Maybe Spring?


SLS 031305

When we look for a guarantee of success,

we are asking to make risk-free art– but art, by definition, is risky. 

Julia Cameron

March 16, ‘15

The color in my immediate world today is lower, duller than the color in the above painting from ’05.   But, it’s a similar day, an end of winter kind of day where all is still and the light is pale.  There’s no wind and not much in the way of sound.


SLS 010905

This painting from January 9, ’05 is the last painting of the barn next door as I’d known the barn for almost 10 years.  I don’t recall exactly when but somewhere between Jan 9 and Feb 13 – on a night that was as quiet and soundless as today, the roof of the barn caved in.  There was no warning.  Suddenly, out of a soundless night came the sound of a massive crashing, creaking and crumbling.  The noise lasted for perhaps 30 seconds, and the night again became without sound.  My sister was with me; we had to convince each other we’d actually heard something.   We grabbed a flashlight and went out to see what had crashed and found that the roof of the barn had actually caved in and now filled the inside of the barn.  It was sad news.  It had been a beautiful barn.  The people who owned the barn had hoped to restore it someday but the roof was too far gone to hold up from weather damage until they had the money for new roof beams and actual roofing.  We’d had days and days of rain and then ice; it was all too heavy for the old roof to withstand.  The caved-in roof was a sad sight throughout the remainder of ’05.


The temperature today so far is close to 45 degrees.  I’m dressed for warmth, but not suited-up in bulky clothing against wicked bitter cold or feeling a penetrating chill despite heat.  The furnace hasn’t come on for hours, which in part explains why today seems so quiet.   The guy next door came out for a smoke on his porch and is wearing a light jacket, not his regular Alaskan winter clothing.  Spring may actually be close.


This is one of the paintings I washed in the sink and have been working on almost exclusively for the past 3 days.


Freshly washed


Lighter lights, darker darks, the overall tone is more even….  It’s still a Work In Process.

The only area I haven’t touched on this painting, and have no plans to touch, are the sunflowers.  The rest of the painting has been washed as clean as possible and then remodeled using Indigo and White.    I’ve added a bit of color to the two leaves.  There’s still much work to be done – on the horse and the bowl, bottom and top, particularly.  At one time I’d thought to cut off the sunflowers and throw the rest away but after the wash and the work, am glad I didn’t.  There’s a postcard in this painting but no peaches.  The postcard is a reproduction of a painting by Picasso.  The subject is Gertrude Stein, one of his patrons.  The portrait of Gertrude Stein is said to be a predecessor of some of Picasso’s Cubist paintings, particularly one of his better known paintings, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.  I’m a Picasso fan and bought the postcard at The Metropolitan Museum after I’d seen the Gertrude Stein portrait there, back in the day when I frequently went to The City.  The oak leaves and the tiny golden apple came from a walk in the woods close to where I lived.  The sunflowers were artificial, made of crepe paper and bought at a local Craft Supply shop.  The bowl and top is the replacement for the Chinese Bowl that I accidentally broke.  The replacement bowl was handpainted in Taiwan.  The feed sack and  blue dish towel are all too familiar in my paintings.  The embroidered cloth was an old bureau scarf I bought at the local Thrift.  It had a huge hole in it that I usually managed to hide when I used it in a setup.

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2 Responses to Maybe Spring?

  1. beetleypete says:

    I am become familiar with your props now Gretchen, but no less enamoured with the detailed history or the work. I am glad to hear that temperatures are rising, and hope for better times is finally possible. I can’t help thinking sometimes, that a move to fairer climes further south would be advisable, if that’s at all possible, Perhaps your roots are to firmly set in New England, I don’t really know.
    Best wishes as always, Pet.=e.

  2. beetleypete says:

    Bad typing! Much too fast-again… ‘too firmly’, and of course, Pete.

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