Painting

Second Reflection” oil on linen 60″x48″ unfinished
Jellyfish” oil on cardboard packaging 14″x22″
My son Ivan has a blog that he posts his better art works on from his first year in animation school. He thought I should be doing the same.
I just photographed both of these paintings in order to include them in my NYFA grant application. I have been applying for a NYFA grant for many years. “Second Reflection” to the left here is not finished, but it is now too cold in my studio to work out there. I was working on it up until 2 weeks ago when I had to be careful not to hold my brush too high above my heart for too long or my hand would go kind of tingly and numb. ANd then I would be so cold that I kept accidentally knocking my brushes to the floor. The paint seemed to stay wet longer in the cold, but I had a weird problem with thin wet applications of paint “crawling” when put on top of already dried paint. It was like using water-based house paint on top of oil without sanding first….
    Anyway, aside from weather-related technical probs, I have never had such a great experience with a painting. I get completely lost in it for hours which is different. Until now, I used to get completely involved working on a painting for about an hour and a half. Then I would feel a burning desire to take a break, stop, call it a day, or whatever. This painting is different. If nothing from my “real” life called me out, and it wasn’t too cold, I would work on it till I was too hungry or tired to continue, which might be entire days. It leads me on and on and on. Each new mark that I make seems to point to the next spot that needs addressing; I am aware of the whole thing being a carefully synchronized “machine”? Not a machine, more of a web, where a change of one strand can compromise others, or indicate others that need addressing. I also think of orchestral analogies, which I alluded to in my grant application. I am the conductor of this visual symphony…guarding against dissonance unless needed, toning down the loudness here and there, making sure the different moments lead one to the other….keeping the rhythm going throughout, etc, 
   The “jellyfish” painting on the right was a much faster accomplishment, but it is a beautiful integration of “found packaging” (complete with holes in it where water gun was yanked from cardboard) and painting. It is painted from a photo of my son LEo when he was about 5 holding jelly fish in both hands. I worry that no one will know what he is holding (thus the title), but Ivan thought that it didn’t matter, that he is obviously holding something and it just doesn’t matter what.
   
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Life and death of carrots

childhood trauma

learning to love each other
becoming an ingredient

    So many carrots, so little time. But I took some time to appreciate the harvest. I  was really struck by the childhood trauma carrot above…It seems like a real live example of how a young life will just grow around whatever disturbing traumatic events happen to it. I saw Slumdog Millionaire recently and I guess the amazing resilience of children was on my mind.

   I’m trying to decide if I should harvest the rest. Cause there are a lot more out there. Unlike an agribusiness farmer, I went out and carefully felt down into the earth in the crowded sections of the carrot row, and pulled out the biggest carrots who could be accused of bullying or crowding their smaller neighbors. I don’t know if I could expect that the remaining carrots can still develop further, as there is snow on the mountains now…visible from my garden.

fruits of the garden

“I could never do that” (homeschooling)

Up at 6:30 most days. It was 7 this AM as I didn’t have to teach at 8 this morning. That’s tomorrow and Thurs. The 3 kids at home are still asleep. I check email, talk to Ivan (the oldest away at school) on the phone about his final design project that I have been a consultant on since yesterday. I eat some cereal, while checking that there is no new email since late last night. Then I go over to my studio and work for an hour on my painting. It’s blissful doing this. It’s a huge symphonic exercise of brushstrokes.

After awhile of losing myself in my painting, I check my watch and come back over here to turn on oven and wake up kids. Its 10 now. We will eat German apple pancake to try to begin to eat through the 4 bags of apples in the house. Then, the 2 boys and myself must go over and remove the huge contractor bags full of roof refuse from the tenant’s front yard, so that her blow up Santa Claus isn’t actually obscured by what could be mistaken for his bags of toys.

Then, back to studio for 2 more hours or so before I have to take Ida to orthodontist and then hopefully go pick up Leo’s cello in Kingston after that.

Must remember to continue Marsden’s reading lessons sometime soon.