My personal perception of life around me is one of constant cadence and rhythm. I am fascinated by the struggle and challenge to create a balance between the spiritual and physical in my work. Over the years I have attempted to express these aspects through the use of color, gesture, and through contrasting lights and darks.
My process is both immediate and receptive to transformation. As a result, my work is both reflection and expression in that I do not plan a painting, but instead allow myself to be found within it as it occurs. At times, a piece initiates with a certain idea and subsequently adapts into something much different. It is in these transcendent moments that I find myself in that special place where inspiration rings clearly and purely.
Among these experiences, external impressionable influences range from contemporary artists such as Howard Hodgkins, Joan Mitchel and Wolf Kahn to historical figures such as Juan Miró, Monet’s late period works, William Turner and Vincent Van Gogh.
Tribute to an Artist: Richard Lopez
by Kari Lineberger Jenkins
May 5, 1943 – August 29, 2013
As an artist, creating means being reflective, shaping movement and letting go. No one exemplified this more than Richard Lopez. With a limitless passion for life and a raw talent for communicating poetically through paint, sketch and collage, Richard knew how to connect you with his sense of the world.
Growing up in Southern California, he cultivated his craft at a young age. Equipped with degrees from California State University in Long Beach, he embarked on a journey as an educator with Rio Hondo College in Whittier as a Professor of Drawing and Painting. His love of art and his dedication to his students’ learning served the school well; undergraduates respected and valued the way he showed them how to appreciate the creative process and allowed them to experiment and dream. The classroom became a safe zone for inquiry, investigation and moving on.
The community was always a huge factor for Richard. Throughout his teaching career, he contributed by painting public murals and sharing work that identified specific neighborhoods. Richard understood that art served as a powerful communication tool that connected people to their environment and each other. Without a word, his images captivated others and sent messages in significant ways. He affirmed that we all could leave something valuable for society.
On an individual level, Richard had the profound ability to reach out and relate to you as a friend. Within one moment in his presence, he could deliver a penetrating point of wisdom, encourage the best in you and then break into copious silliness with a bad one-liner or a play on words. His gifts were boundless, and he shared them generously.
After thirty-one years of teaching, Richard retired and moved his studio from Los Alamitos to San Pedro. His commitment to his artistic endeavors continued with focused enthusiasm as he and his wife, Trina, embraced the community and the distinct unity of artists. Always one to explore new methods, Richard developed works on canvas using paint, collage, sanding and glazing to create impressions that he titled the Cosmic Series. His fascination with the splendor and mystery of the universe manifested into multiple pieces as he strove to gain understanding of the human experience by approaching it from the outer world looking at the essence within. The immenseness and complexity that he felt appears in the deep layers of color and imagery.
Richard’s legacy travels far beyond what we can see or touch. His personal integrity and brilliant character truly defined him as a man and an artist, and these are the elements that will live on. In honor of the considerable mark he has made, Trina has decided to keep Richard’s studio open and to continue to participate in the artist’s community of San Pedro. It is as if Richard is offering his blessing, giving thanks and showing his gratitude by being able to share his art with the world. And with this, we must reflect, shape movement and let go.
Please join us from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm during San Pedro’s First Thursday ArtWalk every month.
Richard López Studio is located at 372 W. 7th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731.