Titles were very important to Richard, and give evidence that the images were drawn from his most painful memories. But from that he made paintings of depth and beauty by layering, sanding and adding more layers until the work was soft and luminous.
The excerpt below is with permission from John King’s Richard Case, Ultimate Passage, 2009.
”One of Richard Case’s first jobs was as an illustrator for Walt Disney Studios. He drove a ‘hot’ yellow car and made some good money. He said that back then Walt would occasionally hang out with them outside during a lunch break and share some laughs.
”World War II came along and Richard found himself [navigating a very small craft in the Pacific.] When Richard returned home he decided to work as an illustrator for McDonnell Douglas after years of freelance story illustration, making lifelike sketches of airplanes and thunderous rockets blasting off into space.
”He had a good time working there with the other illustrators in an old part of the building where they dressed casually and had the place to themselves. On any given day a half dozen fancy flies could be seen buzzing around with long paper streamers glued to their backsides. This ended as all good things usually do when the illustrators were transferred to another wing where they had to shape up and were made to wear suits and ties.
”Richard was living as good a life as anyone could, with his young wife Mary and two children, Randy and Regina, until Mary died suddenly from a brain tumor, which had been misdiagnosed as ‘hallucinations.’
”The hardship of unfairly losing the love of his life and raising two children on his own took their toll on Richard.
”He found some relief at 55 when he inherited a little money. This enabled him to quit work and focus on his other true love, abstract painting. This consumed him daily. I don’t remember a day from when I first met Richard until his last days that he would not be found applying paint to canvas, rising at 4 a.m. to begin and stopping only around 4 p.m. to have a glass or two of red wine before reclining in his chair to devour a good book.
”Richard’s paintings are always loaded with emotion. They depict stories from the Bible, rages against the anguish of losing his wife and flashbacks from an inhuman war. Richard never backed down from his convictions whether he was applying them to canvas or working them out during a conversation.
”While painting, he never wavered; his abstractions were true expressions from the depths of his soul, the finished canvases stopping you dead in your tracks with their raw brush strokes, underlying emotion and vivid intensity. And if you wanted to argue with him later... Richard was always glad to set you straight.”
Written by John King in June 2009.
The C Street Hall Gallery will be open for Arts Alive, March 2 from noon to 9 p.m. at 208 C Street, Eureka, upstairs.
Dead Man Waters by Richard Case (2004)