Art, Nature & Soul #28

One fall the 3rd week of October, some 15 years ago, Don, myself and three of our pups, loaded up in our Dodge Grand Caravan and headed for Mount Desert Island (MDI) Maine. On a road trip you can take in the colors of fall and they were particularly vibrant this year as we drove from Illinois to Maine observing the different trees and colors of the states. We arrived in the coastal town of Bar Harbor on MDI and ”it’s so beautiful”, that’s right beautiful & I continued to say that more times than ever before over our week stay. It was solidly 55-75 degrees & perfect walking weather.

New England has always been of fascination to me. I had family out east when I was growing up. The ocean, its old world charm and history had me hooked from the beginning. Everywhere on MDI was yet another picuresque and paintable vista around every turn and so was the inspiration for this piece. A nested harbor for the lobster man of Maine. Egg Rock Light is in the distance as gulls and sea birds circle around in search of food, flanked by spits of land & coastal pines. It’s a cool day and the waters are choppy, but perfect for the fisherman as the boats come and go in search of their catch of the day. A seagull sits sentry upon the scene as the men on the docks pull up cages, small boat, still another sits fishing while a lobster scurries loose on the pier unbeknowst to all but the pup, Kai-Guy, our oldest & first Shiba Inu, knows its there and wants to play.

Its lasting impression survives in this and other such images I created and painted of the area. Where , the sea beckons me, people still make there living fishing, & lobster is served every which you can, even as fast food.

As always feel free to comment. ~Richard

Rock Lobster, 30”x24” oil (2008) NFS

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Art, Nature & Soul #27

Commissions Welcome! While it would be great if everything one painted sold, it’s not the case. The truth is, if you’re a more prolific artist, you produce a lot of art. The majority of it is good, some superior and fewer pieces, are just experiments that went askew . That said, the market is satuarated with art, artists and painters trying to sell their work, especially in recent history. It seems a great many people are trying to find a more balanced lifestyle, thus, creating fills the need, that’s great and I encourage that whole heartedly. I’ve often thought about holding & teaching an art expression/therapy group. I still may, in the near future.

That said, commissioned artwork is yet another avenue of services, that I offer, as painter. From abstract to portraits and everywhere in between, even bookcovers, have been some of the requests I’ve honored upon commission. It can be more of a challenge to paint commissioned piece, as it’s, in part bridging a clients vision to mine. Although most clients know what I do and their expectations correlate to them from the start. I’ve been doing commissioned work since I was a young teenager. Some of them commercial business signs, still others pastel portraits, & even stained glass windows, are some works I’ve accomplished upon request .

This piece was commissioned by a person who had a particular vision. She lives here in the midwest & winters on the Georgia coast. The beach, ocean, & it’s abundant life, plus it’s calming effect have a great appeal to her. The sandpipers scurry and feed along the shoreline. It was with a certain color pallette and look, intended that this piece was executed and delivered to another happy collector.

as always, Your questions & comments are welcome

~Richard

‘Shoreline Beachcombers’ 24”x20” oil on canvas (Commissioned 2018)

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Art, Nature & Soul #26

Warning! Sharing Taboo Speakings, He said, Tongue in Cheek~ Some 35 years ago, filled with all the passion and thirst for kowledge of a young man in his teens/20s, I pondered the meaning of life, with that came the questions of religion, particularly, world religions. Then, 25 years ago, having recently become fascinated with the impressionists, post-impressionists & expressionists, with a high interest in Van Gogh/Gauguin, my ‘Blue Jesus’ emerged, merging Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ & Gauguin’s ‘Yellow Christ’.

Being primarily of Western European descent and raised in the midwest U.S.A. , as a young child went to a Baptist Church and then later a non-demominational Bible Church, until age 12, as was part of the custom for a moral/ethical upbringing and education, at the time. But my life particulars and experiences, for a vast variety of reasons, including confused and blurred teachings within the churches that I went to, had me questioning these ideas from an early age and sometime in High School I began to reach out for answers and study the primary religions of the world.

