Here is a photo of some recent work. The top painting is my son John aboard The Betty Jane. I applied paint to the large, middle painting or the first time yesterday. I spent the two previous days working on the drawing exclusively. It’s called Dinner in Trenton. The bottom painting is a small-format version…
It snowed yesterday.
I listened to songs by PJ Harvey during this morning’s painting session (actually drawing session). Her songs are filled with the kind of poetry that tears you up–just what I like. Many of her songs are inspired by history, like WWI. That’s pretty unique. Anyway, I found a temporary solution to my slipping easel problem. A large binder clip fastened to the spine provides enough firmness to hold the cross-brace in place. Applying paint while the entire painting slides beneath your brush is VERY ANNOYING.
Those aren’t whitecaps on Lake Erie but ice flows loosened from the thawing ice–but I’ll take it! We knew spring was finally arriving when we were able to keep the bedroom door open to last night’s warm breezes. It’s still too soon to hear the soothing sound of rolling waves, but–man o’ man!–it is sweet…
Yesterday’s rant started as the preamble to a much longer post about painting techniques and the craft of painting. The soon-to-be-published post is already too long so I removed the preamble. By itself, the preamble is rather mysterious and lacks context. I try to talk straight here and pull no punches, but ranting is not my style. Anyway, so much for that.
I was taught nothing of practical use about painting when I was a student. Worse than the daily dose of esoteric BS was the relentless, sneering attack on the subjects of technique and history, which were held in utter contempt. Pollack, so I was lectured, allowed his brushes to dry in cans of house paint, which he drizzled from stiff bristles onto unprimmed canvas on the floor. If that was good enough for him, it’s good enough for you–so said they. I wrote elsewhere about one professor’s favorite piece of painting gear–fishing boots. My artistic education can be summed up this way: daily attempt by inept professors to destroy the same clumsily constructed straw man. No questioning the received dogma; that was the way it was–and worse
Rubbish–worse than rubbish. Not only not true, not even important to the discussion–mere fashion. Worst of of all, it was all served up without the least bit of humor.
I plan on visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art’s exhibition van Gogh Repetitions later today. It will be my third visit to see it. The show has a number of first rate van Gogh’s and the theme–the artist copying himself–is interesting. I will write more about it later.
Cerulean blues is an extremely important color. Besides being a core blue (it should be on every palette), it forms complementary tones with most orange-brown colors, such as burnt sienna (another very useful color). Its usefulness is unfortunate because it’s so blasted expensive–one of the most expensive paints on the market. My oil paint brand reference…