Rick Walker's Paintings

"in the living room" Here are some paintings that I've done recently. I helped ToeKnee Stanger do some of the mural painting at the AHA! Center, and he gave me some tips on how to work with paint. These are my efforts to practice what he showed me. The paintings are presented in chronological order. Click on the thumbnail for a bigger version.

"Clearing" An exercise in layering. canvas 28"x42". Latex House paint + Acrylic highlights. Sponge, roller, brush. March, 2004.

"Noah's Ark" A pot of 12 different succulent plants given to me by my next door neighbor, Mr. Shipley, when I was five years old. This painting had some finishing touches from Alicia Lind during a shared painting session. Acrylic on canvas, 24"x36".

"TaiChi Dream" A butterfly I first saw at Joe Deisher's Tai Chi camp in Mendocino, CA. 34"x25.5" acrylic on canvas.

"Lion of Judah" This is a painting done from a newspaper photo of a mountain lion that strayed into residential Palo Alto. He was shot by a police officer seconds after the photo was taken. 34"x25.5" acrylic/oil on canvas.

"Bolsa Chica Egret" 4'x4' acrylic on stretched canvas. From a photo taken by my sister Wendy, an avid birder. "Goat on Bald Mountain"

From a picture by my sister, Kristen, taken in near Yellowstone National Park. This picture reminds me of a gruelling climb that our family made to the top of Mt. Baldy in southern California. 18"x27" acrylic on canvas.

"Back from the Cross"

From a photo of Sherry's brother taken in a garden in Japan. Sherry is the caretaker of the AHA! center's garden. Finished early January, 2005. 18"x27" acrylic on canvas.

"Balance" Acrylic on canvas, 24"x36". Inspired by the pen and ink drawing on the last inner page of the Whole Earth Catalog, "Dragon Steamboat" (1971) by Gurney Norman. During the time this painting was being worked on, some comments I received were: "they are just playing with each other", "those daemons", "two dragons", "fiercely struggling in a battle of life and death", etc. It is fun to see how a simple symbol can be interpreted all the way from "kid's playing" (do adults ever play?) to "death struggle". Finished middle January, 2005.

"Selvakumar" Acrylic on canvas, 18"x27". Standing there is mama Sangeeta, and those are her three boys. The one seated is Dinakaran. When the tsunami hit, Sangeeta tragically realized that she could only carry two of her boys. She picked up the two youngest and left seven-year-old Dinakaran, hoping he could run fast enough. She made it to safety, but was grief-stricken because Dinakaran had misunderstood and ran in the wrong direction - to the family's beachfront cabin. The dog, named Selvakumar, chased after the boy, pulled him out of the hut by his collar, and nudged and nipped him to safety. Good dog! Sangeeta's brother-in-law gave her the puppy, following the birth of her second son. When the brother-in-law died in an accident two years ago, they changed the dog's name to his. "Selva" means "riches" or "money". "Kumar" means "boy". Together, you get something like: "person-of-wealth" - a common name in South India. The painting is from a news photo, and is still not quite finished here. February 11, 2005.

"bubbles" Acrylic on canvas, airbrush and roller, 24"x36". Maybe lots of the same things the dragons were playing with. February 20, 2005.

"with Amos and Martha" "Amos and Martha" Acrylic on canvas base finished out with water-based oils. 24"x36". My Mother's Father and Mother. The painting is from wallet-sized print, and is still not quite finished here. I need to let it hang on the wall for a while to really see what needs adjustment... In particular, the clothes are left at just the raw acrylic base-coat stage. I'll have to decide if I like the rustic look, or whether I should finish them to the same detail as the faces. First posted March 2, 2005,, an update posted April 19, 2005, which had lots of work on Martha and some softening of the colors in the clothes. The current version posted November, 2014.

"A view of the Tetons" Acrylic base on canvas finished out with water-based oils with walnut oil medium. 28"x42". This is a copy of a print of Robert Wood's "in the Tetons", which hung over our television at home. The sky is white house paint colored pink with several shades of acrylic paints, then over brushed with blue/lavender house paint thinned with acrylic medium. All the rest is oil paint. the wet canvas. "First version" posted March 18, 2005. Current version posted November 2014.

