Bruce and Buffy's Blog

Bruce Morrow and Buffy Cribbs, Whidbey Island artists

Summer Show at the Rob Schouten Gallery in Langley, WA 2018

We’re both in a show opening this month at the Rob Schouten Gallery This show has been a real pleasure to get ready for. The big reason for that is that we have had almost a full year to paint and prepare. The result is a show titled “Go Figure”, and it is I think our best one to date.

I started off by doing a painting of a print I had done last year. The print had been a popular one and it was a easy decision to enlarge it to painting. Then I started working on a series of figures; all women, all participating in various activities-- playing sports, playing music, horseback riding. I’ve always been drawn to figures and saw this as a great chance to just concentrate on the figure.  Also, my schooling had centered around representing the figure. All my art heroes have been figurative painters at one time or another. Some, like Richard Deabenkorn had moved from figures to an abstracted landscape. That’s my kind of artist. So, some of my paintings end up as landscapes with figures: hence dancers on the plains.

I joke that some of my paintings were landscapes in search of figures,  eg.The Chair with the Phone and Rosemary. I really liked this one, especially the time element, essentially the fourth dimension introduced.

Buffy had started out with a very detailed portrait of a friend with a very detailed story of multiple countries, situations and clothes.

“A Girls First Ax” came from an old newspaper photo attached to a story of a local woman who had saved up to buy a mandolin

In all these cases, both Buffy and I were collecting stories or making up stories to fill in a narrative of the people we know or might want to know. Some come from the places we’ve been such as “Oaxacan Day Dream” and still, most of them revolving around the figure. We didn’t set out to both concentrate on figures but with studios right next to each other it’s no surprise that it happened.

Here’s the statement as we wrote it for the show:

“GO FIGURE”

Well nigh forty years ago, as we set out on our life’s journey, we shared a common hero in Dick Deibenkorn. As, it seemed to us, he transitioned from the figure to a brand new aproach to landscape, his understanding of the relationship between the form and the environment was the key to bringing the subject to life. This understanding of the relationship of form to environment, the juxtaposition of active and static to create a balanced dynamic is at the heart of the work in this show.

Bruce says: “Most of these paintings are figures seen in landscapes or environments. However, there are a couple of paintings that you could say were landscapes looking for figures.”

THE DYNAMIC DUO

THE DYNAMIC DUO

It might be safe to say that most artist’s websites feature only one artist. As you might have noticed…. not so much with this website.

 As husband and wife we have always worked together. When we started out in the construction business we came up with the name Two Morrows Builders. For years we worked side by side in the field, and now our painting studios are side by side.

We influence each other to some extent, but as you can see, we do have two distinctive styles.

We have always found it to our advantage to work this way. For one thing we always have one another to go to for critiques and suggestions and really, it feels more secure to realize that you don’t have to “go it alone.”

Now, we have been known to steal or borrow subject matter from one another, but again, the media and styles diverge; Buffy paints on clear acrylic and then turns the plate over to create what’s known as reverse painting on Acrylic, and I prefer the old traditional method of oil paint on canvas.

This arrangement probably isn’t right for every one, but our Egos seem to be able to handle it. We think we get, and generate a lot of energy from the back and forth between us, which we then funnel into the production of art.

And --as we tried to point out on the home page-- there is  an “art” in “Partners”.

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Bruce & Buffy's Blog: Two Whidbey Island Artists

 Bruce & Buffy's home on Whidbey Island.

Bruce & Buffy's home on Whidbey Island.

As a short introduction to us: We are Bruce Morrow and Buffy Cribbs. Two artists who, for the past 30 years have been living and working on two and a half acres near Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island.  Whidbey is an extraordinarily beautiful island located about 45 minutes north of Seattle. Reached by ferryboat on the south end and by Deception Pass Bridge from the north, the island is host to many artists, glassblowers and musicians. During our time here we have raised a daughter, moved a house, built a new house and got on with life.

Over the years we have we have also built a wood shop with a two person painting studio above, and an attached apartment which we now use as an airbnb rental and a residency for visiting artists who come to use our fully equipped print shop, Flicker Feather Press. Complete with a Takash 30 x 70 printing press, rosin booth, down draft exhaust table, ferric chloride dip tank, industrial hot plate and glass topped work stations, this facility can accommodate up to 5 people at one time.

To sustain our selves we have worked as carpenters, furniture makers and artists. To accomplish this we started Two Morrows Builders, general contractors with an emphasis on “design and build”.  We think of our life together and our very real Partnership as “Art as a life style” and we are thankful for having had the health and stamina to pursue both a construction career and our art endeavors.

We have now come to a time in our lives where we can enjoy the luxury of a day spent in the studio without having to worry about hammers and nails, contracts or table saws.

In this space we would like to express our thoughts on our ongoing pursuit of the visual arts using words and pictures to help you get an understanding of what it is that lights our way.