expressionism

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 #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 #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 #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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Art, Nature & Soul #7

One of my favorite authors/thinkers once quipped, that the problem with abstract art is that it doesn't have a horizon line. Kurt Vonnegut also said and I quote, "I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center."

As more of an outsider artist, which is to say, an artist with very little formal training and making their way through the conformitities of the day, I'm more experimental in approach. As a boy of 12, I remember wanting for that eureeka moment and thinking that true art must be created in a vacuum. I doodled and drew often, mostly the people around me. Da Vinci, Dali, Van Gogh, Carravagio, & Pollock, were and are my primary artists of interest, as a child and young adult. 

From caricatures to realism, to the more surreal and impressionism, and on to post-impressionism and expressionism, I've created in pencil, pen & ink, soft pastel, clay, oil, acrylic, and a multitude of various fusions of mediums, exploring the possibilities.  Always with the idea in mind that I too could fuse ideas together into a single approach.

With this idea in mind, over a decade ago I began to blend my representational and abstract ideas together. This piece is one of the results of the process of bringing these ideas together. It is done in acrylics in a drip and splatter approach that is layered in a multitude of glazes. It is, I believe, one of my successful works of abstract with a horizon line.

Please feel free to comment.

'The Edge' 60"x48" acrylic on canvas by Richard Sperry

  

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Art, Nature & Soul #6

From my earliest memories of drawing, my primary interests were of people. There are even ones in crayon, around my studio, that were done when I was 6 or 7 years of age. Throughout my childhood you could find me doing drawings of the people around me, mostly cartoon or caricature in style. Sometime in middle school my interests in Leonardo Da Vinci and a more realistic approach took hold as did my medium of choice being pencil. Later in high school, pen & ink cartoons, of all my classmates and teachers, then followed by some commissioned portrait works in soft pastel. While I found realism a struggle and favored the more stylized or caricature works, I had it my head to become a portrait painter and studied that for a time. In my 20s, I really wanted to study with a local rococo style portrait artist, but did not happen, then later took a Rembrandt style portrait class at the SAIC. Life is demanding, our priorities are often dictated to us, as such my openness to to impressionism, post impressionism and expressionism opened up a wide berth of creative outlets and opportunities for artistic growth.  I explored these arenas of art and found them more conducive to the particulars of my life. Over the past decade or so my primary subjects tend to be more landscape and abstract, either building up those basic design essentials or breaking them down into their essence. However, I still love people, doing realistic figurative work and sometimes I have the opportunity to do such. This was the case in this piece and became a merging of learning, mediums, subjects and ideas. Feel free to comment or ask questions. 

Thank you for your support. ~ Richard

'Dream Sequence #50' 24"x20" mixed media on canvas    

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