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

Read more…

Endgame Painting

The Journey Continues On like Magic.

There comes a time that the finishing process begins for each of the boards that Anders has started over the years. Currently there are less than 100 such art works.
This group began in 1988 and progressed through 1995. They are the first paintings that applied texture pressure upon texture pressure to create interlocking patterns.
Another first was the textures were applied in large shapes. The results shimmer, much like music, in the power of contrary motions. Here are the four boards coming home to the finish line, it is not a race nor a destination, it is simply what has happened for multiple reasons.

Rooted in early Modern Art.

Whale and Fish, 24 x 48 inches, promises promise, acrylics.

Texture, Movement, Statement, Shadow and Highlights.

Tilt is not certain of its proper orientation, 24 x 48 inches, acrylics.

Simple in its Complexity.

Balance Two is another work unsure of up and down, 24 x 48 inches, acrylics.

Shaping, Coloring, Advancing and Retreating.

One of 16 paintings, Profiles, 24 x 48 inches, is nearing completion, acrylics.

The Endgame Begins

Since 1995 these paintings have been stored in a dry, cool dark space. They have always been in my mind. Now they are moving onto the finishing table. The process begins with a detailed photo study of each painting before I gently sand down their protective finish coats, the goal is to break the coat and not reach the painting surface.

Looking Through the Surface at the Future

These details allow Anders to study the painting area by area.

Where to Start and Why?

The strength of these works are texture, line and composition.

How to Enhance Colors and Mood?

Color strategy becomes a focus.

The Long Awaited Moment has Arrived.

The photographic details of the painting gives Anders the ability to study sections as if they were paintings unto themselves. These details may also be used in an animated film of the painting as it progresses. It is quickly apparent that the textures are unique and enticing. Now, the task at hand is to inventory the painting’s strengths and weaknesses. The goal is always to enhance original intention with the skills and life experience gained since last working on this piece. Another important goal is not to over paint an area that is for all practical purposes complete. Taking time looking, understanding and exploring will pay off. Anders will think back to the moments these paintings began. This series came at a time when he was spending time in desert and semi-arid landscapes.

After careful consideration the determined weakness is the lack of shadow and highlight. This is where the next steps will begin. Pop shapes, contrast, recede, advance and establish dark points for visual movement. Bring the paintings home Anders, bring the painting home.

6-15-10, The first of two final passes.

These four paintings have had their first protective work coat applied and photographed before being sanded for the last time. These paintings are being finished as the world understands the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
This has influenced the reading of these works, and their names.

Whales When the Ocean Left … 6-15-10, nearing completion.

Looking Into the Future … 6-15-10, nearing completion.

The depiction of a bird in a complex setting reflects wildlife's vulnerabilities.

Two Birds … 6-15-10, nearing completion.

Two birds has switched its orientation 180 degrees.

Looking at the Past … 6-15-10, nearing completion.

The figure silhouette becomes the face of a bird.

Where to now?

The next pass will focus on highlights and shadows. Compositional threads and pathways will be enhanced, added and emphasized. These paintings are not value judgments of the oil disaster. They recognize wildlife as spectators effected by the interactions of other species. At any moment, a toll may ring out across the habitats. Some will pay a mortal price and others will watch. And history will have another footnote and reference point in time.

And then they were done…

Two Birds … completed 6-25-10.

A simple painting, a simple song, 24 x 48 inches, acrylics.

Whales When the Oceans Left … completed 6-25-10.

This work pays homage to the modern art movement, 24 x 48 inches, acrylics.

Looking Through the Past … completed 6-25-10.

Started in 1983, this 24 x 48 inch board, has seen moments of action and sleep, acrylics.

Looking Behind the Future … completed 7-01-10.

A four part salute to interconnected species is complete, 24 x 48 inches, acrylics.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

The Process Begins

Starting a new painting is a moment worth living. The only thing better for Anders is the moment of finishing a painting.

The great majority of paintings have started on panels, there is something about the surface’s initial smoothness and durability. Anders has two approaches. One is to prime the masonite panel with an ocher tinted special primer for smooth surfaces. The other way is use the primer as a painting – compositional – image devise, including creating texture.

6-01... This 14 x 11 inch canvas shows the ochre primer and first gestures.

First of the Sunlight series finished, and detail, 14 x 11 inches, acrylics.

Does Anders picture what it will be?… No…

Anders likes to avoid brushes on his beginnings. He uses mono-printing and various application techniques that more mimic nature than the hand of Anders. A painting does not start with a preconceived concept. It is a process of discovery and the willingness to accept what has transpired. These starts lend themselves to the school of surrealism, to create from a place other than the conscious mind. Here is a sense of liberty, individualism and creation.

6-01... These works start with monoprinting on white primed 20 x 16 inches, canvas

6-15... These paintings, now part of the Sunlight series, continue.