Interestingly, I discovered that from the earliest mythologies to the most ancient religions, a great many of the stories were similar, like the creation story. So much so, as it were, three major religions had the same origins book. The Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions are basically derived from the same book. It also seemed that much of the daily living info was practical to its time. More important is we need to keep in mind that language has changed over time as well, so it’s important to understand a words meaning in its time, not ours, and varied translations. It then became abundently clear that the divisions were unique to geographic and cultural enviornments, thus human thought process’s and logic. So it was the regional prophets of God, the universe & everything were different, while the messages were similar. So much so are the divisions though, even within the various sects of christianity and the various preacher/priests teaching, that the message had become seemingly lost to dogma & ritual. That being the common threads & central messsage of most religions~

They/we believe in, love, and honor God(however you define it), don’t do evil, selfish, and destructive things., & do good, loving, kind, and useful things instead.

Having found that when you pulled only the words of Jesus from the Bible this supported that message. Then I discovered the Unitarian/Universalists, and it was a perfect fit for me. As I realized, I did not need to make others beliefs wrong, in order to have mine, so it is that I cherish and study the peoples of the world and their various religions, so it was impressionism, post-impressionism & expressionism, for the most part, a better way for me share my ideas utilizing the visual art form, as they were more emotive and less literal.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

~Jesus

As always, feel free to comment, peace & love always~ Richard

‘Blue Jesus’ 20”x24” oil on linen (1994)

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Art, Nature & Soul #25

En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, it literally translates, as such. But not only, it's also an approach, a matter-of-factness of impression & an expression of directness. Here's a study, I just completed from a photo.

It’s a rarity that I have time to paint outdoors with the busy life and commitments I have. But, I do spend a fair amount of time walking with the pups, twice a day, most everyday. It’s meditative, an opportunity to take all of natures beauty in, and observe it’s ever changing cycles in their abundance. Walking that much, usually around sunrise and sunset, is an opportunity to observe and I remember when I first discovered when the leaves on trees in the fall first begin to change colors. Simply, it’s where first light falls on them and day after day you can see it as the light angle changes over weeks, a month as we move closer to winter.

My eye captures the first idea of the scene. Most often I have my camera with me to capture another interpretation. Then I begin to interpret yet another at the easel, choosing a color palette & painting the painting. Most often I’m not trying to copy nature but rather express my interpretation of it. The colors are choosen to give the atmosphere I’m trying to convey. The shapes and form are often exagerated to give emphasis to the more emotive aspects of nature. Most of the time they are completed ‘Alla Prima’ (in one sitting) and sometimes going back, a day or two latter to tweek the details, thus the medium is in part the message.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a walk on the beach with the pups and so it was I captured a fleeting moment of joy & bliss, in this oil painting on board.

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions

~Richard

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A Walk On The Beach 12”x12” oil on board

Art, Nature & Soul #24

Blue has always been my favorite color. Those of a more color sensitive nature, will appreciate the tonal nature of this piece and the line I’m playing between abstract & representational art.

We went out to Cape Cod, back in 2014, it had been over a decade since I had been to the ocean. Where the vast sea and sky meet, has left a lasting impression on me. I have painted both abstract and representational artworks for over a quarter century now. Typically they have been seperate entities, with an ocassional mixing of the two on the same canvas. In an effort to unify my body of work, I began trying to break down representational ideas into they’re more abstract forms, with the intention of leaving some of those representational things intact, on the canvas.

Having studied some of my most favorite artists, both living and dead, approaches to achieving they’re goals in their artworks, I set forth to create my own trademark look. The thought being , not to do what they do, but to discover what makes/made their work successful, make my work better and perhaps apply it to my own. The list of artist is to long to state here, but you may be surprised at who they are, so ask me sometime, I’m glad to share and promote them. Myself having mostly experimented and having very little formal training, found this to be a revelation of process’s.

Here is one of the early results of a more tonal concept & approach. A variety of blue and white paints, a multitude of painting tools, a complimentary color toned canvas and the inspiration that the sea & sky provided, along with the words of one of my favorite American thinkers.

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

As always, feel free to ask question or comment,

~Richard R. Sperry

Blue Haze' 24"x24" oil on canvas

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Art, Nature & Soul #23

Standing on a beach looking out over the vast sky and sea, stirs the imagination. In fact all bodies of water do that for me, ocean, lake, river & pond alike. Like a map they mostly converge and are connected in some way across the globe. Having grown up in a near suburb of Chicago, the Great Lakes were a fascination and later the Atlantic ocean. They, the water, bring me a great serenity & peace, but also a sense of the turbulence & reckoning of lifes possibilitites. I still spend as much time as possible near the water and at the beach. I live along the Fox River in Illinois.

