We Are Not Alone

Before Moonrise This Mountain Spoke… 2015

Before The Moonrise This Mountain Spoke, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Deep inside a Spirit sang, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

If mountains could only speak, think of what they have seen and heard. Think of where they have been and where they are going. The Ying and Yang of explosion and erosion. But the truth is mountains do have voices and they are always speaking.

Listening To Each Other’s Creation Stories… 2015

Listening To Each Other's Creation Stories, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Over and over they retold and retold, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

So many creation stories claim that the talker’s story is the center of the universe. Here it all began. Can every tribes’ sacred grounds be the center of creation? Or is the value of the story that it shares a beginning point for an understanding of who, what, where, why and how?

Who Will Eat The Last Wild Fish?… 2015

Who Will Eat The Last Wild Fish?, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

It was always obvious this day could come, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

One time when Anders was a young boy he went fishing off of Pt. Loma in San Diego harbor with his dad in their hand made skiff. His father, once a tuna boat and sportsfishing skipper, could not catch a fish while Anders reeled in mackerel after oily mackerel. Anders looked at his father and realized there could come a time when man had caught all the wild fish. Ah, a small boy’s imagination.

Food Chain Impositions… 2015

Food Chain Impositions, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Consequences will come from seeing the big picture, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

The food pyramid is a wonderful graphic, so solid with its wide base feeding other species until one reaches the top of the food chain, the human primate. As a child Anders thought the human primate was in a precarious position. There is never much room at the top.

No Room For Converts… 2015

No Room for Converts, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Long ago it was getting crowded, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

In Anders’ lifetime, mere decades, the human primate population has grown by a factor of 2.6x. It was crowded when he was born, and now? Fossil fuels, cheap accessible energy, became an enabler: from burning the dead came opportunity for the human primate population to mushroom. The question now is what is cheap and how many human primates are needed for the human primates to survive? And, is it possible the human primate could be buried under its own needs and some day become an energy source for future beings?

Inferred Relationships… 2015

Inferred Relationships, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Friends come and friends go, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics

And there they were, hiding and sharing when the moment seemed right. Where did one become another and what would be the succession parade ages from now? How close are we? How far apart are we? All of this under, and in, the thinnest of atmospheres. Some how this question seem to be moot points in the bigger picture which really isn’t that big.

Nether Space for Play Rights… 2015

Nether Space for Play Rights, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

We are all related to one another, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Together they consume resources and generate waste. All of them, from the strongest to the weakest, from the most complex to simplest, from the smartest to the least evolved consume resources and generate waste… no exceptions.

Protecting Possessions… 2015

Protecting Possessions, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Some say it is a lost cause, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Are we are what we possess or are our possessions what we are? Arrrgggh! Human primate pirates on the high seas raiding resources where they may be or transported. The human primate, the upper echelon of the upper primates, like all primates, can kill other primates. This is the primate nature. To the victor goes the spoils and ultimately the victor becomes the spoils. This is primate nature.

The Unforgiven Unite… 2015

The Unforgotten Unite, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonit

Circus comes and circus goes, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

How many of the flora and fauna abstract? Is this the age of fossil fuels, nuclear energy, transistors, communications, medicine, electricity or all of the above? What will the future think of human primates’ consumption of natural resources? Will the meek inherit the earth?
Does the earth care? Again with the abstraction.

Shunned? Got Onions? Make Onion Juice!… 2015

omlinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/shunned-got-onions-make-onion-juice600.jpg" alt="Shunned?  Got Onions? Make Onion Juice? painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

There is always another side if not more, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite[

Human primates are nothing less than adaptable. But is there an edge too far or a push too hard? Is there a point of no return? More is more and less is less. More mores means more lesses and at what point does it equal zero? Math is math. Consequences breed consequences.

Who Is Listening to Whom?… 2015

Who is Listening to Whom?, painting by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

Look both ways before crossing a conversation, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics/masonite

What was there before our universe’s big bang? Was our big bang an event in another universe within another universe and on and on? Will our universe hold a big bang for another universe yet to be? Could big bangs, of all sizes, be occurring all the time? It could depend on where one is standing and to whom they are talking. And this brings us to the brain. Think about this like human primates are capable of thinking.

We Are Not Alone was an interesting series for Anders to paint. It engaged him throughout 2015, at every turn, and in the end these eleven paintings were completed.

