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.

Life in Lavaland

Back when Tomorrow wasn’t even a concept.

Every moment is multiple opportunities flashing by in all directions and all dimensions.
An observant mind is lucky to recognize one a day while some souls fail to embrace a single moment of modern times in their entire existence. No one said life was fair. We can not run, short of suicide or disabling addiction, from enveloping events. There is no where to go but inward. And inward is a trek higher than the highest mountain and deeper than the deepest sea. One can only imagine life at the water’s edge in Lavaland.

Lavaland changed with the seasons and each passing era.

In the biggest picture, not only species come and go, but so do lands . Continents rise and fall. Lakes appear and disappear. Lavaland was, and is, such a place. Here, Lava Dogs hunted and gathered. Here, Lava Dogs were their music and their own legends Here, Lava Dogs bred, raised little Lava Dogs, aged and died.

Blood, Scout and Yellow Chin were the first Dogs to lose their fears of shadows.

Habits are not habitats.

Lava Dogs moved with the ease of restless tectonic plates. They came with summer snow melts and left driven by low winter sun angles. Habitat in this brittle biosphere was where they camped. Carcasses were coins of the realm. Bones were bog cleaned and traded as jewelry along with strings of decorated dung.

Pre-historic Lava Dogs were light blind. They had elaborate fake eyes that would eventually evolve into functioning image capture cells. Their double faces, mood-shifting anatomical features, with multiple eyes and mouths, real and fake, protected them from unfocused intruders.

Destiny, Philosphy and Individualism were Dancers that made a difference.

As eras and histories passed by, Lava Dogs splintered into ten semi-distinct nomadic clans whose territories were separated by natural, and philosophic, barriers. Every decade, roughly two breeding cycles, Lava Dogs came together at the foot of Hotel Promontory. These conventions came to an end when efficient predators from the east began settling on the ridges overlooking Lavaland. The days of Lava Dog dominance were waning.

Storm clouds, like crazy seas, came and went with the winds.

Recently, hundreds of Lava Dog mummies, dating back 18,000 breeding cycles, were found in the Northern Wetlands. Scientists have theorized Lava Dogs began a survival migration to the north as Lavaland turned poisonous for all air breathing creatures. All available food became contaminated. Windstorms conquered adaptation. The Lava Dogs northward journey took 1,000 breeding cycles. They traveled during a relatively long period of favorable weather. Soon after Lava Dogs reached the wetlands the weather turned deadly cold. There was no place for the Lava Dogs to go. And that was it for Lava Dogs.

Fire was an element in Lavaland that all creatures respected or perished.

Lavaland is still here, the creatures have changed and humans have arrived. There are no stoplights in Lavaland. And here a critter is a critter is a critter…

To see more Lava Dogs pages visit

To see more Lava Dancers pages visit

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Lava Dogs and Dancers Press Conference

These are excerpts from an awkward interview with Anders. He reluctantly revealed background on the Lava Dogs and Dancers. He left questioning the validity of media.

Did the Dogs eat a lot?
They consumed what was available. They spent very little time preparing meals.  They ate what nature provided, as nature presented it, or as they were fond of grunting, “as nature intended“.

This was the last of the Lava Dogs and Dancers. Evolution has a nasty temper when provoked.

What did they eat?
They had an excellant overview of meals from up high on their food chain perch. As late as 12,000 breeding cycles ago, there were no safe ways when it came to food handling. Food was not a pleasure, it was necessity.  Worms, mammals, birds, and fish were all eaten with the same purpose- survival. At times, contaminated food killed the eater. There were no convenient coffee shops in the days of way back when.

Did Dancers receive social callers?
Lava Dancers to you!  All the worlds, and all the dimensions, came calling on the Lava Dancers. any, and all, specie made it’s peace, if possible, with the Lava Dogs and Dancers. The Dogs negotiated physical safety before they would allow any interaction.  The Dancers offered visitors, no matter their species, spiritual healing and vitality.  And then things evolved like things are prone to do and the landscape changed as did the Lava Dancers.

Yellow Chin was willing to run and lose territory if it would avoid bloodshed.

How did they evolve?
12,000 breedings cycles from now, your question will provide insight on who, and what you really were.  It will not be flattering. Evolution is not meant to be discussed by mortals, especially media types like yourself.

What kind of music did the dancers dance to?
Dancers didn’t dance, they be and be. They were survival spirits that made dance dance.

Juggler, who had a loving heart, proves looks don't always tell the truth.

Did Dancers and Dogs get along?      
This is a pedestrian question, that requires looking at their relationship with a needed distance. From there, in the silent winds, you can not tell a Dog from a Dancer. And do not tell me that isn’t an answer. It’s the universal answer for all unfounded questions.

What is the age of the oldest Dancer?
Lava Dancers never died they just influenced destiny until destiny took a road unchosen.

What is the age of the youngest Dancer?
Lava Dancers are not creatures. They take on shifting forms in an artistic imagination-dream.  The rub is… what do forces that drive moods look like? Mull that over a couple of times. It would be easier to answer how young are jet streams-dreams?  That would be easy because we don’t know.

Salvador Dali, three breeding cycles ago, said ” the one thing that is impossible to avoid is being a modern man.” Do you feel his melting message?

Homo Dog never reached other Dogs' projections of his potentials.

How did you find the first Dancer?
While visiting an used book store in Chiloquin, Oregon. It came to me in a rich-hard trance spanning two rivers and one one-hundredth of a breeding cycle.  And from that point on, my life and the Lava Dogs and Dancers became intertwined, one and the same like money, greed and power.

Are the Dogs purebreds?   
Ah, finally you ask about Dogs. Lava Dogs were an element of instability. It is their bones washing up in the tides.  They were born. They reproduced. They aged. They died. They were clans before there were nations. Lava Dogs were representational nature. Lava Dancers were manifested spirit.

How do you see the role of both The Dogs and The Dancers?
You must be joking. The joke is on you. You are the joke. Get over the meaning of things. Get into the “it” of it.

Sister Blue Nose's nosey nature navigated from controversy. candy and cartoons.

Did they hope to be internet stars?
Hope, now there’s a concept that has had it’s day. What is an internet star?   Where do all the internet stars go?  I toy with you because you let me. You are the puppet and I’m the string.

If so, why?
And yet you persist. Why don’t you ask yourself “why ask why?” When you have an answer, call me, and we will carry on like it is tomorrow.

©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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