RB Sprague studio work

Finished paintings and work in progress

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Location: Santa Fe

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

September Show piece #7c

Today's work on showpiece #7

Monday, May 29, 2006

"Pear & Bag" 22" x 20" Oil/Linen

Sept. show piece #2d finished, now Pear & Bag. Varnished this afternoon. Ready for framing.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

September Show piece #9b

This afternoon's work on Sept. show piece #9

Show Piece #5e

Blog was jammed yesterday so am posting yesterday's work now. Show piece #5. Am liking this one and didn't think I would. Colors are reading nicely.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

September Show piece #8 and #9

Piece #8 laid in and the drawing for #9

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Press Release for September Show


CONTACT: Joyce Robins
989.8795, 800.989.8795
info@joycerobins.com, www.joycerobins.com

R.B. Sprague compels viewers to create their
own stories in his provocative still life compositions.

When the mathematical formula for linear perspective was developed in Renaissance Italy, paintings suddenly became “windows” onto the world. Artists also added window motifs to their compositions to create not only the illusion of space and distance on a flat surface, but also metaphors for what was happening inside and out. Dutch genre painter Jan Vermeer, for example, used light pouring through a window as a symbol of intimacy and privacy, while American scene painter Edward Hopper positioned windows as dispassionate peepholes into American society.

Roger Sprague counts both Vermeer and Hopper in his pantheon of heroes, but says that his recent window paintings have no metaphorical meanings. “I am not a symbolist, and I’m not a realist, since all the elements within the painting are made up. The paintings are about geometry and repeated forms. Although I don’t like the term, the paintings are more surreal than real—you accept the elements visually, but intellectually you know that something is not quite right.”

That subtle, “not quite right” aspect of his paintings is what keeps viewers coming back to Sprague’s images. “People are intrigued by Roger’s scenarios, which in this show take place on a table in front of a window with a view of other windows. The ‘actors’ are fruit, slices of melon and paper bags,” says Joyce Robins, who hosts Sprague’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. “His permutations on a single motif never cease to amaze me!”

For Windows, Sprague offers a dozen works, each “framed” in a sash window with white molding. The window, with its slightly tattered shade, is viewed straight on. It might be closed, partially open and occasionally articulated by a blowing curtain. The backdrop of buildings outside is seen at a worm’s eye view looking up; while the tables inside are viewed with a bird’s eye view looking down. “The goal,” says Sprague, “is to design these illogical viewpoints so that they hold together and seem real even though they couldn’t be—like a dream.”

Sprague calls his still life objects “filler.” Viewers, however, cannot help but create their own narratives about a slice of watermelon that leaks moisture onto a doily, while a second slice basks in the sun on the windowsill. Or why the window’s brass half-moon lifter resembles the Freemason’s “all seeing eye.” Says Sprague, “it is human nature for people to create meaning where meaning doesn’t exist. I think it is just fine.”

Born in Buffalo, NY, Sprague was raised in Arkansas, going on to study plant science, architecture and painting in college. He received his BFA from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, which hosted a major retrospective of his work in 2001 at the Fred R. Jones Museum, followed by a 2005 retrospective at the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock. Although he has lived in such diverse locations as Munich, Germany, and New York, NY, Sprague has been a resident of New Mexico since 1975 and of Santa Fe since 1979. To watch the show pieces develop, visit Sprague’s studio at www.rbspraque.blogspot.com.

Monday, May 22, 2006

September show piece #8

Prelim drawing for show piece #8

Sunday, May 21, 2006

September show pieces 6 # 7

Here is yesterday and today's work. Show piece #6 moved along a bit and #7 has it's underpainting. Think it has potential. Trying a more saturated underpainting, a throwback to earlier process when basically monochromatic pieces were underpainted with acid color. The color always informed the finished piece in subtle ways and would sometimes make itself known in edges.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

September Show Piece #7a

Yesterday and today's work on show piece #7. Still a little jiggling before starting the paint.

September Show Piece #6d

Today's work on Show piece #6. Still a lot of work on this one.

September Show piece #2c

Yesterday afternoon work on Sept Show piece #2. Think two more sittings should do it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

September Show piece #5d

Worked this afternoon on show piece #5. Also took delivery of 6 more fresh canvasses. Hope to get started on one of those tomorrow.

Monday, May 15, 2006

September Show piece #6c

This afternoon picked some more on piece #6 This morning met my gambling bud at the casino. She won, I didn't. It rained (a tenth of an inch) and the tomatoes got transplanted into pots. They are slow this year. Me too and puttering in the yard was irresistable. Should have a crop of 7 million elm trees with the bit of moisture.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"Window, Two Bags"

Laundry, watering today. Did a couple drawings for piece #7. Picked at SS#6 but didn't get enough done to blog it. So here is another piece from last year. "Window, Two Bags" 22" x 20" Oil/Linen, private collection

Friday, May 12, 2006

September Show piece #4e

Today's work on September show piece #4. Also today ordered 6 more canvasses. Should be ready by next Wednesday. The show is a small one and am interested in getting the images committed to canvas all at the same time to keep the focus of the show coherent.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"3 Pears, Striped Cloth" 20" x 18" Oil/Linen SS#3

Final version of September Show piece #3 with previous states. Now designated "3 Pears, Striped Cloth"

Melon, Striped Cloth, 24" x 22" Oil/Linen SS#1

Here are the progressive stages of September show piece #1, now "Melon, Striped Cloth" varnished and ready for framing.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Window, 4 Pomegranates

Tuesday is "Gentlemens Day" at the casino. Of course I had to go hoping to be selected in the ten o'clock drawing.(For $100). I was, once again, not chosen. But, yes, I did come home with twice as much as I took. The afternoon taken up with chores. So no painting. This is a piece from last year. "Window, Four Pomegranates" 24" x 22" Oil/Linen. Now in a private collection.

Monday, May 08, 2006

September Show piece #5c

This morning finished Sept. show piece #3. Will post it as soon as it is varnished and photographed. This afternoon did some work on piece #5. Could not resist the lemon and ribbon. We'll see it they stay. Making Chai. First time. Smells pretty good. Using Soy Milk.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

September Show piece #6

This morning finished the first show piece which will be posted after it is varnished in a couple days. This afternoon got much of piece #6 started. Am having fun with the arcs and circular motions within the rigid angles containing and anchoring the composition.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Thursday, May 04, 2006

September Show piece #6

This morning grocery shopping and finishing up planting the little Gazania bed. Marie Callendar prepared lasagna for lunch. This afternoon got a start on piece #6, 24" x 22" oil/linen. Rehung one of the bedroom blinds. Valence still doesn't fit. Cut too short. Had my drink and the pork ribs are braising. Off to wash the bathroom floor and have a shower. Believe this blog is to counter any idea that artists lead glamorous enviable lives. Well, maybe artists do but certainly not painters.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No paint day

The entire day was subsumed with various chores. Did get the blinds up in the bedroom and got a tentative start on show piece #6. Not blogworthy yet. This is a piece from earlier this year. "Watermelon, Checked Cloth", 20" x 18" Oil/Linen. Private collection

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

September Show piece #4

This morning spent doing some much needed yard work. This afternoon pushed #4 along altho lost the light because of some errant clouds and didn't get as much accomplished as I had hoped.

Monday, May 01, 2006

September Show piece #5

Morning at the casino and afternoon spent laying in piece #5. Yes, I won.