Does Anders understand when it is?… Yes…

As the paint is applied thoughts turn to concepts. The paintings above will be part of Morning – Kitchen series, 26 in all. The sun will be a major element. They will have painted borders. And they will be completed quickly. All of this is realized in the initial seconds of starting. And so it will be.

6-01... These 14 x 11 inch panels were painted black as the primer surface.

Mystery drives the journey… unfolding questions-choices are each a destination…

Working on black backgrounds is dramatic. Each of these starts have less than a minute accumulated working time. Each has a series of mono – printed elements that make up the image. The actual image area will be on average 7 x 5 inches.

6-01... Details from each of the panels.

And the detail begins to shape movement and meaning…

6-15... These paintings will have another pass before completion.

Each becomes a Journey and a Song…

6-25... There will be one more pass on these maturing Urboriginals.

And then they are Done…

Urborginal Horizon … completed 7-01-10.

There are sounds that are not to be heard, 14 x 11 inches, and detail, acrylics.

Urboriginal Food Chain … completed 7-01-10.

There are feelings that should not be shared, 14 x 11 inches, and detail, acrylics.

Urboriginal Social Mixer … completed 7-01-10.

There are aromas that will not be inhaled, 14 x 11 inches, and detail, acrylics.

To be continued, that is the nature of Anders painting.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Recycles: A Way of Painting

Waste not. Want not.

Recycles, 36 paintings strong, is one of Anders’ favorite groups of paintings. The first rule, each group has working rules and goals, was to use his collection of paint refuge and incorporate them into a series. Recycles become mixed-media pieces with all the media being his paint or tools. Another rule was to let the masonite panels show through layered washes and applied media. The water used for washes and cleaning brushes came from water collected as the shower warmed up.

Bonding and Rebonding were cut from the same panel, each is 36 inches wide.

Recycles include paper towels that were used to absorb paint from several paint series at work. The towel fragments are now prints to be used as collage elements. They became the primary compositional anchors. Painting is an opportunity for Anders to put personal philosophy into action. No paint is left behind. If paint is squeezed from a tube it must be used. And a little paint can, must and does go a long way. There are always many paintings waiting for excess paint that can no longer be used on a work in progress.

Food Pyramid, Cyclops and Lava Fun are each 36 x 24 inches.

Framing Recycles will be a creative challenge. Their old world color-composition and modern abstraction- techniques open the doors for many framing styles. A show of Recycles will inspire and provoke response. Recycles reflect on social responsibilities that resonate with Anders’ core values. Use what is available. Leave nothing to waste. Balance everything with moderation.

October Sunset Parade and Pop are both 30 x 36 inches.

These works are a departure for Anders. Horizons have taken on a different meaning. The implied landscape is not always there. Juxtaposition of elements and forms transcend literal interpretation. Here is an invisible juggler with at least five objects in play. Everything floats in a game that has no intended destination only collective directions inferring a circular path.

Whale Spirits, Food Chains and Floaters are each 36 x 24 inches.

This series began in Klamath Falls, OR and finished in San Diego, CA, 2001 – 09. Recycles were created on 80″ x 36″ panels. After the paint scraps and paper towels were attached, the boards were cut into smaller panels, usually three to a board . A couple of boards were cut into two sections, Remix Bottom and Top are an example.

Remix Bottom and Remix Top can be stacked, each is 36 inches wide.

The surface is deceptive. 3D elements are melded in 2D faux atmospheres. Trap lines flatten and hide edges and drop shadows create dimension. In some cases, the 3D elements are painted flat and the 2D elements are raised with painterly devices.

Mixer, Jumping Pig Fish and Business, each are 36 inches wide.

There are 12 Recycles that take on representational forms. The marriage of 3D and 2D is hidden by attention given the readable images. On a whole, these are dark images of mysterious relationships and passing events. We are watching watchers watch.

Contractual Agreement and Easter Island Picnic are both 24 x 36 inches.

Recycles are stacked, one atop another, waiting for their moment to be seen and heard.

To see more Recycles pages visit

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Art-Tar: The Dance

Movement, Moments and Magic

38 Art-Tars, moving and grooving in celebration of spirit and color, treat viewers with respect.
The series goals was too move the eye across the surface like a cultural pre-electricity arcade game and have bright colors heighten the visual excitement. These are as close to Kandinsky that Anders will get. A nod to Miro, Tobey, and Chagall, and many others, is in order.

Tar Spirits, Tar Column and Tar Dance are 36 inches wide.

Large swashes of custom made color, spun atop textured backgrounds, begin the visual dance. Point – counterpoint, balance – counterbalance and marks – unmarks drive movement and directions. These may be the most dramatic of Anders surfaces.

Egg Man and Tars on Parade are each 36 inches tall.

Early Art Tars began in 1988. Studio stops along the way included Econdido, CA., Klamath Falls, OR., Tulelake CA., and San Diego, CA. The series was finished in 2009 except for a couple of large pieces that are currently on the work bench in progress.

