Saturday, June 11, 2022

Tributes and Loss

                                         Lemons and Daylight watermedia on yupo 14x11 inches

I have so many unfinished paintings that I should be working on but I just wanted to lose the subject again and concern myself with only color. As recreation. After I began this, I had a phone call from a friend telling me a mutual friend had lost her husband suddenly. Unexpected death shatters what we believe to be reality. Most of us will experience this in time and learn the world doesn`t reassemble in the same way again.

My friend, Ruth Armitage, also had an exhibit open just two days before her family tragedy. The concept of the show is novel. Her nine new paintings are based on the relationships she`s had with each of nine mentors. These are artists she feels helped her advance in her artistic evolution. I am one of them. These nine also have a piece in the show. Each of her square canvases incorporates what she drew from the mentors` practice and it`s interesting to see what was important to her and how the 'example' fed her own exploration. She doesn`t want this heartfelt show to be lost to sorrow.

Here are the details; 

Waterstone Gallery, 124 NW 9th AV, Portland OR, 97209.   ph.# (503) 226-6196

Hours; 11-4 pm Wed.-Sat. through July 3                         

 Some of Ruth`s work;

                                                        Constellation by Ruth Armitage

                                                          Nature Boy by Ruth Armitage

                                                    River of Dreams by Ruth Armitage

                                                   Confluence oil on canvas 30x30 inches

Fanno Creek at the Tualatin River. One of my favorite places in winter.

Also new; 

This was a demo. An earnest friend came by to learn some of the principles of watercolor. So I began talking about working light to dark and emphasizing the importance of drawing. I quickly felt cornered and realized I can`t teach things I don`t do myself. I don`t 'believe' in the traditional way of working with watercolor where the white of the paper is the lightest value that you build upon gradually getting darker. That can make for gorgeous paintings, John Singer Sargent did it repeatedly on his camping trips and other travels. I just don`t think it matters ultimately. What any artist 'says' is far more important than their technique. If you give a child a paint box they don`t ask about mixing colors, they just go do it as they`re working. Their vision is the critical thing, what they want to get down, leave a record of. My mom saved a piece I did of a fly on a television screen. I don`t remember doing it but I`m sure I was quite serious. 

Now that being said, a beginner needs to start somewhere. But where? This is why I rarely teach. I don`t know the sequence for learning this stuff. My own education was mostly by trial and error. I felt bad I had so little guidance for my pal. So I`m asking you dear reader, if any of you know of a good book on the basics of handling watercolor, please tell me.  Thanks.

Speaking of learning, I was taught two super important concepts in junior high. One was about negative space. That the empty areas around or between a subject also have a shape. The other was that the perception of color was always dependent on the context. The color around or beside an object determines how we perceive its color.

                                                    oil on Multimedia Board 12x12 inches

Any of you know what that thing is? I showed it to John and he said 'eww, it looks like a skull'. Now he is an Oregon native well acquainted with our forests. Though I painted it on a lumpy board with many failures underneath, I thought it was successful. It`s a tricky subject. In our soggy woodlands, a big fir will lose its grip and topple. The trunk will be colonized with new vegetation immediately but the root ball will loom up out of the ground in a huge circular tangle. Over time they weather away becoming intricate, sculptural forms with a distinct elegiac quality. I was disappointed he didn`t recognize what it was. Well I love them and will paint them again. I searched high and low for another term or word for 'rootball'. It`s so inadequate for the grandeur they possess. Do the Scandinavians encounter these in their forests? Patagonians? The best alternate I found was root crowns. I bet another language would refer to these things with more respect. 

                                                    Nature Variation 2 by Deborah Stewart

She makes it look easy.


It`s Gay Pride Month! Give the homosexuals in your lives some love!

Click HERE for available work in my studio