconventional manner of presenting the work. Framing everything would have a prohibitive cost. Here is one of them;

                                              Summer Cliffs watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches

This one will be there too. It was used to promote a local festival;

                                            Coastal Nocturne watermedia on Yupo 26x20 inches

 I have used Yupo for so long in such focussed concentration, I think the company should acknowledge me somehow. Give it to me free maybe, although it isn`t too expensive. I have written them and sent photos of the work to no avail. A different corporate culture I suppose.

                                         Summer Pond watermedia on yupo collage 12x12 inches

 Those watercolors that don`t turn out well often have something nice in them somewhere. I can cut them up and reassemble them to my liking. In the one above, I was aiming for a high school biology experiment vibe.
Here are a couple more new paintings;

                                                         oil on canvas 20 inches diameter

Believe me, it was completely disorienting to paint a circle. Without a fixed point of reference, it was almost impossible to proceed. What is top or bottom? I imagine something true to life might have been easier. The palette here was inspired by the audacious colorist Morgan Russell.

                                             Overflow oil on canvas 30x24 inches, 76x61 cm

 I want these new abstract paintings to be honest in their reference to nature but not have a realistic quality. The way light animates the landscape is worth emulating but I don`t need the logic coming from representation.

                                                                       Linda and Todd

The newlyweds came to Oregon for their belated honeymoon! He is my closest buddy since 7th grade and she has a long time relationship with the Oregon coast. Thirty years ago on a business trip she stumbled upon the Inn at Otter Crest and has been coming out frequently from Nebraska ever since. We joined them there and had the best time. This resort was well built in the 1970`s and even with the dated architecture, it still felt intelligent and extremely comfortable. Not to mention gorgeous and surprisingly inexpensive. Because she knew the area so well, we ate at the most delicious places in Newport and Depoe Bay.

I saw this on a Portland subreddit. This is why I love this city. This is why the civil and friendly Portland will be evident again. There is a wild generosity here. I felt it and benefited from it immediately. I believe it comes from the land itself. Its outrageous fertility. This letter will brighten the mood of all;

Dear Portland, A letter from that teacher who asked you for rocks...

A little while ago I shared with you all that I was a teacher who was putting together a nine-month rock exhibit at my school. I teach at a program for kids who are working on behavior stuff and, to be honest, many of them aren't quite ready for field trips to quiet museums. I take that as a challenge-if the student can't go on the field trip, then the field trip must come to the student.

So, for much of the past year I have been taking my small but nice classroom rock collection and turning it into a nine month, changing exhibit so every month the kids at my school will see the magic that a simple rock can be. (LOL...simple as in-mined from the bowels of the earth, cleaned, cut, polished and shipped halfway around the world).

Portland and the world in general stepped up. My gofundme brought in almost $700 which was incredible but it was the Portlanders who dropped things off at my house that makes my jaw drop. A whole bucket of PUMICE and a second bucket of PETRIFIED WOOD. (floating rocks and petrified wood...enough for every student in the WHOLE SCHOOL to have a piece!). One person was moving into a smaller place and left half of her cherished rock collection. A teacher from Florida sent me a baggie of million year old shark's teeth. Enough for every kid in my grade level, but then someone else bought a bigger bag of shark's teeth so every kid in school could have one. There is a company that makes mini museums that sent me a bug in amber, and a trilobite AND a piece of a space capsule that has been on the moon. A local geological club is going to let me come pick stuff out of their storage. A man sent us a diamond. A lady sent us little bags of polished rocks, one for each student while another one sent me a five pound bag of them.

You all, there have been so many acts of kindness that if I made a full list you would cry. Like I am right now because this list is so incredible and I'm so touched that in these hard times, so many people have stepped up for my kids, and my whole school of kids. (I'm talking to you person who sent me toothbrushes for every kid at school). My administration is so excited we are now planning a science night where our whole community will get to see everything at once!

So, with all that kindness going on, I had to share with you the good news. VOYA has named me one of their Unsung Heroes (the award) but it comes with something AMAZING (the reward)!!! The award comes with $2000 towards the rock and mineral project!! I'm just so overwhelmed that VOYA chose my school and this project and my students (and me :0) to invest in.

For all those who donated rocks or threw some money my way, to VOYA for valuing my kids-thank you so much for my kids, but also for letting me go into a covid school year feeling inspired and valued. Thank you, thank you, thank. you!!!


 That guy there is my friend Mitch. Five years ago when my knee implants were both infected, he brought us food and kept me company. I couldn`t even get down my front steps. We were new friends but he didn`t wait for reciprocal gestures. He saw my need and met it. As I started to slowly heal we began painting together on location. With other friends joining in, every Friday morning was devoted to plein air painting. So when I was asked if I wanted to show my work in a Lutheran Church, I didn`t say hell no! I asked if I could show with a friend? Mitch is a diligent painter but has never shown his work to the public. I had large older paintings just sitting in my studio and I thought they might pair nicely with his smaller landscapes. It was scheduled for April 2020........When the church reopened this summer, they asked 'are you possibly still interested?' We said yes and the show went up yesterday. If the covid situation allows, there will be some sort of reception in late Sept. or Oct. I`ll announce it here if it will happen. Meanwhile you can go by during the day and check it out;

                                                             West Linn Lutheran Church
                                                   20390 Willamette Dr. West Linn OR 97068
                                                                        503 656 0110
       We20390 Willamette Drive, West Linn, OR 97068 


                                                                     Nancy  Diamond

 My latest love is for Nancy Diamond. I haven`t been able to find out very much about her as her website is under construction. However, I found her on Instagram and she is wonderful. Like me, she loves to paint skies. Unlike me, she seems to do it with minimal angst. Often her paintings are complex but executed with a carefree quality that is so lovely. Maybe she is as long suffering as most painters but the work looks thoughtfully like magic. 