Memories of my own childhood were sparked when I saw this photo of a friends child at the beach, shovel and bucket in hand. What can I create today? A question posed then setting forth to create castles in the sand. Lost in the moment, you sort of disappear, nothing else exists and all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and thoughts subconsiously moving you along as the sun energizes your every action.

The majority of my non-abstract & current artwork feature scenes of large bodies of water. The vast and seemingly ubiqutous nature of looking out over the the sea, and the ever growing sense of complete isolation, yet connection to all life, is overwhelming as conveyed. Using all my emotion, skill, and tools, I’m setting forth, on canvas, to create a non-static relief, making you, the viewer, a part of the scene. My palette in place and using acrylic & oil paint, brushes, palette knives, & sculpting tools, I go at it, always trying to convey a sense of motion and depth, until I’m satisfied with the emotional content, as well. So please, let me take you to the beach.

As always, feel free to comment and ask questions, commissions available,

~Richard

'Boy at the Beach', 30"x20" oil on canvas (SOLD)

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Art, Nature & Soul #22

Sometimes people ask me, "What do you think about when you're painting?" It's asked more of my abstract works. So, here goes...I've had a lifelong obsession with certain ideas and thoughts. Thoughts that over the years I've come upon some terms, that best describe them, fractals, chaos & universality.

Fractals, the idea that patterns echo on and on in the smallest thing, such as a quark, rippling out into the largest,say as in the ubiquitous universe, and back again. Using the highest power microscope and the highest power telescope, the same patterns would exist. Chaos, is that random thing that on the rarest of occasions, will change that pattern. Universality is that, applied to human existence, as we are all part of the same cosmos, energy, & stardust.

Symbols & symbolism also plays a huge role in my artworks. One, you will certainly find, is a mobius strip, the beginning is the end and the end the beginning...I usually put one of these figure-8 type symbols, representing infinity, either drawn, painted or scratched into my more abstract works.

These current works are a mixed-media extravaganza, biginning with acrylic paint splashed and dripped, on to oil and galazes, then oil pastel, ebony pencil, charcoal, silver leaf and 18k gold leaf. With each layer my thoughts evolve and grow symbioticaly, yet simple repeat the same thing…connections.

Available for your consideration & as always feel free to comment ~Richard

'Algorithms' 36"x18" mixed-media on canvas

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Art, Nature & Soul #21

The Sandhill Crane~ Theses incredible birds, began visiting us early spring 2013 and have come every season thereafter. As it turns out, the pond behind our home is perfect for raising a couple of fledglings. Every spring they come, nest and we wait to see if they have one or two chicks. The parents begin to raise them, take them out of the pond, training and showing them , how to survive. The adults are so familar with us, they allow us and our current pups to walk within feet of them. Throughout the season, we watch and photograph these wonderful birds as they go through their annual cycle. Interestingly, their plumage changes with the seasons to give them cover from predators. The dusty blue/gray feathers, against the burnt orange coloring is my favorte. As fall arrives the colors turn more mud gray to blend in , they begin the lift off dance and flight training for the long migration south begins. A favorite of my observation times to behold them. They stay longer than I think they will and sometimes I’ve captured some great photos of them on the pond in a snow fall. They stick around, until almost Christmas every year and are gone about three months before returning for another season. I always wish them happy trails and with a little hope, anticipate their return in spring.

On a somewhat mystical note, if not only a, there are no concidences type thinking. I had raised a family of 4 Shiba Inus, a father, mother, daughter and son. The first, the father was Kai-Guy, the ambassador. The male pup, Kodi, was adopted by a family, we dog sit him, about twice a year throughout his life and he returned to us toward the end of his life. They lived nice long lives and in 2012 the last two passed on, Snowy, the daughter at 15.5 years and then the mom, Sunny just before her 17th year, that November. People who know me, know my feelings on life, the universe and how everything is connected in ways and for reasons we do not always see, know or understand. With that said, the Sandhill Cranes arrived early the next spring. I’ve come to see them as incarnations of our family of pups. It may seem odd to many, but it has been a beautiful way for me to cope with their losses. Life is for the greater %, how we choose to see it & what we make of it.

