One artist’s ‘Alterity’ is a celebration of many things, especially highlighted in ‘Magenta red’

"Magenta Red" by William Sig Rundstrom, now on display at The Arts Guild of Sonoma, CA. Photo courtesy of William Sig Rundstrom 2022.

For the past two years since COVID-19, Sonoma artist William Sig Rundstrom has been on an outpouring of a creativity surge that like the pandemic has been unprecedented. “It’s all about ‘Mr. Mojo’ says Rundstrom. Just when I think I’m slowing down after a few paintings, I get another push of energy and I’m back in the creative zone again with ‘Mr. Mojo’ I’ve never done this amount of work, it’s perhaps the most productive time of my life.”

Sonoma artist William Sig Rundstrom with his “Alterity” painting now on display at The Arts Guild of Sonoma, CA.

Being accepted to the Arts Guild of Somoma last year was an honor. And, now as the New Year has begun he is pleased to start 2022 with another exhibit at ‘The Guild.’ This one is entitled ‘Alterity.’

Like the title, Rundstrom expresses something different. His ‘Alterity’ is perhaps in his versatility. To categorize him as an “abstract painter” is shortsighted as Board of Directors member Gail Duffley, speaking on behalf of The Arts Guild of Somoma explained. “What struck the committee was the passion and fearlessness of Sig’s work.”

‘The Guild’ goes through an extensive process when admitting new members” she said. And then selecting pieces of work to display in the Guild’s Gallery is another process.

Duffley explained further. “When the Guild reviews an artist’s work we are looking for a body of work and vision from the artist that is demonstrated in the work.”

Unassuming and approachable, Rundstrom likes to be called ‘Sig’ by friends and colleagues. The beauty of the Sonoma Valley has captivated him and his wife Charlene for decades. And, it is Sig’s fascination with that natural beauty that keeps his art alive. (Perhaps with or without the infusion of a ‘Mr. Mojo’).

“Magenta Red” by William Sig Rundstrom, now on display at The Arts Guild of Sonoma, CA.

Along with his work “Alterity” at The Guild gallery currently there is a series on display called “Magenta Red.”

When asked if this was a still-life painting put together during a sunrise or sunset out in a field or vineyard, in Somoma Sig clarified. “I just fell in love with the color of the Magenta red paint and once I started putting the paint on the canvas which had to be worked rapidly, said Sig. The work just evolved. It had nothing to do with time of the day, evening or sunrise but all to do with my mind at that time.”

“Alterity… and Magenta Red, said Sig are both what I like to call ‘mind paintings’ he said, as they are done entirely from my mind and evolve as I am painting them.”

“There are no underlying sketches or preliminary drawings or photo references,” Sig emphasized.

Unlike primary red, Magenta red is unique according to some art critics and historians. “Magenta is the color of universal harmony and emotional balance, says Matthew Sheridan, CEO & Founder of Nix Sensor, LTD. Nix Sensor LTD is a world- leader in digital color sensing equipment. Nix Sensor, LTD has details about the use of colors and art materials in an informative blog at its web site.

“Magenta contains the passion, power and energy of red, restrained by the introspection and quiet energy of violet, noted Sheridan. It promotes compassion, kindness and cooperation. The color magenta is a color of cheerfulness, happiness, contentment and appreciation.”   Sig’s use of such a distinct type of red does make a powerful statement.

“Art is emotional said Duffley. And, we look for that spirit to show in the work. The artist is putting him or herself into the work in the hopes that the viewer is drawn in and reacts to the work whether provoked or contemplative.”  Taken aback by such bold hues of red, and yet very impressed, Duffley noted.

“We also care about quality of the work and look for art to meet the highest standards. Prior to Sig joining ‘the Guild’ (in 2020) five of our artists were screened into the De Young Museum anniversary show, (reported by The Sonoma Valley Sun) she added. Quite an honor for us here in Sonoma, a small, local Guild.”

Shying away from words like “impressionist” as labels, Sig doesn’t mind people saying them to start a conversation about his work. He does refer to a few of his works as “impressionistic landscapes.” Sig understands these are only words of description. Yet he gently in his down-to-earth way firmly defies being “labeled” and “categorized.” This could be why Sig likes to paint large-scale.

For some people, just when they think Sig is just an abstract artist, he emerges with another subject or technique in his work. For example, the painting Alli and Flash. It came about as I became fascinated with hummingbirds.

Now on display at The Arts Guild of Sonoma, William Sig Rundstrom’s depiction of hummingbirds he and wife Charlene see each day at their home in Sonoma, CA.

It all started when one year we were getting an extraordinary number of humming birds to our hummingbird feeders everyday. We figured there was a change in the hummingbirds flight pattern due to some change in weather conditions. Charlene and I were taking turns in shifts filling up four humming bird feeders.  We usually have a few hummingbirds that stay all year, said Sig and a few that we see so much we have names for them.”

Illustrating the distinction of character and personality among them, Sig noted. “Alli is the hummingbird that tries to guard all the feeders and will only let a few other hummers drink.  Flash in contrast, said Sig has a kind of bronze color when he turns his head just so.” It is this distinction and commitment to detail in particular that got The Guild’s attention.

“He works in multiple mediums and interesting techniques like scratch (Sgraffito) painting that are unusual, said Duffley. Sig is prolific and very creative.”

William Sig Rundstrom’s art will continue to be on display at the Arts Guild of Sonoma for the rest of February until the end of March, along with these other artists: Christine Gonzalves, Susan Heeringa-Pieper, Nancy Martin, Kent Parker Julia Pozsgai, Lyn Swan, BJ Beck, Katerina Capetanos, Irene Ehret, Zaza Fetterly, Paul Ford, Peggy Francis, Howard Hardie, Gayle Manfre, Margery Mayer, Pat Meier-Johnson, Martin Munson and Norm Worth. For more details visit The Arts Guild of Somoma website.