November 19, 2009 in Washington Voices

Memories shine through her paintings

Jennifer Larue
Jesse Tinsley photo

Emma Randolph, 86, has been an accomplished artist for many years, and her art – oils, pastels, watercolors and pencil – can been seen at Gallery of Thum’, Area 58 and in the offices of attorney Robert Wall.
(Full-size photo)

More about Randolph’s work

For more information on Emma Randolph’s work, call Area 58 at (509) 327-0427 or Gallery of Thum’ at (509) 294-9234.

Art quote of the week

“The artist has a special task and duty: the task of reminding men of their humanity and the promise of their creativity.”

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), historian and philosopher

Emma Randolph has been an artist for 72 years. She grew up in Sandy, Utah, in a household where singing, sewing and painting were the norm.

Randolph, 86, picked up a paintbrush when she was 14, and it became just another appendage to her full and rewarding life. “Life has been wonderful. I can look back on it with pride,” she said. “Painting is rewarding. All your hopes and dreams become alive on paper or canvas and are captured forever as memories.”

Randolph received a fine arts degree from the University of Utah with majors in art and costume design. She married Walter Randolph in 1945. “He thought I was the greatest artist in the world,” Randolph said.

They moved to the Spokane area, and in 1957 her husband announced that he was bored and wanted to live somewhere else. Bermuda sounded good, so they called ahead, secured a job for Walter as head of civilian personnel at an Air Force base in Bermuda and off they went.

In Bermuda, Emma Randolph worked as an artist. She began making costumes for a local theater, earned herself a name and began costuming for films shot in the area including costumes for Burl Ives and Connie Sellecca in the film “Bermuda Depths.” She dressed actors in dozens of films, even traveling to New York and Washington, D.C., for fittings. She also made wedding and bridesmaid dresses, which led her to planning weddings.

All the while, she painted and showed in galleries. She sold many seascapes and landscapes to tourists. “I sent my daughters through college doing that,” she said, “My paintings are on every continent.”

In 1978, her husband retired, and they moved back to Spokane. He was 90 when he died about 1 ½ years ago.

Emma Randolph became active in the art community here, showing at area galleries and teaching art. She was one of the founding members of the River Ridge Art Association and served as president for many years.

Randolph has worked in watercolor, colored pencils and pastels. Her favorite medium is oil. Her style is traditional with the occasional contemporary piece like her unique depiction of Spokane done with angular blocks of color, the curve of bridge support and the tilted pavilion. Her skill is illustrated in the lifelike flowers, hushed landscapes and captured emotions in her portraits.

Currently she shows at Gallery of Thum’, 158 S. Lincoln St.

“I saw Emma’s work 20 years ago in Cancun and later in Florida. Her work is filled with light, serenity and peace. I own three of her pieces and was elated to find she lived in Spokane,” said Gallery of Thum’ owner Cecile Charles. “She’s been an inspiration to me.”

Randolph also shows at Area 58, 3036 N. Monroe St., and more than 20 of her paintings adorn the walls of a local attorney’s office.

Randolph’s rich history and love of life are captured in thousands of paintings serving as memories for her and others.

“My goal in painting is to bring my personal impression of the beauty of the world to the people who view my work,” she said.

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