What’s in the past….

Stays in the past, right?  Well, sometimes it percolates to the surface.  Especially if someone loves it and won’t let it die. Seems like our memories are the last link to something real.  If the real thing is gone, then the memory is all we have… when they go, that’s it I guess.  If the thing is forgotten, does it cease to exist?  It does until it is rediscovered… which makes all of this sound very much like the tree falling in the forest scenario.  Let me tell you, a falling tree makes a sound, no matter if you are there to hear it or not.  Someone, something, somewhere heard it.  And falling trees are pretty loud.

My “falling tree” was a painting I did in my college days. It needs a little background to understand.  But first, let me point out that the someone who loves it is my niece, Kathleen.   Currently in her 20’s, she is exploring  all the nooks and crannies of ones mind and is searching for answers.  I know that road.  I trod it myself for awhile.  This post is for you, my dear!

Me, back in the day.

Me, back in the day.

Back in my 20’s I was soaking up all sorts of information.  Not only from my classes at school, but from alternate (read: not mainstream) versions of reality.  I read everything I could get my hands on about metaphysics, past lives, pyramids, crystals, aliens and their subsequent alien abductions, psychic energy, eastern and native religions, tarot, numerology, even lucid dreaming.  I slowly collected a stack of books that filled it’s own bookshelf in our home for years.  The day my son called this shrine to alternate realities “Mom’s Crackpot Books” was the day I had a good laugh and really took a hard look at my self and my beliefs.

I had already moved beyond much of that, and I could see where I no longer needed this reading material to collect dust at the end of the hallway. So I passed on a large box of the books to Kathleen who is currently winnowing through the chaff for some truth of her own.  I am still open and willing to believe in something… we can’t really know the cosmos and what’s behind the scenes.  God, the Universe, the Great Spirit, the Force, Destiny… whatever you want to call it, I’m sure something is there.  But I have chosen to not worry about it and instead pour my energy into being the best person I can be right now.

This painting that Kat loves was a direct result of my exploring days.  And probably all the other paintings I did back then. I posted several a few weeks back (Dark Shadows).  This painting depicts another world.  A world of shallow water.  It’s all they have to export and they do, to many other worlds.  The pyramids they build are beacons, and docking ports for ships that travel the cosmos.  Think of it as an interplanetary airport, and I’ve illustrated the “tower”.

Keepers of the Runway.  Oil on Masonite board.  1984

Keepers of the Runway. Oil on Masonite board. 1983

Here’s a close up of the keepers themselves:


The keepers up close.  One in the boat, one on the dock.  Welcome home, honey!

The keepers up close. One in the boat, one on the dock. Welcome home, honey!

The past may be just 31 years ago (dear GOD how did that happen so fast!) or it may be last week.  Either way, time is relative, right?  Someone smarter than me said that. And to quote one of my “crackpot books”, Be Here Now.  Now is all we have.

The Doldrums

Well well well, it’s been about 3 weeks and still no work to post.  Every week rolls by and I think, I’ll get there!  I’ll finally get a painting finished and then I can post it!  Ok, today! Oh wait, I have to do this…, so, not today.   Ok, tomorrow!  Ok, well, not tomorrow either.  Something has got in the way every…  single…  day.  It’s disheartening and has really taken the wind out of my sails.  The really shitty thing is, that I actually have a painting on my easel.  But it’s a few hours from being done.  And I don’t want to post it until it’s finished.

This isn’t like my wings projects… those were lengthy and time consuming and absorbing.  They were interesting and a new process and there just seemed to be loads to actually talk about.

Fun in the sun.

Fun in the sun.

This painting is small.  And unobtrusive.  And somewhat mundane.  But that is exactly what I like about it.  Even though I am currently wasting time in my dining room, typing my uninspired thoughts instead of finishing the damn thing.  So, I like it, and I can’t get up the gumption to finish it.

Like a sailor on the sea, I am stuck in the doldrums waiting for a fresh breeze.

To be fair, I have been off doing the other things I do… keeping busy with summertime social obligations and activities.  I am coming to see the ebb and flow of the creative process that seems (for me) to be very weather dependent.  Rainy days are good for getting inside work done.  I am not a plein air painter.  If you read my last post, you know why I need to be outside.  So, needless to say, the horses have been getting a good work out and so has my social skills.  Seems like everyone wants to throw a potluck or a barbeque or a wine tasting party.  Which is what summer is all about.

But I sure am jonesing for the rain to come back so I can hole up in the studio with a good book on CD, a sleepy dog, a blank canvas and a fresh palette.

Must I finish this little experimental painting?  Sigh, I must.  Here’s why:  It speaks to me.  It’s all about the mundane.  It’s about elevating the mundane into art.  You see, a few weeks ago I was doing a chore I find tedious.  The laundry.  I know, some folks love it.  I find it boring and dull and insipid and all sorts of bland little adjectives.  But I was doing it because I have to.  Just like most everyone in the world.  Unlike many, I am lucky to have my own washing machine and a nice one at that.  Unlike some, I am unlucky in that I don’t have someone to do it for me.  Dang it.

Anyway, long rambling aside, I was standing there staring at the washer when it occurred to me that the machine itself was actually a lovely bit of design work and I really should be more appreciative of it’s lines and what it can do for me.  So I took a picture of it with my phone, went to the studio and using the digital image I sketched out some rough lines and got to work.  A total departure from my usual pattern, but I was on a roll.  Here’s where I left off:

NOT finished... why is this taking so long???

NOT finished… why is this taking so long???

I thought about it quite a bit while I was off doing other things in between whining to myself about NOT working on it and drinking another glass of wine.   But then there was tonight.  It rained  a little bit… I sat down to waste some time drafting my post.  No intention of actually posting since I didn’t have a finished piece.  Went out to take a picture of the unfinished project and you know what happened?  I picked up the brushes and got busy.  SO, after much ado… and lots of silly ramblings… here it is:  The Washer.  A Thing of Beauty.

The color cycle.

The color cycle.