it’s getting to the point where the urge to abandon myself to the paint becomes stronger. i keep wanting to splash and dribble, to flow it from the end of the brush, to swirl gobs of color onto waiting, longing fiber.
sorry the picture’s blurry, tho. i hate digital cameras because they take so long to snap the picture that i can’t possibly hold still, quiet my heartbeat, stop breathing, and refrain from weaving on my feet. it usually blurs. i’m too impatient to use the damn tripod.
so. today i went after more things that require abandon. i’m mentioning abandon so often that i might as well clear it up a little. by abandon, i mean throwing myself into the act of painting. not so much the rational, detail oriented painter, but the mad, emotional, instinctive painter. caravaggio versus van gogh.
this is a better picture. about the only use of the first picture is to show how i made a very quick alteration in the rocks lining the pond on the left and at the bottom – yellow ochre. now you can see them.
next i scrubbed the top of the hedge of rosemary behind the boy. i’d made it too dark and had to get the lights back. did i say how much i love being able to scrub this watercolor paper? it’s a joy to be able to correct mistakes in watercolors. i find myself happy to find a place that i’d already painted in green that needs to be red.
in filling in the darks, as in on the right hand side with the broom (i call it broom, but broom has yellow blooms, and these are red, so i don’t know what the fuck they really are), what i’m really doing is filling in all the light areas until there are no more. it’s simple, but not really. because each spot filled in is some varying shade of grayed green than any other spot nearby, and i’ve got to pay attention to this, because when i step back and it’s all finished, it’s not going to look three dimensional unless i’ve followed what i’ve been seeing.
because, if you hadn’t noticed, i’m not really an artist. i’m a copyist. i can make pretty good copies of things that i see. they all come out with my particular astigmatism, my particular emotion-based handwriting, but they’re still just copies. that’s one of the reasons why i gave up watercolors and moved thru the media until i landed in hot wax and fabrics. i don’t have to just copy in encaustic, or in fabric art. i can’t just copy. i have to interpret. i have to let the materials have their place, and can’t just make it look photorealistic the way i can in watercolor.
a funny thing, that. i started out so precise, so photoreal, and got tired of it about 15 years ago and began to move toward abstraction (not very far toward, but way away from photos). then about 6 years ago i started hanging out with jim, and went to openings at his gallery, where others artists were doing the most amazing photorealistic paintings. all works of art. all really good sellers. i was jealous for a moment. if only i’d continued down the path of precision, i could be where they are now.
i can say this about many things. if only i’d continued exploring herbal cosmetics back in the 80s, i would have my own multimillion dollar company now. if only i’d written that astrology book back in the late 70s, i would be a world renowned expert now. if only i still painted anal-retentive paintings, i’d be a famous artist now.
it’s a question of karma, really.
i’ve never been cut out for a normal life. i’ve always had unique lessons to learn, and it’s always been really obvious to me that my life was more about learning the lessons than making any kind of ‘approved’ progress. so while others would have had the opportunity to germinate an idea and carry it to fruition, i’m kind of on the path of finding out why the business model is faulty.
i’m not being very clear. it’s not my path to be a famous something, an established something. to work at something for years until i am the resident expert and know every nook and cranny of my field. to work the industry, to be tireless in my self promotion, to have a niche that i jealously guarded. a career.
but something has kept me from ever following down a path long enough to establish a career. and if i don’t decide on my own that i’ve had enough, then i step over some line and others decide it for me.
i’m here to study the path, rather than to truck down it. to watch others walking the path.
my friend brendan once remarked that he was like the lake, and i was like the stream, in that he wasn’t going anywhere, and i was a comparative gadfly.
what i’m trying to say is like that, only different.
anyway, never mind about the famous artist thing. famous is never a good idea.
after i fiddled with the broom on the right, i fiddled with the top of the painting, which until now has been just the first highlights i put on it lo those many years ago. i decided what to do with it today, and that’s why something’s being done. i might have left it just the way it was. but today i looked at the reference photo and thought, why not put in a few things in the background? i’ll just keep it nice and blurry, and that’ll be fine. more fine than having blurry foliage on the left side’s going to be, but maybe any blurry things will make any other blurry things look more okay.
after scrubbing the top of the hedge, i went back with my pencil and outlined where the tops were going to be. and then i put the tops in very lightly with permanent green (which has phthalo in it). i went over the whole back-background with the pencil, and outlined any large blotches of color, and then i took a brownish red (god knows what pigment it is) and started putting in a japanese maple in the next yard. i put in heavier pigment for the darker parts of the foliage that you can see in the shadows, and put in a mixture of the same red with moonglow (a mixed black) and a dollop of ultramarine.
behind the kid’s head, i mean the bowl on top of the kid’s head, i built out the flower rising from the plastic pot, and started laying in the light-to-dark progression of the plants on the trellis in the center of the far background. and that’s as far as i got. it was dark, and jim came downstairs with the dogs already in their leashes, dinner to make, and a movie to watch. but here i am, not three hours later, writing down all i did today.
and more tomorrow. jim’s going over to see his little friends, and i’ll be by myself all afternoon and evening. which means loads of reading about the iceland volcanoes, and loads of pottering around the garden pulling the prodigious weeds we’re having this season.