A couple of friends and a Facebook algorithm have contacted me to see if I`m OK. They noticed I haven`t posted in a while. More often than not, when I sit down to write and show my new work, I really don`t know what to say. That doesn`t usually stop me. But I`m sick of my knees, sick about our country and until recently, didn`t have much painting to show either. But I began working outdoors in the warm light with my pals and it has helped me a lot. I painted the piece above last Friday on the bank above the canal. It began with lots of random brushstrokes and a poured on wash for a background. It didn`t take long for it to develop into an image of what I was feeling that morning, sitting in that rainforest above the water with my buddies.
We had two guest artists [anyone is welcome] along and the setting was lovely. Our long wet difficult winter has produced an even more extravagant spring than usual. Everything is huge and healthy.
This is a rare commission. My cousin wanted something like the post card sized painting I had given her two years ago. I thought, 'I can do that'. The whole task of painting by request is tricky business, too much most of the time. The client has legitimate desires, the artist has a personal vision. Getting these in agreement is not something I`m good at. Yet I paint forests all the time so I thought it a small risk. She`s on vacation so I don`t know what her reaction will be but if it isn`t what she hoped for, I`m fine with that. It will find a home in due time.
A practice exercise before hand.
My plein air effort from a week ago.
The demonstration painting I did in my studio on May 20th. I will revisit this I imagine. It doesn`t live up to its potential.
My first and only egg tempura, painted when I was nineteen. It`s a view from a tree I used to sit in, I was a devoted tree climber. I remember sometime in my 50`s realizing with sadness I wouldn`t be doing that ever again.
The two above were rescues of plein air attempts I made in a boat last year. They were awful and now are better but still fall short of doing that bluff justice. It`s an heroic mass of basalt rising out of the lake with all manner of colorful and decorative vegetation spilling from it. It reminds me of a Christmas tree.
After the election, in my despair I wanted badly to be of use to someone. Use my white maleness to protect something. The fear of what had just been unloosed was palpable.
Last Friday three men on a train in Portland were attacked for doing just that, shielding someone vulnerable, a muslim young woman and her friend. The men were stabbed in the throat and two of them died. Everyone is aware of the story.
That this unspeakable horror happened in daylight, on a commuter train in ultra liberal Portland has the community in shock. I`ve asked of myself since, would I have done anything? Would I be brave enough to confront a raving racist man? Would I remember and honor my instinct to protect?
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