Saturday, December 6, 2014

Non Objectives-Coos Art Museum-Big Trees!

                                   oil on cradled panel 12x12

  Although American Abstract Expressionism was an early, exciting discovery, I`ve not done much truly 'non objective' work, painting that has no subject. Aside from portraiture, this is the most difficult painting of all. This may seem counter intuitive, without the constraints of a 'plan', what`s the big deal? sounds like freedom! Well I need some direction most of the time. This usually comes from my experiences outdoors. So my efforts in pure abstraction have been of short duration, but I try from time to time.
  The painting above had two previous incarnations you will see below. Neither were really bad but after a while I realized I didn`t want to look at them. This is my criteria about what can live or die  in my studio. As I get older, what I leave behind is becoming more of a concern. I want my heirs to receive things of beauty and sincerity. If they also have a market value, that would be terrific. So if I don`t want to see them again, it`s time for them to go.
  Many painters would agree there is something deeply satisfying in painting over a previous work. It feels like thrift, revenge and a clever head start. Often something good will happen.
  The untitled painting above captured my attention to the point I can`t stop looking at it. I emailed a photo of it to myself so I could look at it on my cellphone in the bathroom. Vain? of course but this is truly a measure of quality, at least personally.
  How simple, do I want to look at it?

  Here are some abstract painters I`ve discovered recently that I love: Wendy McWilliams who also has a way with words, her titles are inspired! Alexander Kroll is doing strong yet lyrical work and Jeri Ledbetter`s nervous marks on canvas have a raw emotionality I find moving. Check them out.

 I will be having a solo show at the Coos Art Museum July 9 - Sept. 24, 2016!

  Yesterday I was in my old neighborhood in Portland and went for a walk in Laurelhurst Park. This is a place I visited nearly every day for 11 years. It has a dozen or so enormous London Plane Trees I recognized as old friends.
'Trees' doesn`t do them justice, they`re more like 'beings', so magnificent and expressive!

  Baroque music seems especially suited to winter. Here is a piece from Bach`s Cantata #82 that will break your heart. I heard it on NPR a couple of years ago and it stopped me cold. It`s sung by countertenor Andreas Scholl, a dude with all parts intact. Bach`s love of God is absolutely palpable! This is evangelism at its best and most convincing. Scroll down within this link.

  "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

updated work for sale in my studio 

studio oil painting demonstration Dec. 13, 10-11:30. Anyone is welcome!
5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR


Libby Fife said...

So much to comment on! And I like the latest incarnation of this piece the best.

I have the same criteria for my work. If I can't stand to look at it, out it goes! I have become ruthless about painting over things too-so satisfying.(I have a large selection from which to choose!) The Closet of Shame houses the Stinkers and I edit that space regularly as well. Painting on paper has made the whole process much easier.

Those trees are beautiful. Very alive and expressive and very much alive.

I will check out the three painters that you mentioned. Abstract Expressionism grabs my attention too but but you are right-it isn't easy. My mindset isn't there yet but I continue to work on it every day.

Hope all is well-thanks for the post.

Libby Fife said...

I forgot to say congratulations on the solo show. That seems like quite an honor!

Ruth Armitage said...

What a rich post :) I'm glad I waited until I had time to fully explore the treasures!
First of all, Big Congrats on your solo show! Thanks for the history of your painting... I love its current incarnation, but also enjoyed seeing its past lives.

My favorite of the artists you linked to is Jeri Ledbetter. I find this ironic, since I'm so in love with color, but you are right, the marks are raw and very expressive.

Happy Holidays to you & John, may your days be filled with beautiful big trees!

Maureen said...

Happy about that solo show you'll have. And, the museum's near the water. Congratulations!

Micros said...

Hi Randall

Interesting comments you have penned.

Other artists you might check out is Roberto Matta and Wilfredo Lam.

When it comes down to painting over the same canvas, I am reminded of Picasso and Matisse, who both took photographs of the "under-painting" so they would have something to look at before they started anew.

Some of my greatest journeys have been making discoveries without any planning.

Have fun on your solo show and may it be successful.