Questions & Artists: Pulse Artist Interviewer Randy Rasmussen

Longtime readers of the Peninsula Pulse’s arts section are familiar with the name Randy Rasmussen. He was the Sturgeon Bay painter and primary author behind the newspaper’s long-running “Questions & Artists” series highlighting the background, techniques and artworks of local, national and international artists working in a variety of media.

Those same readers have likely noticed it’s been a solid 12 months since his byline has appeared in the Pulse.

It turns out 2017 was a year of big changes in Randy’s life. He and his wife, Barbara, put their Sturgeon Bay house on the market and in December, traded water views for mountain vistas by settling in Billings, Montana. It was a life change that almost didn’t happen. Last fall, while returning from an early morning walk in Sturgeon Bay, Randy fell unconscious, the result of a blood clot in his lungs. He laid at the side of the road for 45 minutes until he was found and taken to Door County Medical Center. He was then transferred to a hospital in Green Bay, where he was under intensive care for five days.

Randy looks back on that pivotal week as “an incredible thing…I live life now more in the moment; I’m aware of my own mortality for the first time.”

I recently caught up with Randy to talk about his new life in Montana and interviewing artists for the Pulse. His work can be viewed in person at AMO Gallery in Sturgeon Bay and online at

“Labs” by Randy Rasmussen.

Alyssa Skiba (AS):  Randy, you started publishing your “Questions & Artists” series in the Pulse in 2008. How did that series start?

Randy Rasmussen (RR):  Originally I started doing those for the newsletter for the Door County Art League and somebody thought this should be in the Pulse so we started putting them in the Pulse and I developed a nice following. They especially liked when I would do artists from England and I started doing that because I had a series of videos with some of these artists. I still get Christmas cards from two of the artists in England.


AS:  Did you have guidelines for selecting artists to interview?

RR:  The people had to do work I liked (laughs) and maybe I’m not the greatest judge of art but I think I have a grasp of what is good art. Originally when I started, there were a lot of wonderful local artists and I interviewed someone that was into pottery and I did someone that was an oil painter and I did watercolorists. Basically I would meet people at some of the local shows I was in and strike up a conversation and say, “Would you be interested in doing an interview for the Peninsula Pulse?” I don’t think I was ever turned down for an interview.


“Winter” by Randy Rasmussen.

AS:  Do you have a favorite artist interview?

RR:  Steve Hall would be one of them. He was a watercolorist and he could never get it down…I think his background was in architectural drawing so he could never just let go. And then there was an artist named Edward Wesson and Edward Wesson was famous for his loose, wonderful watercolors so he (Steve) took a workshop with Wesson and he became so into the way Wesson painted. I think he’s done two books on Wesson. He teaches this loose style where you paint with big brushes.


AS:  What’s life like in Billings, Montana?

RR:  You can look out and see mountains in the distance and they really have a heavy snowpack. When snow melts here you can still look up in the mountains and see snowpack. I think it probably starts at about 4,000 feet. It’s an amazing place and we’re probably 140 miles from west Yellowstone so we plan on doing a lot of traveling. They don’t plow here. People just go and if you can’t go you just don’t go. They did plow the main roads with this last enormous snowfall and our road, it was probably four days until they plowed it. It’s a different world. Maybe the people are more self-reliant out here, that’s how I would describe it.


“Don” by Randy Rasmussen.

AS:  What types of painting do you plan to do in Montana?

RR:  I’m going to emphasize painting pets because I’ve already had somebody approach me about doing a painting of their dog. I’ll do plein air painting, I’ll do studio painting. Also I’ve learned this…you can do a lot of the work on the painting plein air but the way I paint now, which is a little different than I did paint in the past, I like to finish the painting off in the studio. Then there’s another revelation:  technology. I just got a new iPhone…just amazing the resolution you get with an iPhone. You never get any light bounce-back. It’s amazing. So I’ve added that to my repertoire.


AS:  Any big plans for the new year?

RR:  I’m just looking forward to mountain hiking and I’m probably going to find a pickup truck. You won’t see me in a cowboy hat but I want to be able to get in the bed of that pickup truck and set up my easel and paint out on the easel of the pickup truck. That gives you the nice view, you’re up a little bit higher. That’s my plan.


AS:  Any other words to share with your loyal Pulse readers?

RR:  You can tell them I miss all of them. I miss everyone from Door County.

Article Comments