Saturday, February 17, 2024

slow watercolor

                                              Winter Sunlight watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches

                                                 Otter Crest watercolor on Yupo 16x20 inches

                                              Winter Light watercolor on Yupo 14x11 inches

                                            Bandon Beach watercolor on Yupo 14x11 inches

 2024 began with uncertainty. A long expected knee replacement now was urgent. This is the final correction in an ordeal that began with partial implants in 2017. Soon after that surgery it was clear that both were infected and that set off a long process involving further surgery and home IV antibiotics. I was a mess but eventually healed. Right now in healthcare, a backlog of procedures that stacked up during the pandemic are still being addressed. I was told I had a seven month wait so asked to be on a waiting list in case of a cancelation. That worked out and I now have a new knee. Preparing for the operation and now recovering have left painting a lower priority. I have vague ideas about new collages and urges to paint the coast, but I`m drifting, doodling, planning and looking as much as painting. The great fact of the moment is how manageable my pain is. Just two weeks ago I had my leg cut in two [so to speak] and I`m already walking down the block. The techniques must have advanced and I think the surgeon must have executed his job really well. He told John he had to cut through lots of scar tissue and that my recovery would be painful. But it`s not. Dumbfounded and grateful, I know all too well what it`s like when these projects go south.

 Otter Crest up above, was painted with a time limit. I`ve done this sporadically and have to say I like what happens.  What I`m not sure of is how to integrate this looser approach. My process is based on constant revisions and thoughtful response to what is happening in the moment. I use a hairdryer often to arrest the paint, make it slow down . Yupo is so smooth, the paint obeys gravity, not me. So the way forward might be to delay my editing impulse and let the confusion flow longer before I try to organize it.

                                                                        RDT and Carter

  My brother Mike says the only people who don`t like cats have never been loved by one. Reality is sometimes that simple. Both my guys have been super attentive as I lurched around the house with my walker. Daily, they offer to me the experience of deeply loving something. That`s no small thing. Our pets make us be better versions of ourselves. Less inward and more generous.

 Less than a month ago, this was a sickening common sight The ice storm was preceded by extremely strong wind and temperatures in the teens. Then ice fell on top of the snow and all predictability was gone. 

Medical people are needed in any circumstances so John slipped on the ice trying to get to work. After his shift, an X-ray showed a fracture in his wrist. As unfortunate as that was it was minor compared to the tragedy of trees falling into homes. A modest house in my neighborhood was cleaved in half by a massive Douglas Fir. These very tall trees were the original source of wealth in the new Oregon Territory, and they were and are, everywhere. If you live in a frame house it`s likely the timber came from the Northwest. So in these extreme weather events, few homes are out of reach if these trees go down. Like the big earthquake that is coming, it`s not something to dwell on. We prepare as best we can. The storms seem to be increasing in frequency and people are adapting.

I had to get down my icy front steps too and I had the idea that if I put a towel on the ice I could step on it. It worked! After getting down I tossed them back to the top, in reach, to reuse when I returned. As soon as stores are restocked, I will buy coarse salt to keep our pathways clear. We have already bought cleats for our shoes. Ice is serious.

                                                          Edward Reginald Frampton

 Isn`t this magnificent?! I had no knowledge of his work when I found this. The concise sections of landscape with their clear color and complex design, beneath that soaring sky seduced my attention. I love it in the same way as Indian Mughal painting, jewel like with intricacies to explore. 

                                                               Vincent Van Gogh

 I love Van Gogh, who doesn`t? His earnest work grabs you at the heart. But it`s in his drawings that his pure genius shows most clearly. First of all this was done with a pen and ink. One color. The variety of tone and texture is staggering. There are two human figures and a flock of sheep but this is not a narrative. It`s the raw vitality of those dormant trees which is the subject, they bristle with energy. Seems he had direct access to the source of life.


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Betsy said...

Sorry to hear about your knee! If you need any help with errands let me know

E.M. Corsa said...

I am so sorry to hear about your health issues Randall and wish you a quick recovery though I realize it will take time. But this gives you time to plan and think and dream which is always enjoyable. It's been a tough couple of years, hasn't it? Eager to see what you paint next! <3

Maureen said...


I'm not much on social media these days but think myself fortunate to find your new post on the one Sunday I decide to log in. I never know these days who will be in my stream, but recently my friended friends are back.

I am so happy to learn your surgery did not have to wait all those months and that you are recovering well. May John's wrist heal well also.

Here in Ohio the winds have enjoyed ripping off shingles, including those on my house (twice now). We've had 50-65 mph winds some days. And a lot of weird weather. Yesterday's high was 33 but we'll be in the 60s come Wednesday. I've had to shovel a lot of snow, when it does come, which has not been so often; at my age, it's crazy doing that kind of labor. Still, I have a house so taking care of it is the bargain I made.

Hoping to get out your way sooner than later.

RH Carpenter said...

So very glad to hear the knee surgery is over and you are not in pain! But sad to think John has broken something in his wrist. Oh for the days when we would go out on an ice-covered road and skate by just taking off and sliding around in our shoes! Now we must be careful because we are well aware of pain that comes and, sometimes, overstays. Love the paintings and the Van Gogh drawing you shared. Here’s to a spring shining with good health and creativity!

Libby Fife said...


I am so glad that this particular surgery has gone better than expected. I am certain that the cats have made things exponentially better!

I was interested in the time limit idea on working. I think different things can happen when you step out of what you normally do and step in to some different parameters. But I agree with you: how do you bring this back into your regular routine? I have struggled recently with making smaller collages into bigger versions (same but larger image). I concluded that this wasn't working exactly. What was working was bits and pieces of the ideas put together for a brand new piece. An interpretation or adaptation and not a strict representation. Maybe this idea will help a bit or trigger something?

Anyway, I enjoyed seeing you and Carter. What a sweet face he has and you look healthy and well! Cats surely want to comfort us and we need to pay attention. Nothing wrong with recovering and hanging out with the cats.

Take care and continue your course to good health!

Donna Thibodeau said...

Glad you are healing well. I loved the poster! Doing a painting - so true!

Maggie Emm said...

Congrats on your new knee! So glad to hear that it is doing so well. That is a beautiful photo of you and your cat - you look so young! x