All roads lead to art

This is part of the Article that was in Thursday’s issue of the Portland Tribune where you can see the full article.


All roads lead to art
Visitors get a peek into process behind artists’ work on annual studio tour

By Randall Barton

The Portland Tribune, Oct 9, 2008

… In a very different garage on the other side of town, Sam Roloff is applying another coat of varnish to one of his abstract oil paintings.

“It’s about applying the paint and then actually taking a lot of it off,” he says of his process, which he compares to printmaking.

The workability of oil paint, which allows it to be pushed and pulled days after it’s applied to the canvas, appeals to Roloff.

“Sometimes I use a rough canvas where the gesso is on rather thick so that the paint gets in those crevices. Then I wipe it off. You keep building that and hopefully the paint gets thicker and thicker. Even if it’s simple, like a simple red painting, I want a lot of depth in there.”

In addition to the abstract works, Roloff paints large portraits, usually of women. A portrait of a young woman in a white dress is called, appropriately enough, “Woman in a White Dress.”

“I do a lot of paintings of women,” he explains. “How many names can you come up with?”

Bohemian life beckoned

Roloff lived in San Francisco in the early ’90s during the emergence of the Mission School art movement, where artists looked to the street culture for their inspiration.

Though he was friends with many of its proponents, he chose a different direction, moving to the Czech Republic in 1994, the year after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Amid what he calls “the quintessential Bohemian life,” he ran a small gallery and originated his “Women in Prague” series.

“These weren’t quintessential Czech paintings by any stretch,” he says of that work. “I wasn’t mimicking the style of Czech painting, per se – which was a more realistic, poster style of painting. It was more about capturing the nightlife, like Toulouse-Lautrec did in Paris.”

In addition to the portraits and abstract work, Roloff also paints images with feverish content that nod to one of his favorite artists, Hieronymus Bosch.

Roloff is sometimes mistaken for his brother, Matt, who stars in the television show “Little People, Big World” on TLC. He will have a guest role on the show in the near future.

Indulge your curiosity

Portland Open Studios is about exploration and discovery. It brings the curious into contact with the accomplished. Snoopy people with a penchant for art can poke about in the minds and studios of potters, painters, photographers and sculptors.

In addition to learning some of the finer points of felting or encaustic painting, they can glean ideas for living creatively while pursuing one’s life dream.

To learn more about Careen Stoll, go to www.treadlehead .com; for more on Sam Roloff, go to www.

Portland Open Studios, west side: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 11-12; east side: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19, 503-285-3131, $15 guide comes with two tickets, maps, pictures of artists’ artwork and contact information, children under 18 free, available at Art Media, New Seasons and other stores listed at www.portlandopenstudios .com