©2016 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Anders Studio

anders tomlinson, paint studio , san diego ca

Anders has always had a studio space in the same way that people dedicate
a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room. The only difference is that
Anders places a studio space above any other room. He can eat in his
studio, he can sleep in his studio, he can live in his studio, he can project
in his studio, he can… But more than that he can create in his studio
space. Here all his colorful spirit journeys begin.

Work Bench

anders tomlinson paint studio, work bench, san diego, ca.

This is the place Anders finds himself in thought and action

Few people, over decades, have been in his studios which are places
of private mediation and internal conversations. The irony, if one
believes in irony, is that Anders is always aware of the viewer.
To that point Anders spends a great deal of time looking at the works
in progress. He realizes that art is a two way street. Though visitors
are few and far between Anders has never been alone in his studio.

North Wall

anders tomlinson paint studio, north wall, san diego, ca.

Paintings on masonite, canvas and paper rest here in peace.

Over the decades works have accumulated into groups, These groupings
speak of other places, people, events, desires and accomplishments.

West Wall

anders tomlinson paint studio, west wall, san diego, ca.

These are paintings currently in progress.

At any given time Anders has at least 50 pieces in progress. If one
includes his acrylics on watercolor paper the potential jumps into
the hundreds. There are several themes at work in his paintings:
we are not alone, we are all related, chance is god-like, homo sapiens
are a stage not an end, sorrow is universal, we cannot see everything
we hear, does everything need an answer?
All are expressed one
gesture at a time, one decision after another.

South Wall

anders tomlinson paint studio, south wall, san diego, ca.

Here is where most of the painting takes place.

There is always music in the studio. There are moments when a song is
playing on the radio as it was three decades ago. And it is all the same.
Anders feels the same, the same voice is in his head, his intentions
and desires are the same: that his last effort be his best effort.

anders tomlinson, paint studio , san diego ca

When Anders works on masonite or canvas it is imperative that the
surface is primed, especially smooth masonite.

Surface Preparation

anders tomlinson paint studio, primimg day, san diego, ca.

Each of these are a new beginning, a new dream, a new reality.

Priming days are celebrated in the studio. More is more. More is more
experience, more mistakes – this should read “mistakes”as in “there
are no mistakes” – more opportunities, more discoveries, more insights,
more and more… From a technical point one of Anders’ goals is to
create works that will have a long half-life. To do this the paint
must stick to the surface hence the need for strong bonding primers
applied in multiple cross-coats to create desired working surfaces.

First Sessions

anders tomlinson paint studio, examples of the first session, san diego, ca.

Here are examples of the first sessions, pre-signature, after priming day.

Photos days are another cause for celebration. All of Anders’ work is
photographed after a sealing session – there are usually three to four
sealing sessions per painting. Anders looks at each painting as an
animated short that offers the twists and turns each piece goes through.
The next time the paintings above have a sealing session they will
be signed, signed but not done. The signature indicates Anders has
settled on an orientation: vertical, horizontal, top and bottom.

anders tomlinson, paint studio , san diego ca

Part of Anders’ creative process is to identify what needs to be saved –
meaning no longer to be worked on, and which areas could benefit with
change. Sealing days insure that this is possible. Anders uses washes
on top of washes. These are vulnerable due to the amount of water that
is involved. Sealing days ensure, enrich and add a physical depth that
captures and reflects light.


anders tomlinson paint studio, working finish coat day, san diego, ca.

Protective layers seal fragile color and offer opportunities.

For the past 20 years Anders has used a semi-gloss for working seals
and, ultimately, finish coats. There comes a time that a work is taken
off the in-progress pile and stacked with other “completed pieces”.
The truth is if a work was going to shown in a public place, Anders
intends to lightly sand the finish coat, with 1000 grit sandpaper, and
take the opportunity to add or alter elements. When Anders dies the
stacks are protected where they are, signed and dated, and this website
has been chronicling his work as he did it. He is leaving a clear
path illustrating intentions, process and resulting images.
But this is another chapter to be shared later this year.


anders tomlinson paint studio, working finish coat day, san diego, ca.

It is a day where one stage leads to another stage.

