Oct

10

i almost called this one “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be”, but think i may have used that phrase in another post– and “never say never” might also apply. first, a bit of background– i first began working in two dimensional art in the early 80s– i was a school janitor at the time, working the 3:30-11:30 shift. during the day i would work on my sculptures. but coming home i found i couldn’t just crash, and watching old movies on a fuzzy B&W set was ok, but i wanted to do something with my hands. innocently enough i began playing around with pen and ink– not your precise art pens, which make perfect dots (as there is something about perfect dots in general and polka dots specifically that annoys the hell out of me), but rather a dip nib pen that made random sortuv dots. i did a couple of cards for friends and was just messing around, looking for something more interesting to draw, when i came across a photo in a national geographic that piqued my interest.

legrower woman 1983

berber bride 1984


and so “legrower woman” was born. the paper i used wasn’t the best, and the pen nib really “picked” the surface, resulting in it not being flat, and in the end, to get it framed, i had to have it drymounted. end of THAT kind of paper for me.
by the time i made “berber bride (also a nat’l geo photo) i was using good thick watercolor paper and getting quality results– i have always been a great fan of georges seurat, and i used a pointillist approach to making my images. but it was primitive, i gridded the paper to make my “sketching” easier (if you look carefully you can still see the gridding in this piece– i erased the lines, but my dots avoided the lines) and tried to avoid having to deal with my shortcomings as a 2-D “artist”.
well, time as they say “moved on”– i began using my own photos and sketches to create my images, and learned a laborious manner of actually “sketching”– it takes eons, as i am not your best sketch artist (however, for the most part all those people i knew way back when with great aptitude for it don’t do it any more– i don’t blame them, as it didn’t mean enough to them to cause them to pursue the life of an artist. johnny cash might sing “don’t take your guns to town, boy”, but i say “beware becoming an artist, be careful for what you wish”)– i am good enough to get myself to where i can do something with it. but i made a slight error– i said i’d NEVER go back to working with other peoples’ images again. a mistake.
i did pen and inkers for many a year, and got pretty proficient at the style, more and more complex mixtures of colors to create things.

porch view 1993


here is a view from my porch up in wildridge colorado. i continued working in this way til well after i moved down here to cozumel, and i am intensely disappointed i didn’t shoot more photos of all those wonderful pieces i created. the world of analog photography made it difficult for me– i felt i had to set up a “stage” and try to shoot great pictures– you must forgive the ones i include here, they come from old slides that have colour shifted a little.
that’s your history lesson– since i arrived here i have moved into working with acrylics– 2002? 2003? not certain. my work is still pointillistic, but much evolved and in some ways hard to recognise as such– sometimes only i can see it i think. ok, and on with the show.
a friend of mine was travelling with her hubby in thailand, and sometimes put her images up on FB– she has a fair eye for composition and imagery, and i liked checking her stuff out. one of them was of a small boat, and i was struck by the perfect “moment” it portrayed, and i remember remarking to her “this could be a painting!!”. i stuck it away in my files, not thinking i might use it, but liking the occasional gander i took at it. and after quite some time i decided to try my hand at producing what i saw in the image– not necessarily the image itself, but a sense of something to portray, that “moment” i wrote about.

sketch

as always, my sketching abilities were put to the test, but i persevered and managed to get what i needed, primitive as it may have been. i got interrupted by a vast amount of diving for a while, but kept returning to it til i sorta lost myself, and left it fallow for quite some time.

in progress 2


it didn’t stop me from looking at it and trying to fathom where it needed to go– nosirree!!– it GLARED at me whenever i passed by. finally though, i had an extended time to sink back into it and things really started to happen with the piece.
i began to remember the tonal progressions i had wanted to use, and after some time i got obsessed with my work on it, to the point of waking up in the middle of the night with my hand poised in the air, executing brushstroke after brushstroke– like THAT!! and THAT!! twist the brush SO– like THAT!! and THAT!! must admit, i didn’t get much sleep a couple of nights there– the somnambulist painter, at your service!!
the painting began to take formidable shape and things got a lot pickier– i had to force myself a times to relax and let it flow, feel no fear, feel nothing but that ENERGY that hit me and follow it all the way through.

in progress 2


another tidal wave of diving ensued, and i thought i might again lose the thread, but somehow i stayed with it, attached by some ethereal umbilical cord (but don’t ask me which side of it i was fixed to!!), and when once more i had time i pushed everything i had into it, living with the piece day and night. obsession is mostly a negative trait, but for an artist i think it is pretty basic foundation stuff– a building block of what makes you what you are.

meditation 2018

well, i shan’t tease you any longer or delay showing you the piece– this blog has gone on long enough already!! most of my work is rather more “dynamic” than “crystalline”– that is, i try to give it some movement, even if it is only the viewer’s eyes that roam– but this has turned into more of a still life than anything else i can think of– “meditation” is what it is called, but “the moment” might be just as apt.

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6 Responses

  1. I’m so glad my photo was inspirational. It’s an honour to be a sort of “muse”. The painting looks wonderful.

  2. Wow love it. Just sitting at the Toronto airport waiting for my flight back to BC
    Will get home very late and tired.Loved your blog
    And learning some new Rance tidbits. Xo

  3. Thanks for sharing the beginning of your painting style. Love the history and the results of your latest boat painting.
    Can’t wait to see what evolves next.

  4. The eye of the artist has not in any way been compromised! Wonderful work, Rancer….and loved reading about your journey.

  5. Dianne McCaugheyOctober 14, 2018 @ 7:15 am

    I thought this was finished before. However now the colors are brilliant. I love this painting. You are amazing.

  6. I loved seeing your work in process – you are so talented Rance!



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