 I belong in Iceland

Portland Open Studios - Oct. 9&10 and  16&17 - plan to visit!

click HERE doe work for sale in my studio

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Summer 21

                                                    Rainforest watercolor collage 26x20 inches

 I had a failed painting and after many heroic attempts to rescue it, I gave up. Since it once had promise I wondered if I could just patch over the problems with collage? I have a heap of fragments from previous debacles to choose from for my shapes. Instantly there was this new way forward with an interesting conclusion as well.

 I`ve been thinking I should write something. This is not the summer I imagined coming up when I got my second vaccine shot March 31. I have to admit I was expecting more joy, god knows we need it. Yet there is an undeniable tension. Only a week after the summer solstice, still June, the now infamous heat dome literally scorched the Northwest killing hundreds of people. The further north you were the temperature was even hotter. Records were broken everywhere by multiple degrees. This set up a cautionary mood, what are we in for? The first major wildfire soon began in southern Oregon fouling the air with smoke all through the northern Rockies. Our country’s  vaccination rates began to stagnate just as the ferocious Delta variant began sweeping through the states. Supporters of the former president risked their lives in making the political protest of boycotting their one safe passage through this, the miracle vaccine. On the left, those that shunned the vaccine proved how insincere their belief in the common good really is. With so much death throughout the world from Covid 19, it is privilege indeed to refuse this easily available protection which is absolutely free. Shame on those confused foolish people. Soon after the 4th of July, historic floods raged through Europe and then China. Global warming is here. Those that continue to downplay the reality of it are lying. Everyone can see now things aren`t like they used to be not so very long ago. 

I am at the last part of my life and I want a full engagement with what is left. Life goes on no matter if the sun burns or the rivers rage. Somehow I`m determined to move through these calamities with a positive spirit. My later years will be full of events and conditions that result from overheating the planet. In the destruction, how to have an open heart as it is breaking? I intend to find out and suspect this can happen best if my focus shifts away from my own disappointment. We are each surrounded by the needs of others. Attending to some of them may be a way forward.


So when I could tell my old friend was overwhelmed from the weight of caring for her dying husband, I offered to help. She lives on the central coast of California and the situation was quite serious when I arrived. Sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes to see what is happening. Having a bit of experience with hospice, I helped with that transition then came home. To be trusted by someone dying is a special humbling honor. 

                                                             John and Tiffany in the garden

My nephew and his wife from Southern California were in town this weekend. They didn`t bring their sons because one is still too young to be vaccinated. It has been such a unique pleasure to watch my nieces and nephews grow into themselves. To gradually understand their unfolding along with them. Last night we gathered in the garden of my sister in law Norma, talking and eating through the long summer twilight. It was perfect, the antidote for a year of solitude.

                                                                       by E M Corsa

 My dear unmet friend from the coast of North Carolina, Elizabeth Corsa,  has been featured in the magazine Artisan Joy. We both love and struggle with Yupo. She is as dedicated an artist as I`ve ever known. Check out the interview and the work on her website.

                                                 Laguna watermedia on Yupo 26x20 inches

 Like all these new abstract paintings, little is consciously intended when I begin. Soon though this had a coastal vibe yet it was too sunny for Oregon. Then I remembered all the holidays and summers I spent in Laguna Beach growing up. My best friend`s family always took me along on these vacations. Several families would rent this one big house overlooking the ocean but blocked by a bluff of a view of the beach. We had such fun swimming in the ocean. 
The town was in its last days of a bohemian art scene and I`m sure my imagination was enflamed by seeing so much art at its annual festival.  This was the 60s and galleries were not common where I grew up. I remember how exotic and exciting it was to know it was possible to have a life of painting. Just a little exposure to something new is all it takes for some kids to find out what they were meant to do.

 I was in an art supply store and saw a packet of 12x12 heavily textured watercolor paper claiming it was thoroughly sized. Sizing is like a glue that keeps the paper from being too absorbent. I knew better than to fall for it but I haven`t shopped in person much for a long time. Lesson learned, if it looks like a homemade paper towel, painting on it will be a similarly rustic experience; 


 Not much more than doodles but they let me think. Between more ambitious paintings, I often need an interlude of some sort. I want to be making something but with a small investment.

Randall makes a Poster!

                                                                       John Hoyland

                                                                       John Hoyland

                                                                         John Hoyland

To me they seem seeped in 1960`s psychedelia but they were painted later in his career. John Hoyland, the great British painter, wanted to make abstract art that vibrated with possibility. These examples of his later period I just love! They`re not just lyrical, they startle me into hearing a different language of color.


click HERE to see work for sale in my studio

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