or “TMOAAP”, as i have come to refer to it, is moving along. glacially at times, with not a little tension, but i continue to make progress. since this was not my first foray into aspen paintings or even aspen drawings, i decided that i wanted to do it with some different techniques– the last thing i wanted to do was to repeat what i had done before, but rather to break some new ground. the original drawing and painting were both squares, and the last painting a horizontal work, so the first thing i decided was that i wanted to do a vertical piece, featuring the long aspen trunks and the way they picked up the hints of violet in the later afternoon light up by edwards colorado. it was great to have some different photos to work with, to bring it all back to me, and composition went fairly well. sketching it all in was, as usual, nothing easy for me, but i got it done and began putting pigment down on the canvas.
and at first i was using my normal manner, moving around the painting, employing the tonal progressions in all areas of the piece one after the other, trying to get them all to relate to one another. my earliest layers of pigment were put down in a basic pointillist style, little flecks of color slowly bumping up against one another, first filling up the space and then overlapping
and violet– violet everywhere, in the greens and blues and greys– mixed in with the pigment or even painted atop other layers. this is where my brush stroking began to change as well. i had experimented with this particular stoke a while back in my taqueria movil painting, but here i decided to use it everywhere i could. i compare it with “automatic writing”, as i am trying to disconnect with my conscious brain a little bit and allow the other more mysterious part take over a bit. it really got me going, and at times i began to experience that wonderful omnipotent feeling that comes when you are in total control without actually consciously controlling anything. not sure that makes sense, but it is how i felt.
of course, with all this “controlled lack of control” i finally surfaced to realise that i had run the sucker right off the rails. what the hell was i doing?? why were the bright grasses painted with such yellowy yellows?? had i totally ruined everything???
well, no– not really. time to get a hold of myself and FOCUS again, a little less willy-nilly this time. slowly at first and then faster and faster and feeling that marvelous ENERGY all over again. i think i crashed and burned maybe a half-dozen times on this piece, living and dying, ecstasy and suicide. one moment i would be so sure– “YESSIRREE, THIS IS TOTALLY WHY I AM AN ARTIST!!”, but much of the time– gosh!! the trees came to life, the trunks violet pillars and the upper leaves green flames.
then the soldiers came. i put in these regimented flowers everywhere and then wondered why i didn’t like my painting any more. sigh. overpaint them and hope for the best. but i shouldn’t have worried so much, as every time i suffered a setback the painting would come back stronger and stronger. i was feeling a little looney around the edges, totally obsessed, people asking for jewellery orders that i had left lay fallow on my bench five months before. i couldn’t be bothered. nothing else mattered.
RELEASE THE HOUNDS!! i would mutter to myself after every defeat– take your brain out of gear and let it go. and that’s what happened. slowly but slowly it came on and on, and you could tell how it went by the look on my face. finally though it was down to the short stokes, wondering if i would ever get there.
then came the day i tried to introduce the flowers again. i had thought long and hard about it, and had this “GREAT IDEA!!”– complementary colors. yellow flowers in the violet areas, red in the green and orange in the blue. i tellya, it wasn’t my best idea ever. i hated it. more thinking, an entire afternoon spent looking at it and wondering what it was that i had to do. unfortunately, i was interrupted by some diving, but i was back at it soon enough, and my new idea worked just fine.
and so it seems to be done. maybe. i signed it a few days ago, but have worked on it several times since. little subtle stuff, but every time it made things better this could be it, but i suppose you will have to wait for my next blog to find it out.