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.
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.
Over the decades works have accumulated into groups, These groupings
speak of other places, people, events, desires and accomplishments.
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.
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.
When Anders works on masonite or canvas it is imperative that the
surface is primed, especially smooth masonite.
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.
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.
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 / isolation 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 / isolation days insure, enrich and add a physical depth that
captures and reflects light.
For the past 20 years Anders has used a semi-gloss for working / isolation 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.