Thursday, September 19, 2019

I love paper

                        Bryant Woods, Late Winter watermedia on terraskin 23x36 inches 58.5x89 cm

 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.

                  Oswego Creek Spring watercolor on Terraskin 23x35 inches 58.5x89 cm

 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.

                                                             Luscher Farm Field



                                                               Frijoles Canyon


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

                                                            Dune by Joan Mitchell

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Forests, real and imagined

                             Selva Profunda 1 watermedia on Yupo 14x11 inches 35.5x28 cm

                              Selva Profunda 2 watermedia on Yupo 14x11 inches 35.5x28 cm

                           Summer Morning CB watercolor on Yupo 14x11 inches 35.5x28 cm

 Trees are why I am an Oregonian. Even though most of the original forests are long gone, the scrappy ones that rose in their place please me too. My fate was set during my family camping vacations in Northern Calif. and Oregon. I took a long detour through New Mexico but once I arrived at last, I knew I was home.
 The paintings above are recent, the third one done on location. It really doesn`t matter if I`m sitting there or not. I remember what they look like once I begin. What I especially enjoy when I do paint on site is the stillness and the intermittent sounds. Usually I`m walking through them getting some exercise. I`m taking it in but it`s a shower, not a soaking bath.
 At 19 on a farm I lived on near Mendocino Calif., I would walk into the woods and find a nice spot. I always had a piece of plastic in my back pocket that I sat on to avoid getting wet. I`d smoke some pot and then just study the forest in detail. It was an education.

 For those disheartened citizens shocked and appalled by the administrations environmental destructions, here is an article to give you some hope. The state of Maine once had a governor as hostile to nature as Trump but they are turning things around fast. Thank you Governor Janet Mills!

                                                              Wayne Thiebaud

 And here is a lovely little clip of Wayne Thiebaud talking about his career. What an example of kindness and humility and obsession. He`s nearly 100 but still creating. Here is a recent interview with him. Everyone loves Wayne Thiebaud!

                                                     Flood Waters by Wayne Thiebaud

                                                Ice Cream Cones by Wayne Thiebaud

click HERE for work for sale in my studio

Watermedia on Yupo Demonstration Sept.21, 2 pm, White Bird Gallery, Cannon beach OR

Monday, August 19, 2019

Dreamy Summer

                                Minto Brown Marsh oil on canvas 18x36 inches 46x91.5 cm

 I haven`t loved a summer so much since living in New Mexico. This benign, soft, fresh summer is a surprise and a luxurious gift. One sweet day after another. No smoke, cool oceanic mornings followed by clean sunny skies into evening. How did we deserve this? Paris reached 108 degrees! No one knows why we`re so lucky.
 Yet the overwhelmingly green landscape doesn`t inspire working in series. So as in previous summers, I use the season to get to the paintings that have been waiting in the back of my mind. There`s usually a photo to anchor the memory and the emotion. Once I begin, it`s not hard to imagine.
 The wildlife refuge-municipal park-farm which constitutes Minto Brown Island in Salem OR always provokes me. The wetlands in particular in late fall and winter. The painting above is probably still a work in progress, I don`t understand it yet. The color took off in a direction of its own with the composition trailing along. Feeling like a bystander when painting isn`t bad but it takes longer to evaluate the conclusion.

                                                       oil on canvas 24x24 inches 61x61 cm

 Another new painting that is a mystery to me. The inspiration was the maroon leaves decomposing on the forest floor in winter. I was remembering a muddy little woodland I love on Fanno Creek. Somehow it quickly became more about the juxtaposition of Mars violet against teal. Once I figure it out, I`ll probably paint over it.

 I happened upon an ad for Kroma Acrylics on Instagram, I went to the highly educational website and soon realized these might possibly be what I`ve wanted. The problem with acrylics is that they are not oil paints. When I read they had the maximum pigment load the vehicle could accept, I was ready to gamble. I bought the 'classic' set pictured above. All traditional; cadmiums, cobalt, and titanium. All primaries with none of the modern pigments based on dyes in this set. They are a pleasure to work with, very creamy yet dense. In my practice, acrylics come into play to extend or correct watercolor. I rarely use them alone. If they had an equivalent of Gamblin`s Radiant White, I would be tempted to replace my oils. As good as these are, the white is just not opaque enough, and I really don`t like trying to re-paint spontaneous brush strokes. The texture is soft enough though, I don`t think I would need both a tube and fluid version of my colors like I do now. They`re local too and I love that!

                            Into the Shallows oil on prepared paper 24x18 inches 61x46 cm

 I`ve been super busy being famous lately. A Chinese-American website called Our Narratives asked me for an interview and I said of course. Many nice questions and emails later, "Through the Mist-Interview with Oregon Artist Mr. Randall David Tipton" was published. Thanks Adelina!

 Then a French magazine, Practique Arts, asked me.

 Having just done the one, I was less than enthused. I asked what they would want from me? The list was long. I said no, there were several interviews already in existence, my story stayed the same and I just didn`t have the time to give it. She could write something on her own if she wanted to. She did. Thanks Steph!

