Back At The Easel

June 6, 2009


Some paintings take a lot longer than others. That’s just the way it is. In my case, it usually has less to do with “artistic progress,” or “conceptual seasoning,” or some other such notion, than with my distracted state of mind, or the inevitable intervening demands of life. We all do what we can.

But wait! Oh, yeah. There’s also the weather. I cannot remember so much rain, in such an unbroken cycle. The plants out in the garden could not be happier, but we’re still waiting for the plaster guy to come back to give our old home another stab at watertight redemption.

As the torrential rains have continued to pummel the city, I’ve worked on the painting a bit inside, in my “indoor studio.” Tuesday it dawned on me: The Sun is shining! And so out I went and splashed away.

So here we are, so far. Our kitty Hoppers is indeed a young cat of few words, but he seems to generally approve of his rendering.

Grateful to know that you are out there. Thanks.


"Jade Vine," Latest

April 18, 2009



"Jade Vine," Third Sitting

March 16, 2009

Jade Vine 40″ X 40″ As of 3/15/2009, Third Sitting

I find myself in a bit of a race with the jade vine flowers. When it’s time to start dropping down in clusters and to burst out in unreal technicolor, it’s time. And there’s just no talking reason with them.


They do put on a show, for sure, but it’s as if they’re in a hurry to go back wherever it is they come from.


The painting as of the second sitting is in the post below. Sometimes painting is definitely not easy. When the “groove” isn’t there, for whatever reason, I can think of few things one might sit down to do that might feel such a battle and so personal, so challenging and relentless. That’s how it was yesterday. And yet I challenged myself a bit, and forced it. Usually I don’t. But the blooming vines gave me a reason, and besides: there’s always that hope of “click”…


And our cat Hoppers helped. Some time into that bleak sitting, he graciously leapt up on to the bench, near the painting’s center, and commenced to stretch out and relax.

I was so happy to have him there. We do love the boy. He is definitely a trip. Now, at least, the painting had an anchor.


Today, thank God, was different, and better. Everything about everything, about the day. And for that I am grateful.

Thanks, folks.




"Jade Vine," Third Sitting

March 16, 2009

Jade Vine 40″ X 40″ As of 3/15/2009, Third Sitting

I find myself in a bit of a race with the jade vine flowers. When it’s time to start dropping down in clusters and to burst out in unreal technicolor, it’s time. And there’s just no talking reason with them.


They do put on a show, for sure, but it’s as if they’re in a hurry to go back wherever it is they come from.


The painting as of the second sitting is in the post below. Sometimes painting is definitely not easy. When the “groove” isn’t there, for whatever reason, I can think of few things one might sit down to do that might feel such a battle and so personal, so challenging and relentless. That’s how it was yesterday. And yet I challenged myself a bit, and forced it. Usually I don’t. But the blooming vines gave me a reason, and besides: there’s always that hope of “click”…


And our cat Hoppers helped. Some time into that bleak sitting, he graciously leapt up on to the bench, near the painting’s center, and commenced to stretch out and relax.

I was so happy to have him there. We do love the boy. He is definitely a trip. Now, at least, the painting had an anchor.


Today, thank God, was different, and better. Everything about everything, about the day. And for that I am grateful.

Thanks, folks.




“Jade Vine,” Third Sitting

March 15, 2009

Jade Vine 40″ X 40″ As of 3/15/2009, Third Sitting

I find myself in a bit of a race with the jade vine flowers. When it’s time to start dropping down in clusters and to burst out in unreal technicolor, it’s time. And there’s just no talking reason with them.


They do put on a show, for sure, but it’s as if they’re in a hurry to go back wherever it is they come from.


The painting as of the second sitting is in the post below. Sometimes painting is definitely not easy. When the “groove” isn’t there, for whatever reason, I can think of few things one might sit down to do that might feel such a battle and so personal, so challenging and relentless. That’s how it was yesterday. And yet I challenged myself a bit, and forced it. Usually I don’t. But the blooming vines gave me a reason, and besides: there’s always that hope of “click”…


And our cat Hoppers helped. Some time into that bleak sitting, he graciously leapt up on to the bench, near the painting’s center, and commenced to stretch out and relax.

I was so happy to have him there. We do love the boy. He is definitely a trip. Now, at least, the painting had an anchor.


Today, thank God, was different, and better. Everything about everything, about the day. And for that I am grateful.

Thanks, folks.




"Jade Vine," Second Sitting

March 10, 2009


Latest Work in Progress, Wet on the Easel, and a Poem

March 6, 2009

Jade Vine 40″ X 40″ Oil on Canvas First sitting

Yesterday I painted like a madman, and it felt great. It was one of those sensationally beautiful Florida winter kind of days, sunny, crisp, and cool enough to wear a sweater. I had to go outside; there was really no helping it… That “itch” to head out and paint has been following close as a shadow lately, and getting closer. For me, that is an excellent thing, maybe the best thing. And so everything came together, miraculous in a quiet sort of way. It is always a sweet experience to give in to a blessing…

There is no explaining it, really, and so I give you one of my favorite poems, by the sublime, drunk, and utterly cantankerous Charles Bukowski :

the click of miracle

at the quarterhorse meet

at Hollywood Park

around 5 p.m.

if you are sitting at

ground level

in the

Pavilion

the track appears

to

be

above you

and

in the strange

shadow-

sunlight

the silks

are

so

bright

the color

is

like

fresh paint

on

canvas

and

the faces of

the

jocks

look

heroic.

it’s a

grand

time

then

a perfect

and

peaceful

photograph

dream-

like.

such small

moments

keep

people

alive.

such small

moments

so

large

when

it

all

comes

together

and

holds.

__________________________________________________________________

About halfway, to wherever!

This is a fairly large canvas at 40″ square, so I had quite a session. I set up my easel and supplies just next door, in the backyard of the Mission facing back towards our house.



After two or three hours it occurred to me to put down the brushes, as paint was flying everywhere anyway, and squeeze globs of color directly from the tubes on to the canvas. I was looking for nice chunky texture in the canopy above. The last hour and some my fingers danced across the canvas, playing with the color, allowing a creative freedom the brushes (though willing) could not give me.
I was a mess. My hands looked like a psychedelic rainbow. It was fun.



The painting will live up to its name. Though no flowering blossoms are to be seen just yet, they are present, in force, and ready to burst into profligate color day by day. They truly know no shame. Thank God!

The thin, textured “stringbeans” hanging down are blossoms, ready to “happen.”

Most of the green you see above the ground in the painting, including the wildly twisting branches, is the jade vine plant. This one, a gift from us to our former neighbor and “forever friend” Vivian Howard about ten years ago, always produced flowers as if there were to be no tomorrow. Maybe it knows something that we do not, and maybe it doesn’t. But in either case, now seems an excellent time to follow its lead, and seek out and express our passions as never before. The good news is: never have we had so little to lose. Nor so much to gain.



Note to self: trade in constant “busyness” in every waking moment for time to breathe: to savor, anticipate, and appreciate. The drama is all around, and I mean everywhere, all the time, and of every conceivable type, shape, size, etc., etc. So the question is: what kind will you choose to “tune in” to? Do we not make such choices every day? Are we not always free to “choose again?”

O.K., got it. I’ll add that to my list. : ) Sigh…

Thanks for stopping in. I do appreciate it.

Vine in bloom, March 2008.