Abstract wonder worlds, billowing anthropomorphic forms of saturated hues, staccato brushstrokes and sweeping strides build topographic layers that undulate with the passing time. Entrancing by its vast expansiveness, its a conundrum how such disparate parts of line, color and form coalesce into a meditative atmosphere. The moment of solidarity between body and soul comes suddenly—upon examining Ron Throop’s cacophonous canvases, poetic moments of clarity emerge from the vortex of paint. “I love you more than dreams upon the sea.” Words become thoughts, ideas unroll poetry as Throop’s mind takes center stage in a world all his own. Throop’s world is one that masters our attention through the flick of his wrist and the slip of his tongue. His paintings speak.
With a bold imagination and a wonderful way with words, a few questions came to mind to ask this writer-painting. Read this exclusive interview with Ron Throop:
BM: Who influences you?
RT: Henry Miller for teaching me persistence and happiness in poverty. He had the desire and determination to express himself during a time in America when no fool got away with it for long. He kept at it, began in a maelstrom of confusion and struggled joyfully, without madness, toward a life worth living. I like to think that because of his autobiographical odyssey, I had a head start to my journey as a young father, and aspiring writer and painter.
“Make room for the life giving ones!” was one of Miller’s many mottos. Even at 25 I thought I could take up in wisdom where he left off in old age. That is, I welcomed failure as long as it delivered me time along with the muse to raise my daughters, write, and of course, paint.
A sense of history is important. Miller promised me private success if I persisted in my folly. I believed him then, and still do. Failure is the only success a painter should expect. I have had my share, but it just goads me to paint more. And more. Why not? At mid-life I strive to leave an overwhelming archive to my wife and children, and children’s children. Leave them a story of color and vibrancy.
Miller hawked his watercolors on the streets of Monterey. I hang my paintings out on a line in the country, like my laundry, and listen to the song of crickets. Hurray, I’m alive! Give me more paint!
Why did you start painting text onto your canvases?
I began as a writer. I have always painted when not writing. It creates a balance. When I write I am tight. When I paint, I am light. Joyful. Happy. Words are so powerful. I just had to sneak in a word or two now and then. Where I lack in rendering skill, I make up for with literary ambiguity.
Why work in series?
I work in a series when feeling the need to tell more of the story. I am guilty of over-elaboration, no doubt about it. Usually, I want to get just one point across with a painting. The sooner the better. I want to paint the picture, but I am also eager to get a feeling off my chest. Sometimes the story deserves a deeper plot. Two recent series worth noting are My Patronym and Leopold Courting Rose.
How does a series develop—from painting to painting—what catalyzes a series completion?
Last October, I had a home show commemorating my wife Rose’s 40th birthday. I began work in August like a possessed man. Besides painting, I edited and published a book of letters that I wrote during courtship. The letters and the paintings became one in the same thing. I was sensing back in time like a medium, and the work came out more alive than the younger man Ron Throop ever was. The catalyst was love and love’s rejuvenation. Each day’s work was infused with the energy of falling love.
What a joy to be literally mad for a season! I suggest it to anyone with time and devotion.
– Ron Throop
Words of wisdom from a truly gifted artist. Take his advice, let go, build your own wonderworld—you may realize living less mindfully is more magnificent than you can imagine.