Thursday, December 29, 2016

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Ode to 'The Lighthouse' by Rasmuss

Ode to: 'The Lighthouse' (A Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem) Watercolor by C.t. Rasmuss, 6"x4".

This Painting is an Ode to the following poem by Longfellow:

The Lighthouse

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
  And on its outer point, some miles away,
The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
  A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
  Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
  In the white lip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
  Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light
  With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

Not one alone; from each projecting cape
  And perilous reef along the ocean's verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
  Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands
  Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
  The night-o'ertaken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return,
  Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
  They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
  Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,
  Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,
  On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink;
And when, returning from adventures wild,
  He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
  Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
  Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
  The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace;
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
  And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
  Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
  Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
  Of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
  Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
  Still grasping in his hand the fire of Jove,
It does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,
  But hails the mariner with words of love.

"Sail on!" it says, "sail on, ye stately ships!
  And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
  Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!"

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Portland Headlight: I made it to Maine.

Well I made it to Maine, as I left Cincinnati October 3rd, and now just settling in...enough about me, so onto bigger and better things, such as my life's work!  As in: "one day I'll be dead" given that, my hope is that one day I'll at least have something to show for it, other than an obsolete social security number, tax records, student loan debt, etc.  lol!!! same ole same ole..

I've posted an oil painting seen above, and a watercolor seen below; of the Portland Headlight, a favorite of mine for the moment, as it is winter and very cold now: so places like Mohegan Island, Ogunquit, Prouts Neck n such will just have to wait til explorable weather returns here in the spring, sooner the better!

I recently became a member of the Portland Museum of Art (PMA), first time I'd ever joined a museum, but I figure it'll suit me better than a gym membership, not to mention way cheaper, and keep me in painterly shape...better than rock hard abbs ever would.  I was impressed with its wide range of selected works: from Rockwell Kent, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer to Marsden Hartley, Frank Stella, Braque and Miro also a neat local artistry of Modern Menagerie on the 4th floor.

All in all I was most impressed by Robert Henri's two 10"x8" oil studies of rocks and tides, painted here in Maine one hundred years ago.  After trying to figure out the best way to start here composition wise, his two oils further cemented my intuition that I need to get down into the "mud, rocks and crashing waves"; upon seeing his work and finding further readings on him and his Ashcan renegades from the turn of the Century, I feel as though I've picked up the scent to where he and his group "The Eight" once resided, a group which he later formed (some from the Ashcan) formed out of the ruggedness of Maine.

Much more of this to come, as I dive further into and diverge out of this Newly found Abyss, as of now I've started a new winter project:

Whale Teeth

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Wisdom of Cherry Blossoms

'Cherry Blossoms' C.T. Rasmuss, Acrylic/India Ink, 2012.  

Cherry Blossoms was part of a series in which I combined India Ink with my tessellation technique, as you will notice its composition and feel is modeled after the Japanese Prints that influenced my favorite Impressionists 150 years ago. 

As a kid up in Michigan I remember climbing and interacting with apple blossom trees, I was fascinated with the changes of the blossoms and noticing their transition into apples.  Years later in middle school science classes, we were taught this "ancient" technique of how Blossoms turn into fruit and why, n what not; after reading the poem by Toi Derricotte, I was immediately transported back to this time I forgot as child............I miss my old method of learning. 

Cherry blossoms

I went down to
mingle my breath
with the breath
of the cherry blossoms.

There were photographers:
Mothers arranging their
children against
gnarled old trees;
a couple, hugging,
asks a passerby
to snap them
like that,
so that their love
will always be caught
between two friendships:
ours & the friendship
of the cherry trees.

Oh Cherry,
why can’t my poems
be as beautiful?

A young woman in a fur-trimmed
coat sets a card table
with linens, candles,
a picnic basket & wine.
A father tips
a boy’s wheelchair back
so he can gaze
up at a branched
                     All around us
the blossoms
flurry down

        Be patient
you have an ancient beauty.

                                            Be patient,
                                  you have an ancient beauty.





Thursday, July 28, 2016

In Flanders Fields by Lt. Col. John McCrae, Poppies- a symbol of remembrance.

