Skip to main content
BicyclesBlogPainting

The Rutkowski Loop

By July 2nd, 2022No Comments3 min read

The Rutkowski Loop says this: The same painting is not.

I owe it all to Walter Rutkowski. He was my professor at LSU who said something like this to me way back in 1981: “Okay, draw that again 20 more times.” So, I did.

Forty years and countless iterations later I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Rutkowski’s instructions stuck. And how. Nowadays, painting the same image over and over is simply a part of my process. You can find repetition time and again in my work, whether it’s painting, drawing, linocuts or digital art. I hereby dub this the Rutkowski Loop. Ta da!

 

Not only do the repeated attempts make each new drawing more facile than the last, the do-over is always different. That was Dr. Rutkowski’s point, after all — to learn through repetition and to gain insight and let the work itself inspire more work. It’s an endless loop, really. Think of all the times when you study something and re-read the page with a better understanding the second time than the first. And, how ’bout, oh I don’t know, [insert literally anything here]?! Haven’t you noticed that the more you do it the better you get?

The right brain calls it magic

Somehow, doing the thing over and over makes you want to do even more. I say “somehow” because I don’t actually know how or why it works. It just does.

The left brain says it’s math

If this were stated in mathematical terms, it might look like this: 1+1 > 1

  • Okay, all you mathematicians out there who read my blog and regularly send me scathing corrections to my equations, let me remind you for the umpteenth time. that I’m invoking artistic license! By the way, umpteen is only slightly less than infinity. In other words,  u0 ~

Notes from March, 2013

This is the third painting in the bike alley series. I’m having a ton of fun working out this composition. The series started this past spring with a painting for my Coming into View show at the Carol Robinson gallery. I followed up a few weeks ago with Bike Alley in the Fall and ended up with a more subdued light. I’m back to my long running sub theme of paradise doors in this installment. Each piece starts out with the same basic idea, but the colors take it away in different directions. This is the real joy of painting — exploration!