Dan’s Garage, Dec 2, ’14

Dec 2, ‘14

Because suffering is impermanent, that is why we can transform it.

Because happiness is impermanent, that is why we have to nourish it.

-TNH, 10th June 2014


Dan’s Garage, July ’98 AFTER a few repairs and a few more to go….


Dan’s Garage July ’98 BEFORE

Dec. 2, ‘14

In the here and now, it’s cold and gray.  Typical December day….   We had a bit of pale sun this morning; it lasted as long as I was out doing errands and grocery shopping.  By the time I’d dealt with all those things in the outside world, the sun was fading into a very light gray and the chilly air took on a tint of bitterness, making it seem colder than it actually is; the way the air feels when snowfall is imminent.  I checked the weather on the Internet and sure enough, snow showers are forecast for this afternoon and evening.

After the groceries were put away I sat down to paint for awhile.  I chose to work on Dan’s Garage, July, ’98 because it was done on a warm summer evening at twilight, when the air was beginning to cool after being in the 80’s all day.

Quite the opposite from today.

This painting was done from a sketch.  I was house-watching Dan’s house while he was on vacation in Nova Scotia.  I went over to check the house and bring in the mail every evening for the 3 weeks he was away.  I’d left the mail and done my checking and was leaving through the back door when the color of the sunset in his yard and garage insisted I stop and marvel.   The sunset through the trees and the color of the light on the garage almost made me gasp from the grand color of it all.  I got my sketch pad and traveling watercolor supplies from my car, sat on his back stoop and made a sketch.  Later that evening, I started this painting.

I gave the painting to Dan for Christmas that year.  He expressed to me that making a monument to his garage was a waste of my talent.   I told him that it was really about my response to the sunset coming through his trees and transforming his garage from gray to pink.  Even with that critique, (Dan was a mite curmudgeonly) he hung the painting in his living room, where it stayed for years.  I think he liked it even though I’d painted his garage Pink.  Every time I was at Dan’s house I saw this painting and  would think to myself that it wasn’t quite ‘there’ as to what I’d experienced.  After Dan died, his Estate gave the painting back to me and after awhile, I decided to continue to work on it.

Unfortunately, the paper I used for this painting wasn’t the highest quality and I also used Chinese White as a body color in the garage so it’s difficult to remove layers of dead paint that was placed on mid-grade paper and then the area where I lifted paint has to dry and then very lightly sanded with a paper towel to remove shreds of paper fiber…..  So, fixing this painting will need a few more sessions.

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2 Responses to Dan’s Garage, Dec 2, ’14

  1. beetleypete says:

    I am glad to hear that Dan’s estate returned the painting to you Gretchen, because it is really very good indeed. Obviously, I prefer the revised work, because of the extra blues included. Either way, I still like it. It has the simplicity of description. If I lived there, I would recognise Dan’s garage. In my book, there is a lot to be said for that, so well done.
    It is that very simplicity, bordering on the naive, that I like so much about any similar art, yours included. Don’t take that as a criticism, it is meant to be a very large compliment!.
    Best wishes as always, Pete.

    • Thank you for the compliment, I took it as one! Picasso says one of the things we — artists, people– need to do is to keep in touch with the child we were and that is what I try to stay connected to in my life and in my work.

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