Tuesday, October 29, 2019

more watercolors!

                          Rainforest Winter Study watermedia on paper 22x15 inches, 56x38 cm

  I`ve admired Joan Nelson`s work forever. Her landscapes have a mythic quality that stirs a peculiar longing inside me. Months ago I tried to paint something with her vision in mind and I did not succeed.
 Last winter I began a search for a paper that would be a 'soft' alternative to the plastic paper Yupo I use so often. This search for the 'right' paper has been a neurotic journey for years. I`ve tried many papers, all decidedly unsuitable and all with the one common denominator of me. My mental health isn`t too sturdy when it cones to paper. Check my pockets and you`ll find napkins and kleenex I might 'need' again. Visit my studio and you`ll see papers lying everywhere. I seem unable to throw them away.
 I had heard of Hahnemuhle papers as being beautiful to work on so I found a supplier and asked for some samples. Mark, at Acuity Papers, balked, then reconsidered and sent me a nice selection. I tested them all, was unimpressed but ordered a few sheets and the package sat in my studio unopened until now. I had been too involved in oil painting to give watercolor any more than an occasional plein air effort. Now that my oil paintings had been delivered to the gallery, I was ready.

                         Rainforest Summer watermedia on paper 30x22 inches, 76x56 cm

 The painting above and the opening image are painted on Hahnemuhle`s Cezanne Hot Press watercolor paper 140 lb. and it is a complete joy! I am hard on papers, I revise constantly and this stuff is tough. And there is enough sizing to keep the paint on the surface longer which allows for a versatility in techniques.
 I think I got much closer to a Joan Nelson in Rainforest Winter Study and I think the otherworldly quality in her work may come as much from her materials as her intentions. My composition was a repeat but the way the watercolor sat and shimmered was different. It was softer and more atmospheric than on Yupo. I think I have what I`ve wanted for so long! Be careful what you ask for.

                           Stafford Valley October 1 watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches, 66x51 cm

                        Stafford Valley October 2 watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches, 66x51 cm

 I also bought a bunch of new Yupo including a roll 30 inches by 10 yards.
I am so happy to be working in watermedia right now. This is the best run of work since before my legs were so messed up in 2017.

 Two weeks ago I was in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana visiting a beloved cousin. Once we were close, living nearby, both young artists open to the world. Yet nothing is stable for young adults. She soon left California for upstate New York, I had my year of farm living on the Mendocino coast and then moved to New Mexico. We drifted apart.
Our parents died one by one and some of our siblings left too. At a family gathering last summer she invited me to come see her in Montana. My brother Mike and I flew into Missoula and were welcomed with a reunion/love fest like no other. There is nothing like being wanted. Her home, her family, her world were works of art!
I met Bobbi McKibben in her studio and saw her moody emotionally charged pastel landscapes and impressive collection of other artists work. Including two Ben Aronson landscapes.
 At the Missoula Art Museum [free!] was a retrospective of the great Oregon artist Rick Bartow. I had seen this show in Eugene OR with Carol Marine a couple of years prior.
Just that morning in my hotel room I had received an email from a mutual friend who said Carol was moving to Missoula! Synchronicity sure gets my attention.

                                                                   by Matthew Wong

 I had just become aware of him. Who was this guy? These paintings are original to say the least. The look of Outsider Art but with narratives and modernist insights. Matthew Wong died earlier this month, 35 years old. He was on the autism spectrum, with Tourette`s Syndrome and chronic depression. He was Canadian and self taught and that young man could paint!

                                                                 by Matthew Wong

                                                                by Matthew Wong

                                                                        by Matthew Wong

                                                                      Matthew Wong

                                                                          by Ed Clark

 Someone I learned of through his obituary. Ed Clark lived to be 93 but felt overlooked. He was African American and no doubt was. That painting just above is exquisite!
Likewise this one;

                                                                         by Ed Clark

 I`m posting this from Facebook and it allegedly comes from Jerry Saltz, that mensch of an art critic.
His humble humane advice to artists is worth listening to.

So with that preface, here is the work in my show at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach. It just ended but everything is there still.

click HERE for paintings for sale in my studio

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Watercolors autumn 2019

                               Canyon Stream watercolor on Yupo 16x12 inches 40.5x30.5 cm

                                Coastal Nocturne watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches 66x51 cm

                                   Cliff Corner watermedia on Yupo 26x20 inches 66x51 cm

                           Ice Fog Lichen Light watermedia on Yupo 20x20 inches 51x51 cm

                                Hog Island Study watercolor on Yupo 20x16 inches 51x40.5 cm

                                         North Coast watermedia on Yupo 26x20 66x51 cm

 I`ve been unusually happy painting on paper again with watercolor alone or mixed with ink, acrylic and watercolor crayons. These are larger than I have been doing and it feels good to scale up and use big brushes. Despite them all looking exactly like I did them, I`m always trying to say something new or personal, using any means that are exploratory and fun. I insist on fun.
Each bright white sheet of Yupo is as scary as the last one. That silly reaction has been there from the start, so I acknowledge it and then begin.

                                                                Arch Cape Creek

                                                          in Oswald West State Park

   Hug Point-best beach in the world! Cliffs to climb on, a waterfall, a cave big enough for shelter, odd rock formations and a rainforest just steps away.

                                                          photographing a cave

 My trip to the coast three weeks ago has sure stayed with me. It`s far enough away to keep each visit distinct. On damp gray days, the beaches seem most like the iconic Northwestern landscapes everyone imagines. Nature is dominant with islands of culture and comfort strung all along the coast. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and best of all, it`s not New Zealand or Greece or Patagonia. It`s Oregon and it`s not expensive.

It`s too soon for a wager but it`s beginning to look like #45 might experience some justice at last. But he`s an old white rich Republican not to mention "leader of the free world". We will see. Those children are still in cages. This cruel, immoral president is being shielded by his party. History will not be kind to those who enable him. As Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, with Trump, 'all roads lead to Putin'. I think a whole lot of corruption will be uncovered in this serious process.

 Her political instincts are razor sharp and clear headed. She waited as long as possible to begin impeachment proceedings, fearing what it would do to our country. Until there was no other way to defend our democracy. Impeachment is the remedy for the abuse of power. It is what the constitution requires.

 This is an extreme form of what we are up against. With over a quarter of our citizens, the president has become an idol.
God help us.

                                          Roofs and Gables, Santa Monica by Ben Aronson

 This is as good as painting gets in my opinion. Even though he`s from Boston, he exposes the soul of California like no other. These cityscapes are an homage to Richard Diebenkorn and his world, yet they extend his insights into a kind of language. I can tell you as a native, he nails it every time. San Francisco or Los Angeles, he knows both intimately.

                                             Moonrise watermedia on Yupo 12x12 2008

Ode to Tides, the traveling art exhibit about our coastal ecology, will soon be in Beaverton. This big body of work is intended to bring a closer awareness of our estuaries. The range of artwork within  this theme is remarkable, the cause is so worthy. As the sea level rises, healthy estuaries will help enormously with the expected storm surges.

Click HERE for art for sale in my studio