"Poppies"  by  CHAD, Tessellation Painting, 2015.   

In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-John McCrae

My personal reason for the painting I created was in remembrance of my Grandma, Marion Rasmussen, taught me a lot in life, thanks for serving your country through General Motors Grams!!!

Remember: Peace not War people...


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

1Line-1Minute Drawings by Rasmuss: $5 ea

All these drawings are from one line, where I timed them at one minute each; I call them 1line-1minute drawings by Rasmuss.  Over the last past 12 years I've had my fare share of successes, disappointments, good shows, bad shows, etc.  All in all, I didn't start down this path to be a salesperson, I started out to see what I was capable of...

What I'm trying to say is that I'm giving this idea a shot, which is:  1line-1minute drawings by Rasmuss: $5 each please and thank you!!  This is my new plan on how to fund my career.  Who knows how it will go? nothing is a sure thing!  My goal:

To finally separate what I love to do from what I need to do, without compromising the former, but rather enhance my talent with each paid drawing(eliminate an ongoing conflict between artist intent & its funding).  My hope is that each 1line-1minute drawing that I sell, will ensure my success!  Its simple and straight to the point.

 thank you for your support!!

Sunflowers by Rasmuss(*30 second drawing-1line)

 Davinci's Mona Lisa by Rasmuss

Edvard Munch's The Scream by Rasmuss

1line-1minute drawings by Rasmuss, $5 each- send requests to

-if interested, please contact me by pick the theme for each drawing you'd like, thank you!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Madonna with Child by CT Rasmuss

'Madonna with Child'  C.T. Rasmuss Lucid Mosaic, 2015.

So this is the first entry I've made since last August, what do I have to say for my slacking?, sometimes life just takes a turn down some road which you wonder why you ever turned down that road; and you find yourself asking in the rear-view mirror, why didn't i just turn back, oh well hahaha!

I ended up with this painting which I cant wait to explain more, much more!!  I made some friends I made some mistakes, I made some art and I'm finally ready to make some more blog entries, why? because I can, lol besides how else can I talk out loud and make some sort of sense?..

Tonight I found myself working on another Lucid Mosaic, pondering the dilemmas I've encountered over the last year or so and decided the best way to finish the week was to honor the time my friend & colleague John Sousa took to photograph some of my favorite work.  "can i get a little help from my friends" is precisely why tonight was a good night to get back on track.

Like I said, can't wait to expand on this painting plus other work I've put off as well as telling you all about The Frank Stella Retrospective at the New Whitney, was a great visit and experience btw...Michelle, wherever you are or whatever your doing these days, it was a great time I'll never forget, thanks for all the good memories;) 

was a road worth traveling..

here's a link to original post if you'd like to know more about my process leading up to this finished painting:


Friday, August 14, 2015

Stuart Davis' "Yellow Hills"; The Gift of Sight

About 6 months ago I went to the Taft Museum to see a guest exhibit of work on loan from the collection of The Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California.  I went with my then new girlfriend Michelle, we had a good time and remain much closer today, which I'm very thankful for.  It was an inspiring exhibition, we were both glad we went; the painting that inspired me the most was a painting by Stuart Davis, which happens to also be the painting surrounding this post; the original seen here:

Stuart Davis "Yellow Hills" c.1919 oil.

Most of my posts usually are all about art or my processes n so on, but today's post is a little different; the reason for this is due to the fact that I'm still recovering from eye surgery to repair 2 tears in my left retina.  For the last month I've been deathly afraid of losing the sight in the one eye, which would be very tragic, especially with me being a visual artist n all, I feel much better as the surgery went well, and recovery seems on schedule, but the scare it has put in me fades slowly...

Above 2 photos: I've posted the sketch I made from Stuart Davis's "Yellow Hills" c.1919 and the initial painting I finished the night we got back from the museum.  I wasted no time at all getting something done via the inspiration I received from the exhibition that day, but it has taken me over 6 months getting back to finishing what I had started...shown below is where I am with it today after my second sitting since just before surgery last week:

As it stand for now, perhaps the 1st sitting is better than the 2nd seen here...but today I'm not concerned with the recurring topic of "when is an artist finished?"; I am only concerned with the new question that I've never truly digested before:  "Am I happy to just be able to paint, or do art in the first place?"