The painting style and techniques in this painting are a fusion of decades of experimenting and learning, come together on canvas. I usually begin with a three color splash and drip, tonal wash, to find the rhythm of the piece. Then a liberal amount of Titanium White is swirled upon the canvas before I begin adding design elements of color, shape, texture, line, balance & harmony. Typically, I think about the fractal nature of the physical world, patterns within patterns, within patterns, broke up by random chaos. My color palette has been fairly consistant and refined over more than a quarter century. I use brushes, palette knives, scratching tools and kleenex to move the paint around until I’m satisfied with the results, it’s then completed with a scratched in, signature.

'At the Pond', 24"x20" oil on canvas (2017) private collection

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Art, Nature & Soul #20

Portrait & figurative artwork, has always appealed to me. Striving to understand both the physical, and the emotional aspects of the human form and expressing them into an artistic translation, has been an aspiration of mine. As a very shy, reserved and introverted child, I often had a camera or drawing utensil with me in, in which to observe and capture the physical psyche of a person, in an effort to understand mine and everyone elses.

From a photo snapshots, bic pen doodles & caricatures, to pen & ink cross contours, ebony pencil drawings & soft pastel portraits in high school, my interest in the human form increased. With that and my drive to understand myself and the people around me, sent me realling in all directions of artistic expression and then finally acrylic and oil painting. I experimented & explored the various genres & applications, all continuing to create and expand my base of learning, as untrained artist with alittle formal education in the arena. Art has always served as my escape, my cahtarsis and therapy.

Fusing the physical and emotional aspects of a person, in a figure or portrait can be quite a donting challenge and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. To capture the spirit of the soul of a person, not only their appearance or expression, Is quite a thrill when it happens. While I priamarily do abstract and minamalistic, transitional scapes these days, occassionally I do a portrait or figurative piece and sometimes I receive a commission, such was the case with this piece.

‘SCOTT” 16”x20” oil on linen SOLD Commission Work

As always feel free to comment, and know I take commissions and ship.

~Richard

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Art, Nature & Soul #19

Often times, people ask me, “What do you think about when you’re painting” & “What’s your inspiration?” The truth is, everything. I’m a highly sensitive and emotional person, so I tend to interalize the whole of my experiences and hopefully constructively express them, mostly as the vehicle, in the form, of my artworks. These questions are asked even more in the context of my abstract works.

Having spent years refining my drip, splatter & splash techniques, this piece emerged. What I was thinking about and it’s inspiration, was quite simple th canopy of a maple tree in fall, under a misroscope. When the blast of sunlight on it is so strong, that at a certain time, in changing colors, it glows like Hawaiian Punch against the intense array of shadowy color. Imagine a close up of the leaves and there you have it.

When I finished it, I felt it was a strong piece and posted it on Facebook. Soon after, one of my FB friends commmented,

“Just set this as my iPhone screen ;)” -ERIC P.

(about 4 years later, he added the original piece to his collection.)

Thank you collectors. I’m so grateful for people who see outside the box and trust in it.

As always, feel free to comment.

~Richard

‘Windows 1’ 24”x24” acrylic on canvas (2012)

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Art, Nature & Soul #18

A wise man, Henry David Thoreau, once said, “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify”. Sometimes, mostly, less is more. I found that to be true in the creation of this artwork.

A subtle graduation of color and tone, the water becomes sky. Paint the boat unto the sky and reflect it into the water, put a person on the boat, & paint a red flag. Add alittle drip & splatter magic and presto, a boat in a vast seascape becomes a statement of individuality, longing and transcendance.

Everything we do is a self-portrait and autobiographical. When we choose to create, in the arts, it becomes ever more true. Whether by novel, poem, music, dance, photo, film, sculpture or a painting, what’s conveyed is a piece of our inner selves.

This poem I wrote and published many years ago. It expresses my feelings on the arts & the self expressed, perhap’s lost.