Where does it all come from? A college art professor once told Anders
that Anders became Anders faster than if he had gone to art school.
Since the early 1970s Anders has read. enjoyed and studied art books.
These included modern art, primitive art, Asian, Latin, surrealists, art
history, how to, theory, design, architecture, calligraphy, landscapes,
abstracts, realism and… At any given time Anders has at least three
art books checked out from public libraries.

Series after Series

anders tomlinson paint studio, working finish coat day, san diego, ca.

Time is collected and piled together in stacks.

Painters of major influence have been Salvador Dali, Turner, Van Gogh,
Mark Tobey, Max Ernst, Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, Paul Klee,
Larry Rivers, Marc Chagall, Winslow Homer, Miró, Pablo Picasso, Matta,
René Magritte, Rufino Tamayo, Francis Bacon, Frank Lloyd Wright
and many more. Anders also learned from his friends and contemporaries
as well as current events and geologic history.


anders tomlinson paint studio, working finish coat day, san diego, ca.

Each finish coat adds another layer of depth and transparency.

Time passing is an integral part of Anders’ process. Some of these
boards have been in progress for thirty years. There is no need
to rush. When they no longer need to be in in the in progress
stacks they move to the storage stacks. There is a spirit that comes
out of this process, a timeless spirit. There are paintings that
challenge Anders, but there are no paintings that he hasn’t given up on.
He works until there is a moment when a spirit has emerged.


anders tomlinson paint studio, working finish coat day, san diego, ca.

Here is a place where freedom is both a place and way.

The first painting Anders sold was a board that he used to clean his
brushes on. This was the culminating event signifying graduation from
the school of 50,000 mistakes. This period had lasted frustrating five
years. Anders moved on to a 30 year apprenticeship that shared time
with painting, on average 100 works a year, photography, music, video,
and story telling. Today, 2015, Anders moves with the curiosity of
an explorer and the confident agility of a master. This is what he
does. Refining. Reflecting. Rationalizing. Realizing.
Anders is a direct descendant of cave painters and drummers.
But aren’t we all?


anders tomlinson, paint studio , san diego ca

Here realities take shape in the pull of questions and answers.

Anders prefers to paint standing up or low to the ground. Each day he
comes to the workbench there is only one issue on hand, where does
today begin? What board, canvas or watercolor to start with? What
colors to open or squeeze? Does he start with a brush, knife, or
sponge? This is life in the art studio. It is a good life.

©2016 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Inside the Process Looking Out

Ascension is one of 22 paintings in the Deep series, 31 x 30 inches, 2003 - 09, acrylics.

Anders has painted in relative seclusion for 40 years and few have seen his work in person. Artfeats celebrates his accumulated body of work, over 3,000 paintings. Also showcased here are Art Talk Talks Art films featuring Anders and other artists’ creative process. Creativity is a special place that all can enter, but few do.

Process is the major commitment of Anders’ life. There is always something to contemplate, envision, do and finish. He practices style and substance in disciplined solitude. He travels a road that comes from within, driven by a need he need not understand or justify. The paintings must speak for themselves. The question is, will they have opportunities to be heard?

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Cosmic Tour Guide

Anders is a cosmic tour guide creating marks for others to decipher. The many varied poetic readings of his paintings fascinate Anders. He is always in agreement with the observer’s conceptual ownership. He leaves images, and viewers give back dreams that tickle his funny bone. Why would he argue?

Anders enjoys the moment working on Scout, 40 x 30 inches.
photo-Cesar Espinozaa

At times viewers feel a need to approach his paintings and reach out as if their fingers will sense where “there” is. Artists appreciate Anders’ unique techniques and on several occasions have asked if they are seeing what they think they are seeing. He assumes they are, and nods yes. He accepts the world. It is what it is. Anders embraces the unknown. Not all questions need to be answered. In this spirit Anders paintings grow. Subject, composition, color and mood evolve through subconscious conversations embellished with experience gained over passing time. By analyzing photos of works in progress, the process is further enhanced, and Anders discovers the next course of action. This modus operandi allows each painting to become an animated film of its own creation. Anders is a direct descendent of the cave painter and drummer, a traveler on the third stone from the sun and a simple soul in a complex world, But aren’t we ali?