That answer is: YES!!! I am, and I hope to no longer take it as for granted I have in the past, ever again.


And here's to a full and speedy recovery...


Friday, July 24, 2015

Artist Process: 'White Rose', Demo turned into a Work of Art.

'White Rose'  C.T. Rasmuss, acrylic - 14"x 18" (2015).

I hope you like what you see here!!!

 I meant to post this a few months back when I actually finished this painting after 3 short sittings.  I started it as a demo to a student of mine, during a 2 hour beginner class.  After the class I put it away for about week or so, until I took another look.  In order to establish artist process, you can see the original for yourself, which I've posted finished in the class I taught:

"'White Rose' - 1st composition"   C.T. Rasmuss, acrylic - 14"x 18" (2015). 

You'll notice, all I did was add more layers, detail and mostly plenty of texture to my favorite part of the finished painting:  it's Blue vase!

This entire composition and floral was taken mostly from the top of my head, and partly from a few imitation silk florals that I pieced together for my student's lesson.  Upon reviewing the original condition of the Still life, my girlfriend agreed and convinced me that it was worth finishing; two sittings later I ended up with what you see in the 1st photo.

I also took a snapshot of the 2nd sitting, but had since then lost it somewhere.  Anyways, once I was convinced that I could do no more harm, the foreground & vase calmly found a place into my heart; so I framed it and a few weeks later was able to find it a new home in June.

Most importantly here, it wasn't the fact that I sold it to confirm the painting was absolutely finished, but it was purely artist's intuition I must say; and I stand by my work!!  I hope this helps you with any of your still-life painting's in question, new or old.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Daniel Carter Beard Bridge; 1st 'En Plein Air' of 2015

Today, May 4th was my first oil painting of 2015 that I'd attempted outside - en plein air; I intended to try painting outside this past winter in January or February to capture the beauty of virgin snow, but failed to do so, and making this victory that much sweeter!

The painting I posted above was just one sitting which I finished in under 2 hours today because I ran out of time, question now is: "am I done?" well funny thing is; as the alarm on my phone went off, telling me time was up: my last two brush strokes felt so good, telling me it was perfect timing to end it.

I could just as easily continue on this painting: adding detail, fixing lines, color, etc. but when it feels right, its right, and that's pretty much all I have to say..."on to the next" as they say.

This photo is where I was today and painted from, I was on a hill and had a great spot today, as I've painted this bridge a few times before.  There's one specifically that I did last year was on flat ground further up the bank, and it took more than one sitting; Although I didn't paint it at the river bank, but instead at home outside in my backyard.  

I just sold it last month and will miss it, but I'm definitely, as always, excited to move on in search of something better!

***After taking a quick break from writing this blog, unfortunately it has now come to my attention via my lovely girlfriend Michelle, that my painting could use a few finishing touches.  Ones that I could either agree with or dismiss, proving that an artists work is never truly done until they're completely satisfied, and due to this latest critique by such a treasured opinion, I must retract my: "when it feels right its right" conclusion and wait patiently til it drys; and try once again for a happy ENDing..

Monday, April 27, 2015

Picasso's 'Head': "It's a head, it's a head" and I Agree 100 Years Later.

Head  by C.T. Rasmuss, acrylic/found objects (2014).
What is a head?  Until I read The Watson Gordon Lecture 2008 with Neil Cox ; Picasso's 'Toys for Adults: Cubism as Surrealism, it never occurred to me to ask such a question.  This being, what is an object really?...especially one that we encounter on a constant basis, yet we're so unfamiliar and out of touch with at the same time.

