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Randy Stout is a student. He’s taken something away from everything that he’s done, and if you ask him, he’s better for it.
A fourth generation Sheridan-ite, Randy spends his time focused. But not too focused.
“It’s really hard to be an artist and to be disciplined at the same time. But I like that dichotomy.”
Rather than tell us about all of the work he’s done and the work he plans to do, Stout shared with us his perspective. He looks at things with hope and practicality, with an eye for learning. All of the mumbo-jumbo we complain about having learned in highschool that we don’t need? Randy would argue the opposite.
“If you don’t learn it, you’re not going to use it. If you learn it, you will use it. There’s nothing not worth learning. Everything’s important.”
Through experience and observation, Randy has developed a style driven by a quest for the next layer, the added depth. He’s completed this quest several times, but with each new piece, he starts again from the beginning, each time less conscious that he’s even in pursuit.
“It just happens. I think it’s sort of analogous to talk about tools, and your tools get sharper as you use them.”
We asked him to describe what he does on a canvas, and initially, he said “I paint rocks and trees.” But with some more digging, we found out that, while he does certainly paint rocks and trees, Stout gets so focused on his work that he gets lost. Chew on that one for a minute.
“There’s so much going on, and you’re just consumed when you go into the little rectangle.”
Randy Stout is lighthearted, but diligently focused at the same time. Though he’s a self described “really old beginner,” Randy has spent a day or two, maybe three, with a brush in his hand in the throws of nature and all of her glory, and through all of this he’s gained an admirable ability to hyperfocus.
“It’s hard to focus, but then you do focus. If you focus on it long enough then you’ll start to understand it.”
Stout probably wouldn’t agree with our analysis that he’s sufficiently focused, but the way he talked of his sight, his view, and his observation would suggest otherwise. Plus, we’re writing this, so we really could say whatever we want to. But we won’t do that because we’re pretty darn fond of Randy.
We asked him how his artist’s focus played into his daily life, and he had some intriguing and diverse examples for us.
“It’s just a deeper understanding. You see more and more, and get more out of relationships. When people look at a house, they see a house. When you’ve become an artist, you look at the house and start to see the different shapes of the house. The different values, and different lines. You just start to notice more and more.”
An explanation followed by this chuckled statement:
“I’m not allowed to drive a lot.”
Randy Stout is “working on” growing up here in Sheridan, and has been pretty much forever. He’s spent some time hither and thither, sure, but he’ll always call the Bighorns home, and plans to spend “oh, the next hundred years or so” sketching on the Solitude Trail.
“It’s this unbelievably fantastic place that we live in. You can go all over the world and things are different, but I couldn’t really say anywhere’s better.”