In a Corner of the Room: Oil Pastels by Ricker Winsor

Phi Beta Fu (detail) - Ricker Winsor

I started working in the corner of my classroom at the American International School of Port of Spain, Trinidad during the two years I taught there in 2011 and 2012. It seemed to me that the students learned more from the fact of my working than from anything I could tell them. When I was working they were focused on their own projects and quiet. This is not normally the case … [Read more...]

Expatriation, Art, and Spirit

Tetuan Dreaming (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Standing on the edge of the highway I held a sign that said “London”. It was cold, early spring, and I was hitching from Newcastle. I was nineteen, and the year, nineteen sixty-four. At a pub that evening a Canadian guy told me, “You know, once it starts it never stops.” He was right and I knew it even then.Expatriation is an inevitability for certain people. People with … [Read more...]

En Plein Air: Landscape Painting

Portage Store, Vashon (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Artist's statement: This is a condensed survey of the plein air landscape I have done over many years in locations from Vashon Island, Washington, Vermont, Spain, and Bangladesh.They are oil paintings about 22 x 28 inches more or less. RW … [Read more...]

The Wabi-Sabi Drawing of Ricker Winsor

under the big trees (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Artist's statement: I continue my exploration of the dynamic and expressive qualities of ink. Mark making, pattern making, risk taking are all part of the process. It is very difficult to correct in ink but there are ways of leading the eye. And the mistakes, the awkward places, are valuable in the "wabi way". … [Read more...]

Drawing and Wabi Sabi

Plaza de Santa Anna (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Everyone can draw. It is in the genome. Drawing is one of the earliest things we know about human beings. We admire work they did on cave walls twenty five thousand years ago. Some of it is graceful and refined. Some of it is crude, raw, and expressive. I began drawing at age thirty. Before that, I didn’t think I could draw and I never got the permission or encouragement to … [Read more...]

The Seventieth Year

Rembrandt - The Apostle Paul

Asia Air Flight 8501In a high rise hotel in Surabaya, a quiet week waiting like so much of life, my wife makes miniatures of snacks in clay for jewelry ideas and I download Nordic Noir.A trip to the gym to stay the decline, then I dream more vividly than I live and solve problems there I couldn’t understand awake, and feel stupid against it all.Can a thunder clap … [Read more...]

Drawing in Ink at The Peoples’ Beach, Sanur, Bali

Prayers for the Unbeliever (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Drawing in ink with reed pens and brushes was how I started forty years ago. It seemed miraculous to me right from the beginning and I have never wavered in my enthusiasm for it. I happily return to it now as a compliment to the painting I do in the studio. To be out in the landscape responding to nature, to life, in the most direct way, using ink which is not basically … [Read more...]

A Structure for Color

Past the Window (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Artist's statement: I think I have finally found the approach to painting that will sustain me for a long time into the future. As I paint I think of small phrases people spoke to me or wrote to me over the years, little thoughts that meant everything without my knowing it, without them knowing it. They flash through my mind because I understand them now. I understand their … [Read more...]

The City as Metaphor

New Moon (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Artist's Statement: I have not yet exhausted the possibilities hiding in the cities of my imagination. Perspective, figures moving among the buildings, in the windows, the creation of space; it is an exciting environment. And because we all are so familiar with these scenes, these buildings, I can take liberties and we still know, more or less, where we are. And yet, they can … [Read more...]

Cities of the Imagination

Crow Fly by Ricker Winsor

Artist's statement: I am hitting my stride after a long process of learning how to paint my way, growing beyond the obvious influences and entering my own world. These city paintings of the imagination do what I want them to do: free my imagination, connect with my experience, and provide an interesting and flexible structure for the color that is so important to me.These … [Read more...]

Loneliness, Robert Frost and Elliot Rodger

nightsky

An Old Man's Winter Night by Robert FrostAll out-of-doors looked darkly in at him Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars, That gathers on the pane in empty rooms. What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand. What kept him from remembering what it was That brought him to that creaking room was age. He stood with … [Read more...]

Dreams, Reflections of the City: Paintings by Ricker Winsor

Mumble Jumble (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Artist's statement: People ask how it is that I am living in Bali and making paintings of the city; a good question. I grew up in and around New York City and lived in other cities as well. All of those early impressions, and later ones inspired by looking out at Dhaka, Bangladesh from the roof of my apartment building for two years, driving through night streets illuminated by … [Read more...]

My Otter

Photo credit: href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wcdumonts/10028947736/ Mark Dumont

“Honey, I am going fishing.” No answer.“OK see you later.” No answer. And it will be much later since she works late. No reason to come home early and the fishing is good at dusk.In the north country, summers are hot, sticky. A rumble way off, maybe a thunder storm later. Summer storms are always just a few hills away. They show up fast, dramatic and strong. Once he saw a … [Read more...]

Color and Space

Dreaming Trinidad (detail) - painting by Ricker Winsor

Artist's Statement: This is the direction I am working in now- non objective abstraction. Color is the subject but it needs a structure; not so easy in this way of working. Surface texture is important. And, beyond that one tries to create space and depth, if possible, using all the principles and elements of art including mark making/drawing and color relationships. … [Read more...]

