Still There….


Don’t judge your creative efforts: focus on process, not product.  Julia Cameron

Nov 11, ‘14

There was sun and warmth  today, but not much.  The day started gray and chilly, became sunny and seasonably warm by 10:30 – 2:30 and then began to sink into gray, cloudy and chilly and by now, is sunk into dark.  According to the weather forecast, we’ll have one more day of relative warmth and then Thursday a big change into COLD.

I was up early and after 2 cups of coffee and too much time on Facebook, I started work around 9 a.m.    When the sun broke through and the day warmed-up, I experienced a few moments of bliss and felt very happy.  I quit work around 11:30, cleaned up, dressed up a bit and drove a few blocks across town to have lunch with a dear friend.  I was home by 2 and painted for awhile more until the day grew too dark and cold to do any more.

I’ve had a peaceful, pleasant day for which I’m most grateful.

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Still There Before

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Still There After

The title of this painting is Still There.  It was done on Sept 16, ’01 and is part of a series of paintings and drawings I did while going through shock and fear in the aftermath of the World Trade Tower destruction on 91101.  For a few days after the bombings I spent hours in front of the tv watching the destruction over and over and over.  The weather in that time was great!  I also had a cold.  It took a great deal of effort and determination to get off my couch and out the door.

I chose this spot because of the flags and because of the jet trails criss-crossing the sky.  For many days there had been no planes in the sky and no familiar jet trails.  That, in itself was an unusual event.  The spot was also sunny; I recall the warmth and the sound of crickets chirping in the field behind me where I’d parked my car.  There were many people there, that day.  They were also drawn to the flags.  There was much conversation with strangers about the beautiful day and the awfulness of 091101.  The entire time I spent at the cemetery had the atmosphere of a gathering after a funeral.  Letting it go, celebrating our loss and our lives, moving on….

Here are the notes I wrote in the margins of this painting:  “At the Bantam Cemetery – A beautiful day and many people stopping by to reflect-meditate- at this display of flags.  The flags are at half-mast – a day of mourning – grief – and people being together on this beautiful day of Sorrow for ourselves and for those lost to senseless destruction and violence in the World Trade Tower Terrorist Attack of Sept 11.”

This painting was once in a show.  I remember being somewhat dismayed that it appeared quite gray and colorless in a matte and frame and in the light of the gallery where I showed it which is why it ended up in the re-do pile when the show was over.

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Peaches and Hiroshige BEFORE

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Peaches and Hiroshige AFTER

Peaches and Hiroshige:  This is another painting slated for the Peaches and Postcards show which was never finished.  I spilled white paint on it and felt very disgusted with myself for being so careless.  There are 2 streaks of white paint under the block with the B.    It’s acrylic ceiling paint and quite stuck to the paper.  I was also unhappy with the background, felt it was gray to the  point of appearing to be dirty.  The gray background and the shadows in the areas representing white cloth are what I worked on today as well as the brownish-reddish cloth in the foreground.  This is a large painting, done on a half-sheet of watercolor paper.

The peaches and grapes in the bowl are artificial.  The bowl, which I still have, was made by one of my sisters, a very accomplished artist and potter.  The checked cloth is my dear old vintage feedsack, then there’s the old familiar Dala horse and the pink flowers on the old napkin.  The 2 cherries are artificial and much beloved by Albert who steals them for play any time he finds one, even if it’s part of a setup.  The Artist featured on this postcard is Hiroshige, an artist whose work I’ve deeply admired since I was a young child devouring Art books in the town library.

Utagawa Hiroshige  also  Andō Hiroshige (Japanese)  1797 – 12 October 1858) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, considered the last great master of that tradition.

I selected the card I used behind the Hiroshige card because of the brownish-gold color in the upper right hand corner.

I don’t remember where I got the toy block,  or the other 2 I sometimes use in paintings.  I have a block with a B, G and Y.  If there’s any meaning in the B on the block in the painting it’s  BE!  Y asks a question.  G is me.

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8 Responses to Still There….

  1. beetleypete says:

    I am a little torn over these pictures. The bottom one, of the peaches, is definitely improved by the work done, but the spilt paint is definitely standing out. I presumed that it was deliberate, had you had not told otherwise. The second picture of the flag painting is also much sharper, especially the wall and the flags, after the adjustments. However, I actually prefer the first painting, simply because of the predominance of those ‘Gretchen Blues’
    I hope that it isn’t too cold on Thursday.
    Best wishes from England, Pete..

    • I appreciate your critique very much! I love the painting with the spilled paint but am very unhappy about the spilled paint and don’t know how to disguise it so guess that painting is mine. Warm (for November) today and tomorrow and Thursday the temp drops like a stone into the mid-40’s and even colder at night. Hang on to your hats, folks. Winter is a’comin’ in. Regards, GG

  2. chris ludke says:

    That is a nice painting with the peaches and cards. Maybe you can mix a couple colors and go over the areas with the spilled paint. Those places don’t look too complicated. If the spilled paint landed on the peaches or the background fabric it might be more difficult to go over. You can hide the drops of paint you want to and show it at a gallery.

    • Thank you for the compliment to my painting and boost to my confidence.

      I agree, I’m sure I can fix the spilled paint area, it will need time and I still have 50 or so paintings to work on, so fixing that area isn’t quite a priority, right now.

      The best thing about reworking these discarded paintings is hearing myself saying I CAN (do this or that) and then do it. I’ve been in a slump for a long time, so feels good to be working.

      • chris ludke says:

        It’s a real pretty painting and it should be out there so people can see it. I’m sure you can cover the spots.
        Sorry to hear you were in a slump. glad you’re back into it more now.
        I’m not in a good apt. It’s making me feel dumb for signing the lease which I probably can’t get out of till next Oct. omg

      • I feel your pain in being in a not good apartment. I am, too. Working hard to make the best of things until I can find a way to move. (Or the people upstairs move….) Hang in! Losing my self in any art work helps me deal with the people overhead.

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