My husband was not used to the quiet demeanor I sported at dinner last night, our 20th dinner out since "the big crunch" began. I was reticent and contemplative, experiencing the kind of rare, deep regret that makes you replay childish scenarios, "If only it was five hours ago...", or "maybe it was a dream, and I will wake up and have my white dress back...". I had come out of the green glaze dilemma with a victory, maybe I could do the same with the blue glaze, but I was dubious. Mostly I was in mourning... visualizing the subtle white cloud of puddled skirt over the background clouds over and over.
Doing the kind of painting that I do requires an incredible amount of faith. I spent a lot of time getting colors just right in the Wal Mart, for example, then put a green glaze over the whole thing. If it doesn't work, there is no way to take it back or undo it. I usually glaze a small amount on the side of the painting to test, but that only gives you a rough idea about how it will look over one color.
I spent last night glazing white (for highlights) on the blue dress. When I went to bed around 1, I had a dream where I saw my friend George, who passed away last year. I don't remember what happened in the dream, but I awoke feeling that the painting was going to be ok. I got up this morning, and decided that the one glaze that I had time to do would be ultramarine blue, like the Marys in the paintings of old. I got started, and a ladybug flew on to my painting.
It has been freezing at night, so I don't know how it survived and made it into my studio, but I took it as another good omen. As I put down the blue, I kept stepping back to look at it, and felt increasingly better: the figure has more "punch" now, the hair and sash are not the only dark values, so the grouping is more unified against the clouds. I think the clouds have lost some impact, as the blue dress is stronger than the blue of the clouds. Her dress is more "Mary-like". Pluses and minuses. I worked through the morning, and now I am declaring it finished: (click on image to enlarge)
"Blessed Art Thou", 2006, 88" x 60", acrylic & oil on linen.