Internal Cleaning, Mona Joy Jester and Trio Escaping Make an attractive triptych.

Texture triumphs dancing across the surface with carefree abandon. Music has a role in the Art-Tars. There are rhythms and colorful notes scattered across a score. Foreground elements are solos against a dense compositional tapestry. Art-Tars = Fusion.

Green Flash and Tar Drips are each 40 inches tall.

Anders thinks of his vertical paintings as power totems. Art-Tars are more than decoration, they are constrained momentum unfolding into perpetual motion. Inspired by nature they invigorate and motivate, “lower your stress levels…

Inter-snaking, Building Blocks, Rising and Tempest are all 48 inches tall.

Imagine a room full of Art Tars, in handsome frames, staring back at you. Can you see the music?

©2010 Anders Tomlinson.


An illustrated psychological melodrama.

The Relationships series began in 1984 and has continued up to today. They have been worked on five or six times with several years between sessions. Each session has been thoroughly documented. Anders have always looked at this series as the production of stills for an animated series. In a month or two he is going to back and look at the book of 1,000 slide details he shot for years: the post-production for a film of these painting evolving will then begin.

Destination and Anticipation, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Destination and Anticipation, an internal journey takes a first step.

Each of these acrylic paintings, unless noted, are on 24 by 24 inches masonite boards.
When one approaches the boards, which may have up to twenty layers separated by a clear coat finish, a sense of internal depth grows. Elements in these laminations will actually cast shadows depending on the light source.

Contemplation and Reflection, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Contemplation and Reflection, weighing rejection against potentials.

An element of this portfolio will be a musical soundtrack. A theme song, Relation-ships, was recorded in 1986. Three voices, male, female, and the couple-overlap demand copy to be written. Here, emotional layers will take flight, a moment becomes a week, becomes a month, becomes a year, becomes an era.

Penetration and Consolidation, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Penetration and Consolidation, a relationship enters new dimensions.

The paintings begin to intensify: more elements, more paths, deeper saturation, enhanced complexity. Anders is starting to visualize how to frame the series. He can see them them all together on a wall or room with the film being shown in multiple formats. At the any moment the viewer could be enveloped in a room that is now paintings details projected on the floor, walls and ceilings.

Emotional and Conversational, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Emotional and Conversational, attractions find common ground and ignore frictions.

There will come a time when these images are reinvented with Photoshop and whole new concepts and animation elements will come forth and embrace all things natural. Anders has a large library of natural movements that he has captured in the field: time-lapse skies, water movements, elemental textures… The merging of natural design with the paintings is an exciting concept to behold.

Replication and Multiplication, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Replication and Multiplication, things become unstated for multiple reasons.

There are elements of Peter Max and the psychedelic 70’s in these paintings. Design and shape play a major role of providing paths to follow through the work. Dimension is achieved by color relationships as much as overlapping elements. All of the images incorporated the same icons in various relationships. These are dense pages in a layered short story yearning to be a novel.

Inspiration and Congestion, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Inspiration and Congestion, an aftermath lingers on a closing horizon.

Many individuals and organizations have been involved with Relationships during the long duration of this project in progress. Anders would like to thank Lisa Meszaros, Shelly Meszaros, Don Marshall, Denver Clay, Joe Cordelle, Kit Nuzum, The Simple Band, KBCH RadioTV, Del Mar Channel 38 and many others who encouraged his efforts. The nature of these paintings is that they are used in some public media presentation and then lay dormant for years only to briefly resurface, again and again.

Clownization and Cyclopization, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Clownization and Cyclopization, reality tugs and pulls in surrealistic discord.

The Anders approach that each painting is its own animated short film, graphic presentation, and short story continues with Relationships, maybe more so than any other Anders series. Is there a gallery that will invest its space and skills in presenting Relationships as an art show? Time will tell, it always does.

Jesterization and Memorization, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, each 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite boards

Jesterization and Memorization, and then the magic is gone like beta tapes.

Relationships is a common tale: one of learning, experimenting, experiencing tangents that lead one to a fuller understanding of one’s self. Of course, there is another path that leads one away from one’s self in a darken hallway of self-induced horror. Relationships: can we live with them, can we live without them, that is the question.

Profilization and Comparization, paintings by Anders Tomlinson, 24 x 24 inches, acrylics on masonite. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Profilization, 36 x 24 inches, and Comparization, 24 x 31 inches.

There are an additional six Relationships paintings that are not 24 x 24 inches in size. The two largest are each 48 x 36 inches. Above, are two examples of these nonconforming works.
They are painted on heavily textured surfaces glued to boards. It seems like it has been a lifetime as Anders moved these boards from one place to another until this moment that they are finished. Good, there is always time to reconnect and move on, just like many relationships.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.