Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Storm is Lifting

                                           The Storm is Lifting watermedia on yupo 26x20

 My brother Mike asked me the other day how I would characterize the work I`ve done in the last year. I told him wildly uneven.
For much of the year I didn`t know if I was getting better or worse. When I realized worse, I quit trying to push myself with exercise. I never stopped but I quit trying to rehabilitate myself. I was making the pain much worse. Now, as I wait for my new knee next week, my painting is as scattered as ever.

                                                     Across the Canal oil on  Yupo 20x16

 I was sitting on the bank of the lake`s canal trying to decide if I was cold, was it too early to paint outdoors. I did the drawing below and thought the weather was fine. Across the channel I could see a level area dense with vegetation. I tried to paint it from memory, first in acrylics and then in oils.

 Next I thought I`d do something I`ve never done before but had heard was an excellent way to learn. I would copy a hero. Bjornar Aaslund, a painter from Norway, slides in and out of abstraction as he paints his landscape derived, dynamic paintings. His work is adept and passionate and I admire it a lot;

                                                                    Bjornar Aaslund

                                                                     Bjornar Aaslund

                                                                     Bjornar Aaslund

                                                                    Bjornar Aaslund

 His painting, at its core, is suffused with nature. As if he has studied it all his life up close. As if he were a biologist. That last one, just above, is the one I decided to paint. I thought I could learn about his process and just adopting his palette was educational.

                                                  Bjornar and Me watercolor on Yupo 14x11

 Quickly I went my own way but it was a fun exercise. It wasn`t hard to imagine the lakes finally free of ice, suddenly teaming with plants in the warm sunlight.

                                                                 Bjornar Aaslund

 Because of my limited mobility I can`t get to all the places which are the basis of what I do. Consequently, I`ve had more creative blocks than ever. Usually I don`t become over concerned. A change of mediums will get things moving again. This time has been different. It feels like I`m actually denied that part of my brain. As if my imagination were inert or empty. A modest walk in Bryant Woods or a review of one of my Pinterest boards can change the chemistry in my thinking somewhat reliably but what is going on? It has been on, then off, frequently. I bet it has a hormonal element. Anyone else experience this as being cutoff from oneself?

 My show at the Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland OR is up the whole month of April!

                                                                     John Wolseley

 This is plein air painting! This Australian painter is another naturalist/artist. Really inspirational.

work for sale in my studio


Ruth said...

I am wowed by all your work, but the exercise in imitation is amazing. You really took the elements that inspired you (palette) and went your own way. It really does look like the two of you collaborated! Can’t wait till you are on the other side of this next surgery. I’m sure that it must be making you anxious. I would be!

JacMac said...

Interesting to read your artistic struggle; something I know we as artists experience, but yours is being caused by a physical problem and how it has impacted your life this past year. I experienced a stroke which left me blind in one eye this past year and has me in an artistic state of flux. I could relate when you said you view your Pinterest page; I spent yesterday doing that and watching You Tube videos to learn a more abstract way to approach my work. I need a lesson in loosening up. Wishing you the best of luck to you and your new knee!

Betsy C said...

Very nice examples. I wonder where John Wolseley got such a big piece of paper?

Libby Fife said...

I love the guy sprawled on the dirt, painting. That is devotion! And Bjornar's work is intense. Many levels up.

I forget, in my own turmoil, that men have hormones too. The mind though is such a mystery. I think people can become so habituated to a certain set of actions (routines created in a lifetime of painting) that anything that disrupts those routines can cause problems. Probably the good news would be that all of what you want is still there and will return. I don't experience a cutting off so much as a "floating away" feeling or a feeling that I am reaching and coming up with nothing. Anyway.

Good luck with the surgery. Maybe you will get some ice cream in the hospital as a treat:):):)

RH Carpenter said...

It is very hard to be creative and successful in that creativity when one is in pain - and you’ve been in pain for a long time. We don’t like to admit we are getting older and our “parts” are outliving us in breakdowns and needs for repair or replacement. It is not fun to admit it. I think you’ve been fighting the good fight to try to come around and find yourself without being able to find refreshment and inspiration outdoors. That is hard. So, being cooped up physically, perhaps you are cooped up, mentally and emotionally. Soon, you get the new knee and I’m wishing you all the best with that. Sometimes health issues take us out of ourselves - depression and anxiety about procedures and outcomes can make us just want to veg out and not think. Been there and done that! I like the “copy” that isn’t a copy at all but based on the palette and shapes instead. I like that painting of his the best but much prefer your paintings! Take care, fiddly with charcoal or paints or pencils or even finger paints - let the kid in you come out and play while the adult has to deal with all this medical stuff :)

Maureen said...

Oh, I hope all goes well with the new knee, Randall. I will be thinking of you.

Btw, I'm grateful that you showed a while ago a work by Carola Schapals. Carola's going to appear in my May Artist Watch. Terrific paintings!

Donna Thibodeau said...

Since you are nervous about surgery and find yourself grieving over loss of movement and inspiration maybe you should think ahead and plan for recovery. Get a sketchbook or block ready with materials you will need for making art near an easy chair. This could be an artistic growth time to try pen and ink or painting interiors or still life. It won’t be forever though it feels like it now. Soon the weather will change and so will your hurt knee. I loved the walking prose. It seems walking is a metaphor for mind over matter. You can do this surgery and still be an artist. It won’t change who you are. You also have friends that support you injured or not.

Maggie Emm said...

Love your drawing...sometimes the body just needs to lie fallow. Maybe your creative energy is caught up with trying to create a new knee - hoping that the surgery will help with that.
Even struggling, your art is beautiful x