Many of Raimonds Staprans’s paintings showcase the landscape and architecture of California as rooted equally in reality and in the artist’s imagination. Taut contours and bold hues define fields, marinas, lone trees, and architecture—all devoid of people—while scorching sunlight descends from skies of the deepest blue. His still lifes of fruit, artist’s materials, and chairs share a quality of light and rich color—sometimes a full prismatic spectrum—that imbue them with a pervasive loneliness. The assertive brushwork and traces of revision present in all his work remind the viewer that his chief reality is paint on canvas, his subjects formal elements in his process.
A resident of San Francisco, Staprans has called Northern California home for nearly his entire artistic career, more than sixty years. He describes his paintings as “purely Californian.” They each carry his signature palette of saturated blues, oranges, greens, and yellows. They are exercises in color, light, geometry, and perception. His depth of experience in the Golden State has resulted in work in sync with contemporaries in the San Francisco Bay Area such as Richard Diebenkorn, Gregory Kondos, and Wayne Thiebaud.
(Photo: Raimonds Staprans, Afternoon 5, 1986, acrylic on canvas, 43 7/8 × 48 1/8 inches, Promised Gift to the Crocker Art Museum from the Collection of Jane Olaug Kristiansen and Patricia O'Grady)