"Writing about Head(shown below) in 1939, the then director of the MoMA in New York, described it as [o]ne of the most arbitrary and abstract of Picasso's cubist compositions in its remoteness of the object indicated by the title.  In saying this, Alfred Barr drew attention to the way the representation exists on the fringes of resemblance, and how strongly but awkwardly the title anchors around the representation to a certain kind of reading...Much later on in the 1960's, Pierre Daix discussed the work with Picasso.  The Dialogue went something like this:
Picasso:  'That's a head.'
Daix:  'That thing thing with the triangle?'
Picasso:  'But it's a head, it's a head.'"  
     Neil Cox (pgs. 10-11)

Head  Pablo Picasso, Papiers colles w/ black chalk, white gouache on cardboard (1913).

In reading this excellent lecture, I was able to directly relate a painting I did just last year, to Picasso's Head, and thereby received much gratification form it.  The fact that in it exists many properties that are in my work and to reassemble a such a work by such a great master like Picasso; I take great pride and it offers my artistic compass all the more validity.

Not only do I believe my 'Head' agrees with is, but I also have great comfort knowing that there is some part of the world out there that shares my thirst for discovery in a similar manner.  Here is another passage from the book that I believe wholeheartedly especially after reading it for the first time, is a great feeling as well:

"I General all historical works of art: how we see them is a negotiation between their presence, their persistence as physical objects that can be subjected to close scrutiny, and the structure of interpretation that have been developed subsequently in order to make sense of never simple, since how we look, when we look at the work of art, is always structured or informed by our notions about it, notions that result from the history of previous interpretive language."
      - Neil Cox (pg. 22)

Closeup of 'Head' by C.T. Rasmuss (2014).

So I leave you with this: a closeup of my painting Head, and one last passage from the lecture on kid's toys, but first just a quick layout of what you see above: First you'll notice a round red nose, a clown might have with a light blue paint brush dividing painting into halves vertically, a place above where nose should be are two small, dark blue eyes, filled with emotion but hard to see via photo,then there is an angled foam brush intended as an eyebrow; I could go on, but I hope this passage by Baudelaire found in the lecture, that I leave you with helps; and that some day you may see it in person with this in mind(this goes for either Head )..

"The child twists and turns his toy, scratches it, shakes it, bumps it against the walls, throws it on the last he opens it up, he is stronger.  But where is the soul?  This is the beginning of melancholy and gloom."     

Perhaps through art, it's possible to regain our innocence by throwing ourselves into something that is not meant to be thrown around like a senseless toy, but admired for its mystery now that we're adults.
    -C.T. Rasmuss

Friday, January 2, 2015

Frank Stella Resolution: Happy New Year 2015!

Serpentine Belt  C.T. Rasmuss, Enamel/acrylic/found objects (2014).

Let me just say up front that: like any other piece of artwork that's lavished with texture, my 'Serpentine Belt' shown above, is better seen in person, more so than other of my paintings like it; This aside, it will act as the anchor for my New Year's Resolution of 2015, which is: this will be the first of a solid series that I'll focus on throughout out the new year.  

Reason being, to create a more consistent point A to B resolution in my art this year; in the spirit of "Frank Stella's Black Paintings series", which I've provided a link to a good article on his early works and an example of his Black Paintings series which: "first announced him to the art-world of New York":

Marriage of Reason and Squalor   Frank Stella, aluminum paint (1959).

Of course my (Jackson Method) action painting, Expressionistic style is the opposite of Stella's Color Field - Abstract Expressionistic style, this is no matter, as what I mean to take away from his example, in his series and other ones of his like it; is his focus on a common denominator, resulting in tangible results that clearly showed up in his subsequent series, which introduced evident new ideas and techniques.

* fascinating to me how Stella's "Black" series varied very little from one to the next, but were profoundly different at the same time..

In other words...If I'm more focused in a specific series such as this one due to my Resolution, it should allow me better discipline, less distractions, and a clearer goal in mind; even though I still have the slightest idea where it will go.  And just like all artists it takes much faith to realize your efforts, and ensuring that they will be worth while.  

Serpentine Belt - closeup  C.T. Rasmuss, Enamel/acrylic/found objects (2014).

