impressionism

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 #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 #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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