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

The Bigger Picture

To see beyond feeling and feel beyond seeing.
My goal is to paint images that haven’t been seen before. To accomplish this, my subconscious must be a partner in art. I paint everyday- it is not a big deal- It is part of my routine. What is important is that I waste no color and I finish every piece I start- if this takes 30 years so be it. Passing time allows the subconscious room to move without stepping on my ego. Process and continuity become more important than the image. Having many boards underway at the same time also reduces ego- the process of distributing color becomes more important than the marks. It is also common for me to spend thirty seconds on a board’s painting session and put it away for thirty days or five years- this reduces the opportunity for the conscious to take over.

Simple tools can be packed in a bag and ready to travel-paint anywhere.

Patterns, orbits, consequences, cellular development, migrations and linkage.
I paint transition, movement, mitigation, evolution, infinity, relationships and elements. common to my work is an appreciation for the gaseous goo all around. timeless goo. recirculating goo. I do not paint a leaf in the wind- I paint the particles moving in the wind that moves the leaf. I paint small things- cells. and large things-cosmos. In my work natural phenomena, genealogy, vibrations and subconscious streaming are one. An elderly asian woman came up to me one day as I was painting and she said, “I know what you are doing. you are painting under the water and the heavens above.” I smiled and answered ” and a little of Asia.” she quickly responded “Bali” and walked away like only an elderly woman can.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Methods and Meanings

What materials to you use?
I paint on masonite using acrylic paint, latex, plastic, and water-based enamels. I use brushes, rags, water, sand paper, gravity, pressure, sponges, tape, flecking, flicking, slinging, applying elements from other paintings, and sanding, blotting, wiping and blotting to remove paint during the creative process.

Most Anders art is painted on thick masonite boards.

What is your favorite color”?
The passing of 365 consecutive days.

What were your major influences?
Baseball uniform lettering, Ernie Kouvacs on a small black and white TV, Life Magazine, big movie screens and the concept that there need not be a difference between work and play.

What was the last art book that you read?
“Essential Surrealists.” The last movie I saw in a theater, 1989, was Terry Gilliam’s “Adventures of Baron Munchausen”. The last tv dinner I digested was Nova’s “Global Dimming.” My ear is tuned to Public Radio where ever I am.

These panels have traveled over years from studio to studio.

What is important in your art?
The journey. A journey recorded and expressed. Manipulation of time and matter- matter matters.

Why do you paint?
Why would I not paint. At times, I pour out a quart of color on a board and then press another board down sandwiching the paint in between and then another board and another board…. At times, I squeeze a drop or two of color out of a tube onto a coffee can lid and apply it to a painting, and I keep painting until there is no use able color left on the lid. I paint on a board started yesterday, or a board that was started twenty years ago. Every day there is a beginning. Painting is natural to me.

Lines gain strength with each pass of patient hand and loving brush.

Where do you paint?
My paint equipment travels in a small bag. I can paint anywhere that has water.

How do you paint?
With enthusiasm and purpose. I can be any of the elements and, at the same instant, a directing man. I work on at least ten paintings at a time. These sets share colors and thoughts. Having many paintings to work on allows me to use up all my color without overworking any of the paintings. The sets progress and join others creating a series sharing related elements, colors and concepts. I paint with water. Much of my painting time is spent allowing the boards to dry.

Painting sessions last on average a half hour at a time. In a day, I will paint at least four times. Starting when I wake up and ending when I go to sleep and whatever happens in between depending on the demands of the day. I paint by looking. I sit and understand. I see the next move. I grasp a bigger- better picture. I apply paint- I remove paint. I am entertained as I paint.

When did you realize that you were an artist?
What came first, the artist or the art? I was an artist as an artist when my art was art. Or my art is art when I am an artist as an artist.

What is the future of art?
The next moment.

2011… In the paint studio, works in progressed and finished during 2011.
2010… Anders paintings finished during 2010. A year in progress and detailed review.
Anders Paints… Insight into the Anders paint process and creative journey.
Galleries… Selected collections of Anders work by groups and series.
Lava Dogs & Dancers… Stars, along with their habitat, of the Elemental film.
About… Information on Anders and coming Art Talk Talks Art films.

