Randolph H. Wolf

About Myself and my painting (momentarily)

I was born on August 17, 1950 in Columbus, Ohio as Randolph Harold Krebs. After High School I studied sporadically at the Ohio State University's College of Arts and Sciences and took part time courses at the Columbus College of Art and Design - until military service interrupted my schooling in 1969.

After serving in the U.S. Army, I moved around to New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, thumbing across the country from the east coast to the west coast and back in 1970, 1971 and 1972, often working in Galleries hanging pictures for exhibitions to earn my keep.

I kept a journal recording my experiences and impressions. I became bored with college and undertook a trip to Germany in October 1972 in order to learn the German language. I began in Ebersberg, a town close to München and then advanced on to Göttingen. There I subsequently studied Medicine at the Georg-August Universität.

Afterwards I lived in Plön, Mölln and Lübeck, working as a physician. In 2009 I and my partner moved to Stralsund which lies on the Baltic Sea in what used to be the German Democratic Republic. I married Olga Wolf in 2014 (whereby I gave up my "maiden name" Krebs) and have lived and worked in Stralsund and Zarrendorf ever since. I moved into my own Studio in Zarrendorf in February 2018 after renovating a building behind the house where we live. 

I use various techniques, often combining them in a contemporary way:  Acrylic und oil, blackboard paint, pastel chalk and pencils, ink, colored pencil, gold leaf and metal leaf, patinated and non-patinated silver and copper, gouache, silk screen, lithography on handmade paper and on canvas, acrylic glass and plywood. 

I make use of images that make a pattern, often reminding me of something else; a figure, a face, an animal or just an elegant ornamental form. It's like looking at the floor while waiting somewhere and seeing images of torsos and bison and faces appearing out of the tiles. It's the creation of images that weren’t there before in my mind’s eye.

The "Hieros" were created by light reflection on water, on which a light breeze dances. The forms and rhythms are selected and combined in different techniques. The forms created by reflection are reused unchanged and are partly reminiscent of mythological creatures, animals or human figures that stimulate the imagination of the viewer and present pictures that emerge individually from the associations and experiences of the viewer, such as in the Rohrschach  ink stains. At first, I painted out realistic interpretations using the associations which presented themselves, but stopped changing the images because I would often see something else in the same motive a while later. I am completely fascinated with the phenomena of rust and agedness on weather-beaten objects and surfaces and the patterns they bring about. 

 In this sense rendering is a basic component in the expression of what I see. Diego Velasquez paintings and even James McNeil Whistler's drawings along with the incomparable and powerful expressiveness in relatively few lines drawn by Rembrandt van Rijn leave me both breathless and envious.

The rendering of a tree, face, building or an animal with a simple broken piece of conte are forms we can easily associate with. Although these things, beings, and objects are individually different from one another, they are recognizable and can be categorized in our memories. Forms we've never seen before cannot be easily categorized, there is no existing drawer in our minds to place them.

So, we really have to look at them to perceive them. Where does this new unknown form belong? Do I know it? This is a process which takes place in the observer. It's his or her own chemistry of experience, that convey emotional information from color combinations and forms rendered on surfaces.

These are perceived and felt differently by different observers. By putting two or more forms overlapping or against each other, movement can be suggested, like a subtle ballet of forms and colors.  Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner and Jackson PollockCy Twombly, Joan Mitchell....if their paintings were music, what would they sound like?

Elated with how color themselves seem to change when placed next to other colors, somewhere in the brain's eye, I have avoided blending the colors, but prefer, at least at this moment in time, to put them unmixed boldly contrasting, tantalizing or complementing each other side by side, mostly in lieu of brush strokes.


I wish to share the exhilarating experience of painting, and of course the results. I therefore invite you to take the time to really look at one of my paintings, see into it and experience it. For me the main purpose of looking at a painting is to let it work on me and recognize what is it doing to me while I'm contemplating it.  Flaubert said "Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough. " Looking at art teaches empathy. It also decelerates time in our hectic world, it can determine moods and move souls.


Randolph H. Wolf