All Not Lost 

Death unknown, be weary to all, no more painting

Painted, colorless palette on ubiquitous void,

Of enigmatic space, oblique, unessential too

The ballad, song, sung out of key, un-enunciated AUM,

Two stepping tango out of step, no rhythm vibrancy

Choreographed in dance, on film, reel spins round

Cut lights, edit camera, action chop, Stop

Punctuation, splice comma, grammatical error

Novel that it be, illiterate poetics, free, strumming

Pick a prophetic chord, an instrument

Without tune, tuned piano reason, string plucking

Finger, nails, ripping, the quintessential

Thing, destroyed in political fire bomb, tearing

A flood, drowning…dro---owning puppet, be proud

Black and white photo, emersed, endlessly foreboding

Master, oils of color, last breath, an operatic note,

Stuggling ballet crescendos, a water muse on film

Based on a novel, poetic lyrics, flute concerto, all lost

Forgotten, all is art, I have created worlds, not defined,

Elite in being, suffered oneness of mind, universe..God. 

~Richard R Sperry

(At Waters Edge - copyright 1995)

Deep Ocean Sea, 14x11, Acrylic on Canvas, Sold in Private Collection (2012)

As always, your comments are welcome.

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Art, Nature & Soul #17

What is ART? More importantly who decides. Are the answers based on academics or emotive ones, is it because it's realistic or non-objective, does the fact that a painting was done in oil rather than acrylic have any weight, or perhaps it's the fact  that it was painted 'en plein air', instead of in a studio, gains us some insight.

Whether, it's highbrow/middlebrow/lowbrow, who cares. Van Gogh, Monet, Vermeer and El Greco are several visual artists, who had gone, rejected or un-recognised in their own lifetimes, someteimes both. So many others were discovered and advocated for, by persons of influence and decisiveness, within their lives, such is the case with Jackson Pollock. Personally, I know of at least three instances of persons being summoned to the court of high success. What they all had in common was the abitlity to put themselves out there, at all costs, until they gained an audience with that person or persons of influence, sometimes by happy accident. Once this happens, your in, it's art, for many this happens posthumously,  their efforts go un-recognised until some future date and sometimes never.

 What can be known for sure, is that being an artist of any sort is an uphill battle all the way. It takes an unbridled passion, discipline and fortitude.  As for me, my 'pallete' is extremely large and varied, when it comes to 'what is art'. It's an endeavor, often thoughtful, historical and relevant, to its time and speaks to the context of the creator.  It's what inspired a person to create something of a non-utilitarian purpose. A person who is merely struggling to grow as a human, as artist and make their statement about life and the world around them, as they experience it, see it.  The history of art, what it is, and who decides, is as long and complicated as the story of human history itself.  Whether you started creating at age, 1 or 101,  create in crayons, oil or other materials; are the most apt realist or most compelling minalmalist abstract artist, who decides if it's art are the people who purchase your artwork, show it, collect it, now, or in 25, 50 or 100 plus years, later.

While you may 'like' or 'not-like' it, if it's in a museum the broader concensus, is that it's art. But, that's another subject. fore it ,speaks to your personel sense of aesthetics. That said, most people,  seem to rely on the leaders, for their decision making, as to whats good, what's art, and fall in line with such. So when those persons of influence, that gallery that took a risk, the art fair that juried you in, that exhibit you were allowed to participate in, that magazine that wrote an article, those individual family members, friends and persons from around the globe, decide to purchase and acquire a piece of your work, declaring it to be art. Thank them, for in the final analysis, what art is, is in fact in the eye of the beholder, so it's most important to be grateful to those who behold yours, declaring it 'ART'.

Thanks everyone; family, friends, patrons, collectors, sponsors and benifactors, for your continued support and as always feel free to comment. ~Richard

'Eye of the Beholder' 36"x36" acrylic on canvas (yr.20  ) in private collection

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Art, Nature & Soul #16

I love a road trip, heading down the highway, an adventure to destinations unknown. Growing up, I remember my family driving all over the country on various trips. Mostly camping, or visiting family, although sometimes they would be to explore historical sites. As I grew older, hopping on the train, or taking off in my car seemed second nature. To this day I still get that adrenaline rush of anticipation as I turn up the music, have the camera ready and hit the road.  Life is about the journey, not the destination.

During this time frame I was taking representational subjects and breaking them down unto their abstract forms. Dripping and splattering the paint attempting  to control the chaos. Besides having a vivid color palette, which colors I applied first became crucial to the dynamic dimensional aspects conveyed. Putting the sky in last, allowed the blue to drip across the entire landscape creating layers of depth.

These artworks seemed to have a theraputic value, a cathartic aspect to them, plus they were so fun to do. As always feel free to comment.

