abstract

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 #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 #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 #8

A decade or so ago, I was creating primarily in acrylics, using a drip, splash, splatter and palette knife approach, with subjects being both abstract and representational in an attempt to merge the two concepts into a unified idea.

I love walking and nature and spend lots of time outside doing so, observing it and trying to take it all in. I'm fascinated with the idea of fractals and overcome with the idea that those patterns echoe and ripple, no matter how large or small, on and on into infinity and back. They whisper to me, that all life regardless of its differences, is connected to each other in a symbiotic relationship. 

There are paths to choose, decisions to make, and no matter which ones you do, to most there is a way re-route, if only  you keep moving forward, being true to yourself. Some of us take a more direct route to get to a destination as quick as possible. Others of us prefer the more circuitous routes and  scenic by-ways. I've been more of the latter, wanting for the thing that eludes us most, the abilty to put our whole selves in the moment and breath it all in.

This piece is inpired by a forest preserve by my home and one of the paths I've walked over a great many years. What began with a blank canvas, was stretched over strainer bars, primed, then slowly color glazes were applied, again and again, until, with a palette knife the path was clear and subtle details were added to journey's end.   

'Sky's the Limit' 24"x30" acrylic on canvas~SOLD     

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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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