Sunday, December 16, 2007

If You Love Someone, Tell Them Now.

There's another star in the sky tonight. I lost one of my closest and dearest and most treasured of friends on the 6th. He was one of my most ardent supporters of my work, and was a great encouragement for me to continue. He was an older gentleman and was hospitalized for "wound care" for an injury caused to his leg three weeks before by a careless aide, and he died 10 hours later; unmonitored, unevaluated, and alone, in a hospital he'd never been to previously and should not have been sent to by people who did not have permission. He was being treated for other conditions, but there are so many questions as to how so many things were done wrong concerning his care, that I want to grab the collar of the "Dr." in charge and shake him and ask "Can you say "Malpractice"??"

I am bereft and sorry and crushed. But nothing we might do will change anything now. I watched the casket being lowered into the ground after the funeral, to make sure they were careful, to make it really real because I didn't get to truly say goodbye, though we talked 3 days before. I keep expecting a message on my cell phone, I keep thinking "Oh, I can stop by tomorrow", and there isn't and I can't. I've lost a lot of family and friends at this time of year, another reason I suppose I'm not big on the holidays, they are just something to tolerate and get through with as low a profile as possible.

So if you love someone let them know. Say the words. You'll mostly never know if it might be the last time.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Decadent or a Decent December?

Yes, I am actually working on a painting for someone. I don't usually show anything in progress anymore, because most people just don't understand the process. So this is just to show the process and make a stab at explaining it. There are many different ways of working in oil paint. The fussiest way is with sketches and layers, which is what this is. I was taught layers a long time ago, and it's a good discipline, but I would like to take classes in alla prima (Italian for "at once") or direct painting, where the painting is done in one sitting with a wet in wet technique. I've played with it in smaller works and enjoy it quite a bit, I would just like to get more confident with my technique.
So to start I stretched the custom sized canvas (16x 24), put a gesso ground on it, sketched it in charcoal, put a light fixative over that after I wiped it down with a little English turpentine to get the dust off and lighten it up, then brushed and ragged a mixture of yellow ochre and raw sienna with a touch of a red earth for my middle value. I used paper towels and q-tips to rub out highlights, both the brightest and softer ones. There are no darker values in this yet. I like working this way because it takes the white of the canvas away, gives me an undertone to help me get my values correct, covers up a lot of the reference sketching, and gives me a feeling of some life in the subject. I'll post more photos as it progresses, for better or worse (every painting seems to go through an icky stage where it's not working, but it's mostly just in an awkward transition, like a teenager).

Now for my holiday rant: I am not a big fan of the holidays. The commercialized aspect is an abysmal shift from what used to be a holiday season in which to celebrate thankfulness and the spirtual, ineffable side of life, and then with the New year, renewal. I don't buy into the current version, it doesn't rev me up in any positive way, it just generally makes me feel pretty sad. How about you?