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Thursday, December 4, 2014


15, 16

Today was laying on the pigment day. I wanted these four quartets to contain the same psychic energy. Thought about doing two today and two tomorrow. Passion o'ertook the application of the paint. After painting two, I was wound up and wanted to do the other two. I covered all four in paint, one after the other. It looks like there wasn't much to it, just spreading the paint with a pallet knife, yet by the time the last one was finished, I was so exhausted I needed a nap. It was the same kind of weariness as after four to six hours of writing. I nearly always go straight to bed upon finishing one of these writings. Slathering on the paint today, I was like a child at daycare playing with finger paints. A look at my hands when the laying on of paint was over suggested I had, indeed, been engaged in finger painting. I'm not somebody who can play with paint and emerge from it spotless. My hands are covered in paint, shirt and pants are spotted, hair has at least one color smeared in it, and often some on the face. I get excited and pay no attention to anything but applying paint to surface. Paint on hands and clothes I think of as collateral damage, part of it. Sometimes I'll be in town and somebody will say, "You been painting." A streak of paint will be in my hair where I scratched my head with paint on fingers. I don't care. Paint on hands and clothes is like wrinkles on the face, signatures of experience. The day was exciting. It started with painting the edge black on each of the rectangles all the way around. Glad it's a fast-drying acrylic. 

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The red one I wanted to do first, the color I puzzled over the most. I wanted an in-yer-face red, yet a deep red. Just a breath of blue changed the intensity of the red without suggesting purple. The actual red of the pigment is something like left of center in the picture above. The right side of the picture is lighter than the paint. The fresh paint becomes a mirror to the window light. I felt it when the red was right. Mixing the paint with the medium in the bowl, I was liking the red, but needed a deeper red, a red that feels earthy. A tiny touch of blue drew the intensity out of the red while leaving it the same red it was before. Like the raw red was blaring trumpets, the deepened red is a tenor sax. I wanted the red and blue to go together like my associations with art of New Mexico Indians. I did not want to make Southwestern Indian colors in these mountains. Yet a blue haunted my mind, one that is about the same intensity as turquoise, but a deeper blue without the turquoise gem suggestion. Turquoise is a beautiful blue, but I wanted crayola blue in a medium-light range. Red is a powerful color that stands on its own. I wanted a blue that would pull itself up to the intensity of the red to stand side-by-side and not recede. Blue tends to recede visually. I thought a darker blue would go way back. Looking for a lighter blue this side of pastel that would stand next to the red and not fade away. I made a little more blue than I needed by adding more, and adding more, until it felt right next to the red. The paint on this one is so thick, spreading it was like sculpting it. The blue in the photo is not true. The very far left is the closest to actual. I'd put a breath of red into the blue to, again, take the intensity out of it. The blue, like the red, has an earthen quality. It's the earthy quality in these two colors that bonds them.

Here, again, the left side is closest to the actual color. This pair, the red and blue, will be in a triangle situated above and beside stairs going up to a loft. It's in a corner behind hand railings, a psychological barrier, a fence in front of it, though the triangle is above the hand rails. A stairwell in a corner makes the space unto itself. I wanted to use colors that would honor the space, feel the space, earthen colors, albeit bright, in something of an open cave. I feel like the corner is grounded, and a passageway to the mind's playground. I felt like I wanted to make the colors suggest earth, earth and sky, while primarily playing with red and blue. The stairs lead to Lucas's loft where he writes when he retreats to "the cabin" in the Blue Ridge. The other triangle, the one on the right, is above the space where one enters the door. To the right is the kitchen. The triangle stands above the kitchen, a light space with windows and ceiling lights. I felt like the triangle above the kitchen could be about light. It's where Judy prepares the food she's good at putting together. She cleans up after herself as she goes along, so you never see a mess when Judy is in the kitchen. I just walk through the kitchen and it turns to clutter. Judy has this knack from a lifetime of practice of keeping her space organized and uncluttered. It's easy for her. She cleans up as she goes along. She has a woman come in and give the place a thorough cleaning, dead flies on the floor, before they come for a visit. This way Judy only cleans up after the immediate kitchen concerns. I wanted yellow and white, sun and cloud, egg yolk and egg white, in the right triangle above the kitchen. Maybe it will look like a sign above a Japanese restaurant in a movie. 

15, 16

The big "living room" area Judy divided into dining area with table and chairs around it on the side of the kitchen; the side with the steps to the loft is the reading area and the place for watching movies. I like the yellow and white on the kitchen side. Basic theme for the quartet was red, yellow and blue. Most often, green is used for the fourth primary color when there are only three. Why not use purple or orange? Why always green? Tradition, I suppose. I chose white for this space for its lightness, something to float above the light in the kitchen. Red or blue on the kitchen side would have been a hammer above the soft light. The red and blue belong with the stairwell, a minimalist landscape, the foot path to the mind. First thought for the opposite triangle was to make the tall one yellow and the short one white. I saw in my mind's eye the bold yellow, a color as powerful as red, would draw the energy out of the smaller white one, rendering it absent. The taller one white, the shorter yellow one enhances the white, pushes it all the more forward. The yellow can stand on its own. And the tall white one, in turn, enhances the yellow. I jump at every chance to use white and yellow together. I breathed some red into this yellow I wanted as close as I could get from memory to egg yolk yellow in fertile eggs. The four hang in another room where they will wait a few months before I touch them.  Oil paint is slow to dry, but I love the life in it when it's dry. It holds a luminous quality, to my eye. 

15, 16


1 comment:

  1. These are awesome TJ - I wanted to see a picture of you after your description too! Sounds like you had a great time creating them. I hope I get to see them in person one day :)