Catskill Bill: A Portrait of a Fisherman

Catskill Bill with Grilse Salmon

The Catskill region is a lonely place. Maybe it wasn’t in its borscht belt heyday when young Jewish New Yorkers spent their summers in the big hotels with the hope of meeting a future husband or wife. And many did. The stories are legion. But when I first came to know the area intimately, in 1985, it was a lonely place and it still is. Beyond the hotels people live rural and … [Read more...]

Abstract Paintings from Bali

My Drone (detail) by Ricker Winsor

Artists's Statement: These are my new paintings in oil and oil pastel, rather small at 11 x 14 to 16 x 20. I want to start gradually working bigger. It has taken almost 6 months of trying to get back into the flow because of the transition from Trinidad to Bali but I am in it now and at it every day. … [Read more...]

When the Moon is in the Seventh House

Ricker Winsor chopping wood / image copyright Ricker Winsor

My beat up Renault pulled into the short dirt driveway of my small cape style house in Lyme, New Hampshire that March of 1970. The 60’s were over. Bob Dylan had left New York City too for the country upstate in Woodstock and I was doing the same here in New Hampshire. I thought that was auspicious and in line with “what’s happening”. When you are young it seems to be important … [Read more...]

Ricker Winsor’s Ten Favorite Books

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckThe Man Who Was Not With It by Herbert GoldA Fan’s Notes by Fred ExleyIndependent People by Halldor LaxnessOn The Road by Jack KerouacGreat Expectations by Charles DickensThe Magic Mountain by Thomas … [Read more...]

Riding with Sebastiano 1964

Ricker Winsor on the beach

Dawn broke gray and silent on another dreary London day. A cold March rain hit my face and drizzled down my neck as I snuck past my landlady’s apartment and out the door and onto the street where my new Triumph motorcycle waited. I was ready for my escape. I was just nineteen years old, a refugee from a wealthy family in New York, and I was ready for adventure! It was nineteen … [Read more...]

The Wounded

Hansen278 / Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7438870@N04/1148649159/ otisarchives2 / CC BY

After the end of the last really big war, WWII, where something like sixty million people died, America had a very nice stretch of about twenty years. We were on top of the world, didn’t need to rebuild bombed-out cities, needed only to go forward into comfort and prosperity. President Ike warned against the “military industrial complex” but nobody paid attention or knew what … [Read more...]

5 Abstract Paintings by Ricker Winsor

detail of painting by Ricker Winsor

Artist's Statement: This selection of paintings is interesting, I think, because it shows how my longtime interest in landscape painting moves into abstraction. I grew up in New York City and knew Bill DeKooning, Herman Cherry and many other New York School painters. Although I was very influenced by these abstract painters I was not able to move into abstraction honestly and … [Read more...]

Ma’s Face

Ma's Face / Ricker Winsor

I was in the first grade with the purple-faced Mrs. Reagan when my mother had the first operation on her face to remove a tumor. This wasn’t the one that took the facial nerve; that came later. Still, it was difficult for a little boy to see his mother’s fine, beautiful face all sunken in and scarred. It was not the same face, possibly not even the same person. Surgery fifty … [Read more...]

Pelham Bay Wilding 1957

houses

“Have you ever been in combat, Ricker?” my spiritual advisor asked.Pelham Bay Wilding The Molotov cocktail burst against the wall shocking the quiet, suburban night with flames fifty feet high. The bricks of the old gothic school scattered the gas across its surface, scorching the big flat wall where, during the day, children played their games. Almost immediately the … [Read more...]

My Father

FATHER - Vintage family photo via Tobyotter/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/5334024309/

Franz Kafka wrote a long letter to his father. It said a lot of what I wanted to say to my father but did not have the words or self-composure or courage to say. So I left it on his desk and sometime later I found it on the stairs going up to my room indicating he had read it and had nothing to say.To be humiliated by your father in any way and not be able to respond or … [Read more...]

Straight Pool

Straight Pool by Ricker Winsor / image copyright http://www.sxc.hu/profile/rockpuppet

It was nineteen-sixty-two, Saturday, a hot afternoon. “Whadaya want to do?”“I don’t know. Whadaya want to do, Kenny?” I answered. “Maybe we could go up to New Rochelle and play pool.” I was addicted to pool at that time.“Ok” he said, “I’ll stop by the cleaners and see if my father will give me some money.”“It’s ok with me,” I said, knowing that his father … [Read more...]

The Neighborhood

Brooklyn Bridge / via Andrew Mangum http://www.flickr.com/photos/46259360@N03/8229973262/ colorized by EmptyMirror

How did I get to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, New York? A good question. Maybe a loss of direction? I think so. At least there were different expectations for my life. Did anybody care? Did I care? Like Holden Caufield, after a semester of college, I had gone out to find myself, first in Europe, on a motorcycle, hanging out with pot smoking beatniks. It all just made me more … [Read more...]