ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Alan Paine Radebaugh immerses himself in his daily painting. It’s a routine he’s had for the majority of his adult life.
Yet while he paints, Radebaugh often feels like he’s inside the painting. This might be due to the fact that many of his paintings are 10 feet tall.
“I truly feel like I’m standing inside the piece,” he says. “It’s as if I’m living inside and watching it come to life.”
Radebaugh is presenting his latest series, “Ghost of Sea,” at the 5G Gallery at Factory on 5th Art Space through Oct. 27.
“Ghost of Sea” is a series that Radebaugh describes as an “ongoing series.”
The artist has lived in New Mexico for 35 years, though he came through the state about 43 years ago while traveling from New York to California.
Since 2009, he’s been painting the strata and flora of this region and has driven on the backroads to access areas where they are.
“Since my first exposure to the plains 40 years ago, I have imagined the sea rolling over this land,” he says. “The waves, massive and powerful, stretching in all directions for millions of years, pounding over a seabed of silt and rocks that lies exposed today.”
Radebaugh has spent weeks on the road and when he finds a place, like Galveston State Park in Texas, he will take in the environment. He’ll also draw and photograph the area.
When he returns to his Albuquerque studio, the work begins.
“It’s like I experience it for a second time,” he says. “I look at what I’ve brought back and then it begins.”
Radebaugh says that the Western Interior Seaway is a point of inspiration. He says the ancient inland sea was created when a tectonic plate subducted under another, causing a depression.
This depression and the high sea levels at that time allowed waters to flow in from the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean.
“Then 50 million years ago, a continuing uplift hoisted sandstone and shale above sea level and the low-lying basins gradually subsided,” he says. “The Western Interior Seaway retreated south towards the Gulf of Mexico. The land then became dry and its beauty was exposed.”
The current exhibit has more than 35 pieces, and Radebaugh says being at Factory on 5th provided ample space.
“I’ve got a 10-foot-wide painting and it needs some space,” he says. “I really like how the show has come together.”
All of his pieces are done with oil, though there can be pieces on stretched canvas or paper.
Radebaugh studied pre-med at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. But he left Wooster to become a jeweler and later spent 10 years designing sculptural art furniture and returned to painting full-time in 1988.
“I couldn’t be away from painting for too long,” he says. “There was always this yearning.”
Radebaugh’s work has been shown in museums and galleries in the United States and abroad.
In 2004, he had a 20-year retrospective, “Alan Paine Radebaugh: Chasing Fragments 1984—2004,” held in the Duke City.
In 2007, “Mass: Of Our World,” exhibited at the Jonson Gallery, won an award for excellence in fine arts.
His artworks are housed in the collections of corporations and cultural institutions including the Albuquerque Museum; New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe; Ohio State University — Shisler Center, Wooster, Ohio; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine; Roswell Museum and Art Center in Roswell; The College of Wooster, Ohio; and University of New Mexico Art Museum.
For his “Ghost of Sea” exhibit, Radebaugh is teaming up to support Chatter music ensemble of New Mexico. Twenty-five percent of the sales during the show will be donated to the organization.
“I wanted to do this because I love music for one thing,” he says. “I appreciate and respect those people so much. They put in an incredible amount of work and each one of them is so professional.”