Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pantano de Invierno - collage - Black Lives Matter

                                                      oil on canvas 20x16

 A winter marsh in any language is going to be cold. This and another in process are purely imaginary. I may have been in these environments enough to remember how they felt. Many of the wetlands around me also include forests that can tolerate wet feet. If I will do the same and endure some mud, I can get into some special places and I will usually be the only one there. At a glance they  look bleak, but in early or late light, they are rich with somber color and visually dense with the bare vegetation. The mood can be remote and melancholy but still accepting if that makes sense. These sorts of places would not have appealed to a younger me but now they are desirable and even comfortable.

It was only the second time in my life I had done it and I now have serious regrets I haven`t done this earlier. A friend who lives on the lake took us out in kayaks the other day and though we only paddled along the shore, it was magical. Look at these cliffs!

 Since participating in the Portland Open Studios Tour and writing this blog for nearly seven years, I`ve met many older adults returning to their early interest in art. I`ve written about this brave impulse before. Attaining a fluency with the language of painting can take a frustratingly long time. In my opinion, these skills aren`t nearly as important as knowing what one wants to say. So this came to me as an epiphany; those individuals needing to work immediately with specific visual data might find satisfaction with collage. Rather than learning how to paint something to express your fascination, get out the scissors!  Seriously, there is a wealth of imagery to play with and this approach requires just your eyes. And the love and discernment you`ve harbored for years. Like sampling music to create new compositions. Why not? It doesn`t need a studio either, just a table.
Look what Romare Bearden was able to explore with just cut paper. He opened a window onto the kinetic, vibrant life of Harlem and also created extravagant tropical landscapes of the Caribbean.

 Since Joni Mitchell`s medical emergency, I`ve been very curious about her biography. Ordinarily an artist`s work is all I care about but her mysterious illness made me wonder about her life. I din`t find many interviews but in the few she had granted I learned she has been sick a very long time. She had Polio as a child and it reoccurred in her 40`s. She said she has tried hard not to die!
In my searching I came across a sweet tribute concert from 2001 with an amazing performance by Casandra Wilson and this smoky version of  the exuberant 'Carey' sung by Cyndi Lauper.

 The Marcia Burtt Studio Gallery in Santa Barbara Calif. is now showing some of my work on paper. It`s a trial run to determine if there is interest with her clientele.

My backyard on a glorious spring day. None of those big trees are mine, I just get to enjoy them.
 It has been a terrific year for the Wisteria. You could smell them just driving around town. Once I wanted one for my home but was warned to never let one near the house. This is why;

Those blossoms are about 40 feet up this Douglas Fir!

 When Martin Luther King went to Memphis in April 1968, he came in support of the sanitation workers who were on strike. Here is a photo of one of them;

 'I am a man', imagine that.
When the Justice Department recently released the report of its investigation of the police department of Ferguson MO, the systemic discrimination against the African American community that was revealed was utterly sickening. The city even targeted black drivers for minor traffic violations as a way to raise revenue. One town out of tens of thousands of others. Some surely much better, others worse. This is institutionalized racism plain and simple. Still.
I believe much of the virulent hatred of President Obama comes from a sense of betrayal. That his election did not remove the crippling stain of slavery from the national psyche. The passion of his detractors is so wildly irrational, some other deeper issue is at the core. I fear many do not really believe African Americans to be fully human. As a homosexual, I know what that feels like.
 Most people are aghast that one death of an unarmed black man follows another. Until Baltimore, no indictments! Every Grand Jury exonerates the police. Why? Why don`t those lives count as worth saving? If they had been white, they likely would be alive. This is shameful and it disgusts me but I`m at a loss as to how to help change this. I`ve given it a lot of thought. One thing I think would advance equal opportunity and justice is a new effort toward more integration. Just as MLK said. That would take more government and I say it`s time, once again. An economic realignment is called for and that will take a heroic effort.
 In 2015, that I can be married to another man while millions of black citizens still struggle for the things I have always taken for granted, is just offensive. What can I do as an individual? I want to know.

This commentary from NPR`s On the Media helped me understand why progress has stalled.

                              John, Randall, Norma, Mike and Gwen. Mother`s Day 2015

work for sale in my studio


RH Carpenter said...

Beautiful painting! And I took some time to visit the gallery to see your work there - it should have no trouble selling quickly as each was a lovely statement someone will fall in love with soon :) When I was much younger, I stupidly thought that by this time we all would be so mixed that people wouldn't automatically see black, white, yellow, red. That, of course, didn't happen, and it seems we see the differences even more now! I think it stems from our individual needs and wants to be special - so that makes others the "other" the "them" and not "us" of our surroundings. I will check out the NPR link and see what is said there. Have a good week.

Ruth Armitage said...

Beautiful work - I agree with RH - You will have new collectors in Santa Barbara soon! Just curious... why do you regret the kayaking expedition?
xo r

Randall David Tipton said...

Ruth, I regret not making kayaking part of my life!

E.M. Corsa said...

I have a kayak sitting under my deck that I rarely use even though I have an access across the street. Once I get through this difficult time I'm dealing with I will certainly change that.

I too thought by now things would have changed more but I am grateful for what we have improved upon. The fight never ends though.

"Carey",one of my all time favorite songs. I play that album (Blue) constantly.

And what a beautiful photograph of your family. You're a lucky man my friend.