'Meditations 8, the road trip, 22"x10" acrylic on linen, (yr. 2011) in private collection    

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Art, Nature & Soul #15

Intuitive and stream of conscious, so were the the artworks done in this time frame. Sunrise and sunset, the day begins and ends,  many of my color sketches, studies and completed works, involve these times of day, as it's when I'm out there, usually walking, inspired.

During this time I was writing and editing a novel, 'Libertalia, Seize the Day for Remember We All Must Die' under the pen name DrahCir. It is a steampunk pirate fiction with historical elements. A fun romp through time & space, drawing on my life and long list of literary influences.

Keeping it direct, raw,  & spontaneous, with all the things in my thoughts influencing the outcome, I set out this morning, with acrylic paints, linen canvas, palette knives,  and brushes to paint a piece for a digital colorplate illustration for the novel (1of24 included). The sun peeking out the sky, the ocean, and a tallship in silhouette. Look carefully and you can add your story to the scene.

'Dusk' (Black Sails) 16"x10" acrylic on linen. (yr. 2011)

It became p'178 for the novel, thus acquired and in a private collection.

  

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Art, Nature & Soul #14

I have raised a variety of critters most of my life. As a child we had dogs, birds, fish & turtles, as an adult cats, dogs, birds, fish, tortoises and even hermit crabs have been companion critters. I've always felt it was important for children to raise a pet of some sort, to teach them a healthy respect for, and understanding of, other animal life. If you haven't raised a critter or two you probably did not know they also have an emotional life.

At one point we raised a family of Shiba Inus. A father, mother, daughter, & son, this is a  mother/daughter piece I painted the year they both passed being the last surviving members of that pack. Sunny nearly 17(on right) and Snowy 15 1/2(on left) had a tamaltuous and sometimes competitive relationship, most of their lives. In their final years, while always protective, they became very nurturing,  tender and loving  of each other. There were a great many moments caught on camera & film and this one in paint of one of thoose fleeting moments of endearment.

Me, not generally being of a realistic or literal visual interpretive nature, but more of an emotive one, went to work painting them.  I tend to like a more alla prima, direct, & intuitive approach, to capture and transmit my emotional visual energies to canvas, in an attempt to avoid a contrived, overthought or static relief. With a combination of oil paint, brush, and palette knife, I intended to carve a matter-of-fact rendition of the two that captures both their likeness's, as well as the emotions of this tender moment shared by them, mother and daughter and was most happy with the results.  

As always feel free to coment.

'Still Moments' 20"x16" oil on canvas (2012, NFS)    

  

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Art, Nature & Soul #13

Trying to engage a broader, more universal, world wide audience and have them relate to or see themselves, as participant, in my artwork has been a goal for a great many years. Whether an abstract, landscape, or figurative work, I've worked toward a person having an emotional response to the colors, textures, patterns, composition and design of a given painting. 

In the more figurative works done at this time, I eliminated any standard visual impact that could be used to judge, criticize or discriminate and gave the persons an equal basis regardless of economic status, sex, age, raceethnicitynationalitydisability, mental illness or abilitysexual orientationgendergender identity/expression/dysphoriasex characteristicsreligiouscreed, or individual political opinions in which to express themselves, their being, their love.

This smaller work, done utilizing a drip,  splatter, splash technique I had developed over a great many years.  Shifting from my abstract work into a more figurative piece, carving with palette knife, then using sculpting tools to create edges, add line, and so, the figures emerge embracing, with a  passionate kiss, untouched by human evaluations, identified on their own terms.

'Another Kiss' 12"x12" acrylic on canvas (2012) available 

    

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Art, Nature & Soul #12

Inspiration comes in many forms and from many avenues. I grew up in a little one bedroom yellow house, until age 7, in a nearby suburb of Chicago. The house was set back further from the road, as compared to others in the neighborhood. Me, my mother, father, sisters, & on occassion, extended family members lived there,  when they needed a place to stay temporarily.  

Memories flood back from days gone by. An early memory being  one of the great mystery of snow. Around age 5, I had scooped up some snow and saved it in a metal & lidded minnow bucket, to save for the spring, only to find when spring had come, the snow had melted. I suppose we all have these kind of experiences, but for me, it became a realization of a few things. One being, the awe of beauty, another of the inevitability of loss and still another of emmense possibilites of learning.

