Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wardrobe Change.....
Spring has arrived in NC. My windows are wide open, the birds are going nuts, the air is filled with the sound of buzzy lawn-grooming instruments (remember that I live on a street of retirees) and it is in the high 70s today. My whole life, I have always had pretty severe cases of Spring Fever, but after spending 10 years in Miami and moving back to the land of four seasons, this condition has been amplified. Buds on trees send me into a kind of rapture, and I want to spend all day outside, sniffing the air and planting things.
This means that it is time to put away the winter painting uniform of overalls and break out all the old cotton dresses, too ratty to wear in public (except to get the mail and drive through Starbucks), but perfect for wiping your paint brushes on, and allowing for freedom of movement and air circulation, an essential for great painting. ; )
With "Blessed Art Thou", I actually donned one pair of overalls to paint the entire painting (with 2x weekly washings, which does not harm the paint), so that all the colors would be recorded on them. On the day that I wrapped the painting in my garage, the seat of the pants, worn so thin from sitting on the floor and painting, ripped, marking the end of the painting and the retirement of the pants. So I filed them in the archive box with all the sketches and reference photos.
This kind of thing happens to me all the time, a signal that something is finished. When I was still an undergrad at SUNY B, my painting teachers, like many at that time, did not tell us anything about painting technique, so I learned everything I know about glazing from library books. At that time, I was interested in trompe l'oeil painting, so I set up a shallow-space still life on one of those knick-knack curio shelves in my studio, (my parent's basement), and worked on it for an entire year, in addition to the art projects I was doing for school. I was consumed with making the glass look like glass, getting just the right sheen on the piece of ribbon, suggesting the wood grain patterns, etc. The still life began to gather dust, which I incorporated into the painting. Because trompe l'oeil painting is supposed to fool the eye, (and because of my latent OC tendencies), I started to wonder when the painting would be finished, because I could have kept refining it forever. One year and one week after I began the painting, I came down to the studio to find that the entire still life had crashed to the floor, answering my question and ending my fretting.



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