Friday, January 27, 2012

Banks of the River, Milepost 11, Painting

I stopped to paint, this evening, in the bit of sun there was at the end of the day, at Milepost 11 along the highway. Milepost 11 has a lot of memories for me, back when i was a firefighter- its where everyone seemed to loose control on the highway. And it rained, and hailed, and my paint box of 30 years busted again, and my white paint was so damned old I couldnt get it to move, and the canvas kept popping off the easel, and after a great start, it all died on the canvas, turned to unsurety, and turned to hard work. I sometimes think i just don't know enough. i don't know how to keep the paint clean, and when to paint a tree first and and when not to, and i think- well, i know about Line, and how to get shapes right, but then, well, i don't. I don't know a darned thing.

My friend Bruce sent me a website of a guy in New Mexico, who has my level of talent plus dedication, plus probably more talent, and training, and i looked at his work and thought- what the heck is the point of this? You draw the figure, you paint a mountain, then a battleship, then a vase. But where are the heroics? Where is the great thing that is happening?Is this what my work looks like to other painters? My god.

The abstract expressionists-now they were heroic. Big stuff, big brushes, consistent dedicated work. I love them. You don't see a Franz Kline mountain, then a little chalk drawing of  a naked girl, then a vase, then the battleship Missouri. Jesus. You see again and again, big series, big ideas, searching feeling. Not searching technique, or skill- though that's there. But grandness. At least that's the view from the outside.

I don't think in doing the slap dash work i do that i am going to get to do something Grand. I am not sure if i even have an original idea in me.

I stood on the edge of the river, up on the bank with the cars shooting by on the highway, in a rain jacket trying not to get paint on my good shirt, and looked at the flat blue plane of the edge of a swirl, a water dapple, the way the clouds cluster low down when the sun sets, like they were getting ready to spring out into the coming night,  and the grey green of a fuzzy tree reflection, and the way the river snakes out around the point of the opposite bank, and on and on, and its stuff i have looked at a million times. I have lots of trouble in life right now, its a bit tough and confusing, and I figure maybe i can take up some angst slack with painting. So its coming back to an old friend, to see if we can strike up a conversation. Not too talkative of a friend, and without much consolation, but someone you've known a long time and trust.

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