Sunday, December 27, 2015

Year End Still Life

                                                 Rose Hip watermedia on Terraskin 13.5x9.5

                                                        Cliff Vines watermedia on paper 12x9

 These drawings are probably the last two pieces I will do this year. I`m back in my basement studio but organizing it in light of the flooding is taking more time than I would like. Usually December passes much too quickly, it`s my favorite time of all, but I`m ready for a whole new year.
Thanks to all of you who expressed condolence for my loss, it`s odd how helpful those little gestures are.
At a family gathering on Christmas, we played a cassette tape I found packing up my mother`s belongings. It was from the mid 90`s and was mostly my Dad practicing a presentation he and my Mom would be giving to their prayer group. It was anecdotal about his spiritual evolution and his voice was strong and sincere. I had forgotten what a born storyteller he was, it was riveting. The tape also included my very young niece Mackenzie singing Christmas songs with Mom joining in the background. She hasn`t been gone three weeks but to hear her 20 years younger in such a happy moment was grace itself. As we left my sister in law`s home on a hill in Camas, the steam from the paper mill billowed straight up into the night sky and glowed by the light of the full moon.

Ellsworth Kelly died today. The pioneering abstractionist was 92. The obituary in the New York Times is well worth reading. Though I never had any interest in minimal art, I sure liked his drawings;

                                                Drawings by Ellsworth Kelly

                                                Mendocino Meadow acrylic on canvas 15x32

This is a painting I gave my parents in 1975. After all these years it`s mine again. The subject is the enormous meadow that fronts the sea in Mendocino CA. I spent a lot of time there thinking as a young man.

                                                                 John Steinbeck

“This I believe: That the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.” ~ John Steinbeck


Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Randall,
Your parents must've loved "Mendocino Meadow" in their home. It's a truly beautiful painting and I could see you there, looking out at the sea, thinking. I think it could be argued that your two still life paintings reflect your feelings lately. The story they tell is much more complex than simply dead, drying plants in winter. But, not being a spiritualist or psychologist, maybe I'm just reading into things without my glasses.
Your words in this post suggest acceptance, resilience and moving forward--all good things in light of the two difficult challenges you've had to contend with. May it continue so.
All the best in the New Year.

Libby Fife said...


I liked the title of the post-that about sums it up for me.

Thanks for sharing the information about Ellsworth Kelly. I like his drawings also and I enjoyed the article. It struck me as a story about someone being in the right time and place to really pursue their inner ideas. And the quote by Steinbeck is one I haven't read before. It dovetails nicely with the Kelly obituary.

I appreciated the story about your mom and dad too. I mentioned before that grief and recovery are full of surprises, as you probably already know.

Here's to a less eventful start to the New Year:)

RH Carpenter said...

The stillness in the top two paintings, the minimalist work, all are so evocative of a time of mourning and remembrance. But perhaps, like Gary, I'm just reading into them things that are not there - but how can our feelings not come out on our paper/canvas/board as we paint during times of loneliness, sadness, memories flooding in? Anyway, I love them both but that top one - there is just so much there!! Thanks for sharing the information about Kelly and the Steinbeck quote. Wishing you a very happy and successful 2016!

E.M. Corsa said...

I find this puzzling. I think I like these two paintings more than any others I have seen of yours. Puzzling because they would not be my choice of subject matter. So what a compliment that should be to you for making me fall in love. said...

Randall - I have back tracked through your posts to catch up and I am totally in shock. I didn't know.
My sincere sympathy on the loss of your mother. She sounded remarkable and obviously a much loved mom.
It is hard to comprehend how you can survive her loss and the studio - your womb - flooding. Please know that I send a warm hug and if I lived close I would have been there to help.
Your work is always an inspiration but now your inner grace and strength are too.

Patricia Wafer said...

The Mendicino Meadow painting is so beautiful. I was listening to Kate McGarrigle's "Talk to Me of Mendicino" just yesterday. So sorry about the flooding in the studio. I miss my late parents all the time. Only one of my dad's siblings survives and she will be 91 next month. I got to spend Christmas day with her and we talked of how much we missed her brothers. As you know our loved ones may be gone but the love isn't. Have a great 2016!! And thanks for all the inspiration in your blog!

Randall David Tipton said...

Thanks Patricia, what a sweet message! I appreciate you [and anyone else] reading what I write! Happy New Year! RT