“I seek the common thread that binds us together and moves us forward—nature, tradition, love and beauty.” —Randall Sexton (1958-2023)
When a community loses a vital source of knowledge, skill, wisdom and inspiration that community feels its loss deeply. Bay Area painter Randall Sexton, who passed away this week, was one such vital figure. Randy was recognized and appreciated for his own artistry in a range of genres, earning signature membership in the Plein Air Painters of America and garnering many awards. His influence, though, wasn’t limited to what he painted but was felt and experienced through his teaching, including a decade as a faculty member of Pixar University coaching many of that studio’s talents.
Randy participated in “Treasures From the Bay Area,” the 2020 California Art Club exhibit hosted by Holton Studio Gallery, earning an award for “Purple,” the oil painting shown here.
I didn’t know Randy well, but the tributes being shared by our friends, including those in the gallery’s roster, testify to a penetrating shared grief.
The arts are how we join the world, and, as the quote at the top of this post demonstrates, Randy understood that well. Even as he himself let go of “the common thread,” his life’s work left it stronger.
Randy’s Artist Statement—
(From the artist’s website.)
“Whatever the subject matter, genre, or intention is, the process of painting needs to be adventurous. Exploration, freedom, and the joy of pushing paint keeps me in the moment while I work, the journey alive and thriving.
“The discipline of direct painting, both in the plein air experience and in the studio, has taught me to develop a loose handling of paint that speaks as much about the paint itself as it does about any given subject matter. I combine the somewhat traditional methods of painting with a sense of myself living in the present and the world around me.
“Nature has proven to be the most demanding and inspiring teacher—so I work from life, as often as possible and remain open to new ideas and new approaches.
“Each painting is a simple sentence in an ongoing story that will take a lifetime to unfold.”