Friday, September 3, 2021

Late Summer

                                          oil on paper oil panel 12x12 inches, 30.5x30.5 cm

 After over a year of troubled solitude, I got busy. I delivered 21 large watercolors on yupo to the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach OR. It opens in mid-Sept. and I will post all of the pieces here in my next blog post. This is my first exhibit of watermedia on the plastic paper from Japan called Yupo. I began using it in 2005 and it gradually became my favorite surface to paint on. It is such a brilliant white, light reflects through almost any paint layer. They have a kind of radiance that is unique. I`ve devoted much of my life to learning how to work with the slippery stuff. Paint is not absorbed like with true paper, it has to evaporate. This is where the big challenge happens. Even with a perfectly level painting table, the paint will move. Walk away to the bathroom and return to a different painting. It is so slick, I`ve developed lots of strategies to keep the paint stable. These include a constant use of a hairdryer, gum Arabic or acrylic medium added to the paint to make it more sticky, elaborate tilting of the painting board beneath the Yupo to direct a wash, applying watercolor in a dry stick form, and subtle blotting techniques to achieve the correct density. It`s a lesson in gravity every time.

So anyway, the show is a big bunch of them mostly unframed. They will be hung on the wall using clips. I had a few framed to show how they look properly presented and had one of them mounted on board and framed without glass. This was surprisingly affordable and looks great. I finished all of them with a matte varnish with UV protection. I`m hopeful a collector will understand the savings involved with rolling up a painting to take home in a tube, is substantial. Shipping work with glass can be done safely but the buyer pays for that extra caution. I`m grateful the gallery agreed to this unconventional manner of presenting the work. Framing everything would have a prohibitive cost. Here is one of them;

                                              Summer Cliffs watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches

This one will be there too. It was used to promote a local festival;

                                            Coastal Nocturne watermedia on Yupo 26x20 inches

 I have used Yupo for so long in such focussed concentration, I think the company should acknowledge me somehow. Give it to me free maybe, although it isn`t too expensive. I have written them and sent photos of the work to no avail. A different corporate culture I suppose.

                                         Summer Pond watermedia on yupo collage 12x12 inches

 Those watercolors that don`t turn out well often have something nice in them somewhere. I can cut them up and reassemble them to my liking. In the one above, I was aiming for a high school biology experiment vibe.
Here are a couple more new paintings;

                                                         oil on canvas 20 inches diameter

Believe me, it was completely disorienting to paint a circle. Without a fixed point of reference, it was almost impossible to proceed. What is top or bottom? I imagine something true to life might have been easier. The palette here was inspired by the audacious colorist Morgan Russell.

                                             Overflow oil on canvas 30x24 inches, 76x61 cm

 I want these new abstract paintings to be honest in their reference to nature but not have a realistic quality. The way light animates the landscape is worth emulating but I don`t need the logic coming from representation.

                                                                       Linda and Todd

The newlyweds came to Oregon for their belated honeymoon! He is my closest buddy since 7th grade and she has a long time relationship with the Oregon coast. Thirty years ago on a business trip she stumbled upon the Inn at Otter Crest and has been coming out frequently from Nebraska ever since. We joined them there and had the best time. This resort was well built in the 1970`s and even with the dated architecture, it still felt intelligent and extremely comfortable. Not to mention gorgeous and surprisingly inexpensive. Because she knew the area so well, we ate at the most delicious places in Newport and Depoe Bay.

I saw this on a Portland subreddit. This is why I love this city. This is why the civil and friendly Portland will be evident again. There is a wild generosity here. I felt it and benefited from it immediately. I believe it comes from the land itself. Its outrageous fertility. This letter will brighten the mood of all;

Dear Portland, A letter from that teacher who asked you for rocks...

A little while ago I shared with you all that I was a teacher who was putting together a nine-month rock exhibit at my school. I teach at a program for kids who are working on behavior stuff and, to be honest, many of them aren't quite ready for field trips to quiet museums. I take that as a challenge-if the student can't go on the field trip, then the field trip must come to the student.