This piece was painted in 2011, at the plateau in my drip & splatter fusions of abtract and representational subject matters. I'm using acrylic and interference paints here. Swirling loaded brushes of color on a substrate, allowing them to drip, then  splattering them with h2o to encourage the process, followed by carving and directing the flow with a palette knife to create the subject and story, the painting is then completed with more splattering.   

Van Gogh & Gauguin have there yellow house experience and I had mine, a duality and juxtaposition of turbulence and joy.

'Yellow House' 19.5"x15.5" acrylic on board 

Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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Art, Nature & Soul #11

Melancholia & Bliss, are the dual nature of emotion and being. We cannot as humans have one without the other. To have great sadness in our lives is to have had great joys,  to express some of those deep emotions are something I strive to convey in my work. 

I've been drip, splash & splattering for as long as I can remember. It is not merely an aesthetic or decorative expression for me, though, but more so, an emotive one. The drips of paint, a symbol of blood, of sweat, of tears, like a rainy day, in color, the duality of loss & gain, the persistence of memory, how we see it or what we make of it.

Most of my artworks of this nature and approach have been of a more abstract nature, although over the years I have begun to fuse the representational aspects of my surroundings and life into the process and images. This piece was created just after what seemed an epoch of my life, a turning point. Who I was, how I saw myself and defined myself had once again undergone some dramatic and severe changes. 

We were on vacation, along the Atlantic seaboard, it was the first one in a very long time. I mixed the abstract, the representatinal, the drips, splatters and splashes together, layered on canvas to convey my deep feelings of loss & isolation, of hope & love. Memories fade, but are conveyed and sounds, smells, & visuals are strong triggers to bring us back and humble us our being.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment or contact me for more information.  

'Silhouette on the Beach', 20x10, Acrylic on Canvas

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Art, Nature & Soul #10

Cross that bridge when you get to it. About 25 years ago, I took a train trip across the  U.S. southwest, stopping at the various places along the way. We were able to schedule as many off's and on, stays as we liked. Amtrack has a route, the 'Southwest Chief', if you want to see America, its the only way to travel. Sleeper cars, lounge & dining car, plus a dome car in which to see the whole panoramic view.  We took an enormous amount of photos and video, great references for paintings and memories too.

San Francisco was one of our highlights on the epic trip, working in acrylic I tried to capture both the complexities of life there and the bridge that stands as a beacon of hope and safety for many. It's not all 'Sunshine, Lollypops & Rainbows', all the time, but it is a place where no matter what your thoughts on life are, you will find acceptance and kindred spirits.

Using a drip and splatter method of layering paint glazes and giving some line with palette knife the bridge emerges from the dark, an overcast seaside landscape to reveal safe passage, for all that seek it.

As always your questions and comments are welcome.   

"Gateway to Freedom' 24"x20" acrylic  

        

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Art, Nature, & Soul #9

During the late 80s, there were several controversial art exhibits, one of art photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's (then recently deceased) work, still another artist, had painted Chicago Mayor Harold Washington in drag, and yet another, where the american flag, spread upon the floor in which the viewers were asked to walk upon it and sign the guest book. It was the tail end of the decade in which HIV/Aids, made its self known here in the U.S. and questions of sexuality, gender identity and freedom were again called into question.

Throughout most of the 80s, I too, was struggling with some these questions for myself and as an aspiring artist was striving to communicate my ideas and thoughts on them. As more of an outsider artist, I was constantly experimenting with the mediums available, figurative works appealed to me, expressing the human condition was important, DALI (also recently deceased) was hugely popular and the more surreal the art, all the better for me. More so, then and recently, I had just become familiar with Ed Paschke's, more social and political artworks, as well. Hence, most of the work I produced back then, had these things in mind and does just that, tries to self express, answer questons.

One piece I created back in the day, is entirely too avant garde, risque and racey for general consumption, lending itself to a more private viewing. However, this piece inspired by my personal struggles, plus Rodin & Klimt's take on what it means to love, artworks entitled 'The Kiss', is archived, and survives still in my personal collection as a homage to those turbulent days and my finding resolve.

As always, your thoughts, questions and comments are welcome.

The Kiss, (yr. 1990), 24x36, Oil on Canvas, Richard Sperry

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