Mesmerize!… Video clips from a film of Marc Gould working and thinking.
Elemental… Video clips of Anders working on Lava Dogs and Dancers
and opening night at their first public exhibition.
KBCH… Video clips from three KBCH RadioTV episodes, fun with human nature.
Caretaker… Video clips of Anders contemplating migrating populations and….
Dirt… Video clips of PigMan and friends wallowing in “big deal” reality.
Animate… Video clips of Anders evolving animations, one step closer to his dream.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson

Anders on Painting an Anders

What are some of the processes you use?
Using the laws of nature to create texture, and water to dilute and move pigment, removes my hand and head from the process. If I feel a need for movement or elements in an area I will make it happen using techniques that manifest themselves separate from my will. I become an observer. I am the audience, and I have the best seat in the house.

Detail from Rising Oceans, part of the Cosmic Migration.

What role does your sealing  coats play.
Freedom. The ability to go back layer by layer. There can be no mistakes. I can wipe the surface clean without harming the painting. At a certain point while painting I will have so much new color, usually washes, that any additional paint would not wipe away cleanly.  Now is the time to seal the surface in preparation for more layers. After the boards are dry, I seal on average ten paintings at one time, and before I sand the sealer so new paint will adhere to the surface- I take photos of the paintings- this preserves the layers, or laminations, as the painting grows. This gives me an animated sequence of a developing painting.

How important are your compositions?
Composition rules the day.  It is a conscious effort- especially as the balancing act becomes more complex, the painting becomes less of an image and more of a pathway, less of a photo and more of a short story. Here the subconscious again is given fresh air for invention. Composition allows musical grace notes to enter the work. Composition creates pathways, primary and secondary, and multiple directions.

Detail from Man Looking at this Horse Thing.

What about the surface?
It has always been my goal to offer viewers points of interest no matter where they look or how closely they approach the surface. My work is not thin- there is a sense of mass that transcends imagery- it is something because it has mass and detail and relationships to other elements in the painting. It is all about surface.

How about line?
This is where baseball uniform design had a profound influence. Outlining of shapes has always been part of my work. Line is conscious effort. but, as one works the line the line no longer is conscious effort, it is a meditation. A sense of meaning comes to the line and each line is now a character or element. I go back over lines and as I reinforce the lines they become more and they react to the compositional forces and the interplay of color separated by the lines.

Detail of Romancing from the Relationships series.

How about color?
My color is the product of washes. A camera person filming me was struck by how deep and rich my color is but how little paint I use in the applications. Color becomes elemental forces in my work. In the color there is drama and emotion. It is here that I can delve into the subconscious but end up with paintings that the viewer, those who are aware of the landscape I live in, associates with the land.  Washes avoid ego commitment-  I know my colors will evolve. If I put down red it doesn’t mean that that color will be perceived as red after twenty thin washes over its top- now it can become any color. The red never disappears but perception will determine how the viewer describes the color they are seeing. Nothing disappears with a wash- things become deeper, denser and related and talking without the image.

What is common in your work?
Everything is related because this is one long continuous process, each painting is part of a family that is part of a series that is part of a set. all paintings are important to me. I do paint for a viewer.  I am that viewer. I must be entertained. I must believe in the surface. I must feel. But I must paint, I must move on, I must explore. Working on a board, and realizing it is one of 3,000 boards allows the subconscious movement beyond the conscious ego.  I see a painting in its my primer coat, the compositional bones are there. I do not have to say i’m painting a landscape, still life, portrait or abstract. I only need to start applying paint. and I need to look. and I need to paint. I have faith the painting will be finished.  When it is finished or where it is finished doesn’t matter.

Detail of Fire Rocks from the Earth Spirits series.

Does the films you make influence your paintings?
I was editing My Face Was My Crime as I was finishing the Lava Dogs and Dancers.I was finishing Deep, Deeper, Chiloquin, Recycles and the Cosmic Migration as I worked on water related films.  The films influence my use of color. The films are my conscious at work. I believe my paintings are a subconscious reaction to what I am editing or shooting. It gives me another level to process the incoming barrage of data and emotion. it gives me an escape. on the other hand i do not separate my painting from the film world. they are all frames in an animated journey as my life passes through times and scenes. The Lava Dogs and Dancers are characters in the film Elemental. They will dance, cry, and think. They will have motion and voices. They are cartoon characters. There is always the chance if you don’t like my painting you may like the film that the paintings are used in. This is my life, I try to do as much as i can with as little as I can. It is all about light not the camera. It is all about story not the theater.
It is all about emotion not the effects.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved

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