Friday, September 28, 2012

Painting, again, September

Three days, in a row, more or less, painting again. I found a new passage through the blackberries down to the river, and have a two day show coming up in Carnation at Miller's, invited by Lee Grumann, and showing with Amanda Kindregan, who's work I really like. So I thought if I could peg a few landscapes between now and then, I'd feel like I was keeping up to date.

I have been painting with tube paints since I was 17 or 18. Not regular, but its been something that has had its own life and took over. I have never done anything with it, never made money, never sold much. And had only one teacher, Marilyn Frasca, who came to mind today as I walked back from painting. She was (is) brilliant. I don't know if she ever taught someone who made it in the art world, if she had any successful students, but I tried, and I know that she changed lives. As did her fellow teacher, in a different way, Susan Aurand. But that was ages ago, and in a small town, and not consequential in the world at all. For me though, her teaching was like gasoline on a fire, and it has burned all my life, to my benefit, and detriment. I guess, its the curse of introspection, and a constant internal dialogue, that never leaves, always, when i wake, when i drawn, when i paint.

I have this mythic place to paint now. Almost ironic. The environmentalist herds of kids have planted out the valley fields, and now the river is hard to see,  Where I painted once, is now thick trees, and there is no view down the winding snake of the river. A great loss for painters, a boon I guess, for salmon.

But i found this odd hole, a way down to the river, through a thicket, down a cliff, under the bending tunnel branches of what i think is nine bark, and out to the mud of the river, where there are only otter and racoon prints. And now mine, big and everywhere.

I drink a big three dollar beer, and try to feel what i have felt before. My eyes aren't as good as they were, and the overwhelming sleepiness, laziness, that comes from thinking its pointless, is hard to fight. There's no one else on this river painting, and I'd hazard a guess that this includes its whole length, from way up where, to Everett.. And i can see some cows,drinking illegally way south, but that's all. No one.

This is unusual only in that the wealth of color and smell and light and soft sounds is so undeniably wonderful, and better than the internet and iphones and itunes and hustle, bustle, and craziness. Its the perfect soul repository, if we have one, a door open to seeing the depth of water and sky, and shadows.  Its like this huge soft pillow, welcoming, waiting, and happening each night, regardless of bad news, of stock markets, wars, celebrities, of the world in general and all the horrific repeating noise. Here, there is a blue green turning slowly to gray, a fish tapping the surface of the water, a pink cloud rising, darkening, disappearing, and the flatness, mirrorness, swirling,  and a powerful, powerful river.

Virginia Woolf, great sharp beauty, brilliant, walked into a river. I think with bricks in her pockets. I imagine a British river to be like this, Issak Walton like, yet some sort of timeless thing, draining the land, a vein of the bigger world. Its a vein, as it bleeds out, blue quiet blood.

I have brushes all over, stuck in the sand, dim light, a palette, and the last light. What might a painter grasp as opposed to a photographer? I take a few pictures. Its a different thing. Paint involves discomfort, not knowing, not being able, not having the skill, and a camera is only taking. Its just saying that one was there, and saw it, but only took, drank, and  moved on. A painter can't move on, he/she is stuck, trying to build what it is that moves him/her. I guess, to share it. At least, to make something of it that has the echo of what was there.