"Larry Walker" "Any resemblance?" My Father. Background is latex housepaint and acrylic applied on canvas with a roller. A thin sizing of walnut oil and turpentine prepares the ground. The rest of the image is done with water-based oils in thin layers using walnut oil for long drying time and Grumbacher "quick dry" medium for layering. The glasses shrunk the eyes by 20% in the original photo so I used the GIMP photo editor correct them and to remove the reflections in the glass. April 19, 2005. 20"x24".

"Banjo Player" A self portrait, about age 16, based on a set of B&W photos taken during a summer job at Bill Cheney's photo studio in Escondido, CA. The final image is a GIMP photo-montage of 4 different negatives: face, body, legs, banjo. I did the inital roughing-in using a video projector. The face was blocked-in using xerox transfer and then overpainted. The background and figure base are acrylic. The first version was posted June 4, 2005 and only has one layer of overpainting in water-based oils. I expect another 4 or 5 layers to be required before the painting is complete. 24"x30". The current version was posted November 2014.

"Wizard of OZ" Joe Deisher. My good friend and taichi teacher. He sits here taking a break and reviewing the books, keeping everything organized. Stretched canvas 8"x10". This is my first gum-bichromate print. Photo taken by Kevyn Warnock at Joe's annual taichi camp at OZ ranch near Point Arena, CA circa 2003. The RGB color separations were made using the linux GIMP photo editor and printed on an HP laser printer. I printed Magenta using the G negative, Yellow with B negative and Cyan with the Red negative. Five minute exposures were made through white xerox paper using the noontime sun. Each layer was developed by floating the canvas for 30 minutes in a tray of water. Finished sometime around July 4, 2005.

"Spring Snow in San Gabriel" A picture of my parents taken (I am guessing) in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. The car is my Dad's 1957 Chevy. I can remember riding in the shelf of the back seat, laying on my back and seeing the stars through the window. Sort of like one those little bobble-headed dog mascots. The canvas was treated with Golden porous watercolor gesso and the initial image was created with a three-color gum-bichromate separation. This photo shows the picture after about two layers of water-based oil paint retouching. 20"x20" stretched canvas. July 24, 2005.

"Sisters at Hart Canyon" My two sisters, Wendy left and Kris right. Dressed for a Rendezvous in Hart Canyon with muzzle loading rifles amidst oaks and pines. Probably two more overpainting sessions before I'll be happy with the expressions. Acrylic underpainting with waterbased oils, 24"x36" stretched canvas. August 16, 2006.

"Abstract" This started out as a painting of bamboo shadows and then turned into an attempt to increase constrast and saturation while still keeping the shapes and patterns "interesting". It was painted, and can be displayed, in all 4 orientations. I see lots of interesting shapes: horses, humans, crabs, bunnies, birds, and so on. It proves that the unconcious is constantly expressing itself whether we are conciously controlling it or not. Stretched canvas.

"Milo" My cat Milo. He would sit and listen to guitar lessons when Michele Duva would visit. Michele wrote a book about him titled "Waiting for Dawn" and this image became the cover. Stanford developed the grassy field next to my house, driving out all the native rodents. Their attempt to control the situation led to Milo eating a poisoned blue-jay. He died three days later from kidney failure. This is his memorial picture. Multimedia on 2'x2' masonite panel.

"Yosemite Church" Just a sketch of the Church in Yosemite valley. Maybe I'll paint some more on it later. Multimedia on 2'x2' masonite panel.

"Desert Fox" A desert fox. Looks pretty happy. Originally was 2'x2' masonite panel, but Chia-Lin said he looked "cramped". I then extended the composition on both sides with wooden framing, more masonite, spackling and lots of blending. Now he has room to run. Still a sketch. Maybe I'll paint some more later.

"a pair of Taichi Masters" Joe Deisher and Jane Yao. This was from a photo of them sitting at San Francisco airport just prior to me leaving with Jane for the November 2007 World Cup TaiChi competition. Multimedia on Stretched 22"x28" Canvas.

"Zelda" My dear Aunt Zelda from a photo taken a few months before she passed. She's in a wheelchair at the nursing home. My cousin David has put a hat on her to protect her from the sun. To me, she has the expression of a buddha. Making the best of life and enjoying the visit with family and friends. Just looking in her eyes, I can remember all the happy times we shared together as I was growing up. Multimedia on 2'x2' masonite panel.