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Friday, April 17, 2015


foot of somebody's bed

Working on an art project. It has slipped away from original vision. The colors in my mind and the colors working together in composition, seen by the external eye, were quite different. I liked the colors, but did not like the feeling in them together. It's feeling I play with visually. Feeling is number one. I may do too much of only one range of feelings. I look for a feeling of calm, of stillness, the relaxed, quiet stillness of a pond's surface in early morning. I look for this quiet in the simplest form of the fewest lines. Perhaps, my search for this quiet in the painting before, of round fruits and vegetables, followed by musicians, took me close enough to these minimal lines I'm playing with now, the magnetic draw of the most simple, itself, pulled me the rest of the way. I found the stillness I looked for in the most simple lines, using shadow and light. This one I'm laying the paint to keeps on changing before my eyes. I want one thing, see it and don't want it. I feel like I'm tuning what's seen by the outer eye to the vision seen by the inner eye. And the other way around, tuning inner eye to outer eye. Going with what works. I've been painting the parts and this morning put them together to see what it's getting at. You can see in the pictures fingerprints and the general mess of handling. Will put final coat on the blue parts when the parts are fixed in place. Next step is screwing the vertical and horizontal lines into place from the back. Puzzling over how to keep the parts in place on the front while drilling from the back, it came to glue them down, let the glue dry, then drill from behind and insert screws without messing up the alignment of the parts.

The white surface behind the lines has been a light brown, white, red, and back to white. The light brown looked great in my mind's eye, but next to the blue, it killed both colors. One color drained the life out of the other. I like the white, but felt a soft red would be better. The red killed it too. Did not want to use yellow. White it had to be. White brought the whole to life. I was somewhat inhibited seeing the blue and white as school colors. But concluded white and blue still look good together without the association, even with it. Using a color other than white was the beginning of complex. I like the raw simplicity of white, like a sheet of paper or a gessoed canvas. The white paint I'm using has a soft touch of gray in it that does no more than soften the stark quality of refrigerator white. White makes a better screen for the shadows. A cadmium red would have worked well with the blue, but again, first step into complex. The point is a vertical line in relation to a horizontal line inside a rectangle. The white allows it to suggest no more than lines in relation to each other. The wood of the frame is three inches deep. The wood for the "bed" is an inch and three-quarters deep. They cast a wide shadow. The pictures show the lines in four directions of relation to light source, in this case the open door. The shadows it makes are better than I saw in mind's eye. I like using shadow in the composition, a third color that is not there, a large part of the composition that changes with the direction the light falls onto it. Initially, the back was masonite. I did not want the smooth side or the side with the window-screen mesh pattern. Cut some paper from a feed bag and glued it to the rough side of the masonite.

I knew I could not glue a piece of paper to it and the paper be smooth like the other side of the masonite. I did not want perfectly smooth. I knew wrinkles would happen in the paper gluing it down, so I spread it and smoothed it the best I could, without taking too much care. I wanted what wrinkles happened to be despite me, not composed by mind. I cut the paper by eye, instead of measuring, I wanted an uneven edge allowing chance a role. I wanted a tiny bit of the masonite weave around the edge. In some places it's a quarter inch, in some places I didn't quite leave any space. Good. All I wanted was uneven all the way around. It only shows slightly, but it accords with the wrinkles in the paper, texture made by chance. The frame and the two lines are so totally mind, I wanted the context of the white to have some unforeseen in it to balance the straight lines of mind. I questioned in the beginning if allowing chance might be a step into the complex. Yes it is, yet it saves the whole from being all mind, gives balance. It looks accidental, not-mind. I feel like it's a view of our existence. We live in mind in a world that is not-mind. We use one to balance and fine tune the other. I think of it as learning how to live in this world. I believe this is what the Tao is about, learning to accord mind with the illusion we call reality, individual mind with the way of nature, cycles, tuning in to invisible forces, what I think of as natural laws, like karma, which works as surely as gravity, the flow. If the finished project shows what I think I'm putting into it remains to be seen. My aim is to finish it after I finish this writing. Letting the glue settle under the weight of two rather large books, Louise Gluck's, Poems 1962-2012, and Robert Bly's, Stealing Sugar From The Castle.

Next step is to drill four holes from the back from the holes already in the masonite, to drill holes for the screws in the wood parts. Then run the screws in, then fix the back to the frame, fix a hanger to the back, turn it over, repaint the blue and touch up the white. There was a time in the visioning period I saw black and white. I liked it, but it seemed too obvious, too expected. The blue has a different resonance, more in line with the feeling I was looking for in it. Black with white, they're loud as a truck horn. The blue with white eases the intensity down to a car horn. Colors other than white would have rendered the shadows invisible or nearly so. I wanted the back to be a screen for the shadows, the reason for using deep lines instead of flat lines. Using cardboard would have made shadow lines, too, though the deep wood casts bigger shadows. In indirect light it would make no shadows and that's good too. Any direction the light comes into it leaves its own particular shadow pattern. I've been fussing with it in my mind for a few weeks. The frame I've had in the house at least fifteen years. I found a strip of wood a couple inches deep. I cut these two parts from it using the hand jigsaw. The drill, the jigsaw and the palm sander I keep in a bag together. When I need one, I often need another or all of them. These are the tools I use now, plus a hammer. The purpose in what I'm doing now with art projects is using materials in the house I have picked up over the years, something I could do something with some day. That day is now. I'm not putting things out the door, but keeping them in new combinations. I have so much of that kind of clutter in the house, my living space has become my studio. Need a part, go to the junk room and find one.

by tj worthington


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