Don't get me wrong, as an artist I can focus very well, and I wish to focus on one specific idea that's simple and basic; and I wish to incorporate it through slight/varying applications, from one painting to the next, where non one is the same, and none too different so much that I end up going off into an entirely different direction(but if it happens it happens, I will just set it aside for some other time).  

The element that will be my common denominator, is going to be the new final line composition: as shown above in a closeup of 'Serpentine Belt', is the solid black enamel line over gray acrylic line, which pulls it all together.  I introduced this aspect in this painting for the very 1st time, and I myself believe it's an element that's entirely new in this very style of the Post-Pollock era; which I've been working on here n there over the last year or so.

In closing I'd have to believe that it's easier to stick with one way of doing it in Stella's Minimalist technique, than my chaotic action painting style, but what they share is: this approach makes it easy for an artist to get stuck, just like Pollock did, whereas Stella was able to move forward because of it; and talking to artist friend/colleague, John Sousa, perhaps if Jackson wouldn't have hit that tree, he may have broke on through, which is what I intend to do for him..proving that this method can work work for any artist, I guess you can call it a method of micromanagement or connoisseur-ism, benefiting the artist in a painterly way tho.

Here's to progress in 2015!  &  A Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Madonna with Child; A Contemporary View of its Renaissance Form.

*to be titled at a later date*  C.T. Rasmuss, Marker layout for Lucid Mosaic (Dec. 2014).
Lately I've been studying the Renaissance, the most I have since my courses in art school; this is all due to coming across and watching: 'A History of European Art', lecture on DVD(The Great Courses) by Professor William Kloss.  

I've provided you with a link to it, as a resource which I keep renewing mine at the local library, from this course midway through the 48(30 min.) lectures, I've been inspired to finally attempt my rendition of Georges Rouault's, Madonna with Child(painted in 1920,but of a of a different name), which I saw and sketched quickly at the Dayton Art Institute, shown below:

Sketch of Rouault's Our Lady of the Fields C.T. Rasmuss
Even before visiting "The Dayton" my 1st time, I'd already been influenced and mesmerized by Rouault's stained glass quality to his oil work(as he served as a stained glass apprentice in his youth), I'd also become to admire his authentic texture, and especially his subject matter(uncharacteristic of his Modernist peers art work, for the most part) along with his extreme empathy for these subjects, almost to realized ecstasy.

Notre Dame des Champs NO. 4  Georges Rouault, oil (1920).
As you can see, I got the gist of Rouault's "Masterpiece", and last week when the spark hit me, I got the urge and grabbed the pre-fabricated canvas, and started drawing; from the very day I first saw, realized and sketched Rouault's "Madonna", I knew it was going to be one of my Lucid Mosaics, but I just didn't know when.  To be even more specific, it was going to and still is going to be my first Lucid Mosaic involving a composition, that deals with a portrait setting:

*to be titled at a later date*  C.T. Rasmuss, drawing (Dec. 2014).
I'm not sure if this was on purpose or not, as it can take a lifetime to understand the lifetime of the great masters, so I wouldn't put it past Rouault, as it was obvious through his unique Renaissance subjects, that he must not have only studied the great painters of the period, but also their inventions and hidden ideas that they introduced and perfected.  What I'm saying here is: in coming up with my own composition based from Rouault's, nearly 100 years earlier; I've noticed and capitalized upon an important central idea, found throughout much of Renaissance art, and that is the Trinity.

Trinity diagram   C.T. Rasmuss, ink.
In comparing my painting/drawing to the Rouault's original, the above Trinity triangle that I drew, overlaps our two paintings together by its central figures: Madonna and Christ child; with the top point rotating clockwise: 1. Mary's head, 2. Christ Child's head, and 3. is where they connect(Mary and Child).  

All in all, it was an innate need for me(capturing the essence of bond between these two figures above all other aspects), I feel lucky that I was able to carry this most important aspect(representation of the Trinity composition wise) over into my own interpretation of an artist's great & successful rendering of this heavily sought narrative; also with a similar need to communicate this age old subject, I feel blessed to have the faith in being able to just go for it.  Thereby receiving the reward of understanding, to which only this event could have given me!

To be continued..