 I translated some of it through Google Translate with disappointing results.
My bilingual buddy Mitch gave me a much more poetic version. Nice how well the paintings reproduced!

 Have you ever had something you knew intimately become really popular?
As a kid I went to Laguna Beach often as a guest of my close friend Jim. His parents brought me along to keep him entertained. We had so much fun. The same giant house was rented with three or four families occupying it. The adults played cards from morning until bedtime while the kids swam, fished, and hiked. Our favorite place to fish has become a plein air hot spot; the Keyhole. We never called it that but we thought it was cool to walk through. Right beside it was a huge slanting rock we sat on to cast our lines. On the bluff above was a trailer park. Now it is an upscale resort called Montage. Here are some of my painting colleagues views of the Keyhole.

                                                                       David Solomon

                                                                 September McGee

                                                                 Robert Kuester

                                                                   Robert Lemler

   Lessons from her father. Anyone who has ever had a job could benefit from these clear principles.

                                                     The Wedding by Zoey Frank

 I was aware of her but not fully. Then I looked closer at Zoey Frank`s astonishing work. Oh my God, just take a look. Such luscious, sensuous realism! Yet completely contemporary. This rarely happens to me but after a half hour or so scanning carefully, I became intimidated. I thought why bother? Let her do it. Stupid, but I was flabbergasted!

                                                      Peter Reading by Zoey Frank

                                                     Bathing Suit by Zoey Frank

I`ve been working on a show to coincide with the new Earth and Ocean Festival in Cannon Beach in September. The industrious artists and merchants on the coast are always thinking of fun ways to attract visitors and celebrate something worthy. Well the dates of the festival were changed and my show became more of a group affair. This is fine though I did feel like a balloon that had popped. I will still have lots of new work on display and I will be giving a watermedia on Yupo demostration on Saturday September 21 at 2 pm at the White Bird Gallery on the north end of town. This is my 34th year with the gallery!

                                                                    by Daniel Collins

work for sale in my studio

Monday, July 29, 2019


                                                Mid-winter oil on canvas 20x24  51x61 cm

 The local parks where I live serve me well. The bonds I vote for translate into maintained places that keep to a natural low key vibe. Just what I like. No picnic tables or swing sets, a visiting child can look for bugs. Most of my paintings, like the one above, come from my walks there. Occasionally though I get out of town and if the trip allows, into someplace wilder. Not back packing nature but more like car camping. I carried a pack in Boy Scouts but never since. I may give the impression I`m hiking in pristine wilderness but I`m really a mile away from my home.
 However last week, after a visit with nearby in-laws, we went to Silver Creek Falls state park. It`s a little chunk of old growth forest with multiple waterfalls and undisturbed rainforest vegetation. It`s a bath of green!

 With some really big trees

 As you can imagine, the atmosphere of the place is kind of reverent.
I just finished 'Barkskins' by the wonderful Annie Proulx and she shows the consequence of centuries of logging. Because she`s a great writer, I could stomach the descriptions of the brutal massacre of the New World`s forests and the incredibly arrogant attitudes behind it. It is ugly and the genocide of the people living in those places, will surprise no one. It is the story of our country entwined with the history of the timber industry. As an Oregonian, I`m glad I`m better educated now about the business that first produced the wealth of my state.
This was painted a couple of days later;

                                          Broken Promises oil on panel 20x16  40.5x51 cm

                                                       Spider Rock by Bob Stuth-Wade

 A couple of years ago, I was perusing the vast Valley House Gallery website when I stumbled across Bob Stuth-Wade and it was like a jolt of electricity. How had this magical realist ever gotten by me??
He knew the soul of the Southwest intimately, and his technique is so precise and skilled , it`s utterly baffling.Yet he is not a hyper-realist.  He works from life on location and his intentions seem to be humane, even loving. He takes realism to a rare, maybe holy place. A Stuth-Wade painting is a clear view into the miracle of existence.

                                                           by Bob Stuth-Wade

                                                                 by Bob Stuth-Wade

                                      Summer Meadow watermedia on paper 12x9  30.5x23 cm

I`ve done some more outdoor work myself. That meadow above is no other than the Bryant Woods meadow! That place just gives and gives to me.

    Mitch Burrell and me in a photo by Burt Jarvis. That was a fun day. I`m back to my old method of hauling around an awkward lawn chair and painting on my lap. The fancy easel I bought just wasn`t right and it took me a while to figure it out. The palette didn`t let me get close enough to the paper, I had to lean over it. Anyway being closer to the ground is nice. I was studying the grasses;

 which led to this;

                                              untitled  watermedia on paper 12x9   30.5x23 cm

                                                               by Richard Diebenkorn

 "I can tell as soon as he turns up at the garden gate. I can tell if he had a good day by the way he carries himself, whether he fumbles with his keys, whether he says hi. Just a few weeks ago, he came in and said 'it`s all over. I simply cannot paint!' The next morning he left early and stayed in the studio all day without putting a single mark on the canvas, just trying to look at it in a new way. And then he came home and said 'I think it`s the best thing I`ve done'." Phylis Diebenkorn, from the Diebenkorn Foundation on Instagram.

                                                                   by Michael Lipsey

work for sale in my studio

prints by Fine Art America