So, for much of the past year I have been taking my small but nice classroom rock collection and turning it into a nine month, changing exhibit so every month the kids at my school will see the magic that a simple rock can be. (LOL...simple as in-mined from the bowels of the earth, cleaned, cut, polished and shipped halfway around the world).

Portland and the world in general stepped up. My gofundme brought in almost $700 which was incredible but it was the Portlanders who dropped things off at my house that makes my jaw drop. A whole bucket of PUMICE and a second bucket of PETRIFIED WOOD. (floating rocks and petrified wood...enough for every student in the WHOLE SCHOOL to have a piece!). One person was moving into a smaller place and left half of her cherished rock collection. A teacher from Florida sent me a baggie of million year old shark's teeth. Enough for every kid in my grade level, but then someone else bought a bigger bag of shark's teeth so every kid in school could have one. There is a company that makes mini museums that sent me a bug in amber, and a trilobite AND a piece of a space capsule that has been on the moon. A local geological club is going to let me come pick stuff out of their storage. A man sent us a diamond. A lady sent us little bags of polished rocks, one for each student while another one sent me a five pound bag of them.

You all, there have been so many acts of kindness that if I made a full list you would cry. Like I am right now because this list is so incredible and I'm so touched that in these hard times, so many people have stepped up for my kids, and my whole school of kids. (I'm talking to you person who sent me toothbrushes for every kid at school). My administration is so excited we are now planning a science night where our whole community will get to see everything at once!

So, with all that kindness going on, I had to share with you the good news. VOYA has named me one of their Unsung Heroes (the award) but it comes with something AMAZING (the reward)!!! The award comes with $2000 towards the rock and mineral project!! I'm just so overwhelmed that VOYA chose my school and this project and my students (and me :0) to invest in.

For all those who donated rocks or threw some money my way, to VOYA for valuing my kids-thank you so much for my kids, but also for letting me go into a covid school year feeling inspired and valued. Thank you, thank you, thank. you!!!


 That guy there is my friend Mitch. Five years ago when my knee implants were both infected, he brought us food and kept me company. I couldn`t even get down my front steps. We were new friends but he didn`t wait for reciprocal gestures. He saw my need and met it. As I started to slowly heal we began painting together on location. With other friends joining in, every Friday morning was devoted to plein air painting. So when I was asked if I wanted to show my work in a Lutheran Church, I didn`t say hell no! I asked if I could show with a friend? Mitch is a diligent painter but has never shown his work to the public. I had large older paintings just sitting in my studio and I thought they might pair nicely with his smaller landscapes. It was scheduled for April 2020........When the church reopened this summer, they asked 'are you possibly still interested?' We said yes and the show went up yesterday. If the covid situation allows, there will be some sort of reception in late Sept. or Oct. I`ll announce it here if it will happen. Meanwhile you can go by during the day and check it out;

                                                             West Linn Lutheran Church
                                                   20390 Willamette Dr. West Linn OR 97068
                                                                        503 656 0110
       We20390 Willamette Drive, West Linn, OR 97068 


                                                                     Nancy  Diamond

 My latest love is for Nancy Diamond. I haven`t been able to find out very much about her as her website is under construction. However, I found her on Instagram and she is wonderful. Like me, she loves to paint skies. Unlike me, she seems to do it with minimal angst. Often her paintings are complex but executed with a carefree quality that is so lovely. Maybe she is as long suffering as most painters but the work looks thoughtfully like magic. 


 I belong in Iceland

Portland Open Studios - Oct. 9&10 and  16&17 - plan to visit!

click HERE doe work for sale in my studio


Barbara DeMott said...

the yupo landscapes are just wonderful

Тамара Лисица said...


Kasey Wanford said...

Excited to see your new work in person at the coast, Randall.
I feel the same way about Portland. Not sure what's going on lately.