Below is an article for the Three Rivers Artists Guild Newsletter:
Richard came to June’s Art Jam with a portfolio full of inspiration. Unzipping his large case, he produced three large unfinished watercolors showing a serene pastoral view, a selection of brushes, and a full set of Neocolor II Aquarelle water soluble wax pastels. “I use these to finish the paintings,” he explained as he added pastel branches to the muted shades of his scenic shrubbery. “And watch now,” he added as he touched his branches with a bit of water, blending the purplish lines into a range of tones and leaf-like patterns. The painting began to take on form and detail, a scenic celebration of sky, shrubbery and reflective marshy waters.
“This is the scene from my apartment balcony,” he explained, “except that the water is actually the parking lot of the senior care center nearby. I just replace the parking lot with a lake, or with my friend’s view of the marsh in New Bedford. When I moved in, my dog just kept looking out the window at the scenery, until it hit me – this is what I’m supposed to be painting! I just love the view, especially the sky. When I lived in New York, I had to walk two blocks to the Hudson River to see it. For this series [of paintings], I start with the sky, which changes each day.”
Many great artists have found a muse in a particular scene or object. Monet’s many waterlilies in his garden at Giverny are classic Impressionist images. Paul Cezanne’s view of Mont Sainte-Victoire, seen from the window of his brother-in-law’s house, is another. Richard links this historic tradition to the downtown Clackamas area, adding a touch of poetic license by supplanting a sea of asphalt with his painted lakes.
This artistic twist inspired musician Craig Bidondo to choose Richard’s paintings for one of his own Art Jam improvisations. “It’s about finding beauty wherever you are,” Craig told the group as he held up the painting for the crowd to see. Richard appreciates the unique use of his painting, yet maintains a down-to-earth attitude. “I don’t want people to think I create in a closet or live in a parking lot,” he joked, providing a photo of his actual view along with the finished painting for comparison. But happily, his personal “garden at Giverny” is just a window away!