Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Terrible Storm



It was a lovely summer's day...then the storm hit and everything turned to mud.

That's what happened to Summer Shade. I acted out.


I couldn't stand that painting another minute...so black and white came out and began mixing it up together on the canvas in broad strokes. Large house-painter brushes. Heavy paint. Scrapers. An ice tea spoon--whatever I could get my hands on, I used to obliterate those pretty trees. That's not how the woods looked to me the day I took the photograph. The trees were menacing. The blackness of the shade made me angry. The trees seemed close together with a myriad of branches, the kind that scratch if you tried to push through. For me, it was an unhappy photograph. Summer Shade was just too happy. It had to be demolished. I hit it with everything I had.

Lashing out felt good. I felt confident about my decision to shake it up beyond recognition; I had been contemplating its destruction for three days. Now, with it done, I just have to decide how to clean up the mess?

The trash bin?
I'd be out of my mind--stretched gallery canvases cost too much to throw away. Besides, my destructive feelings towards the dishonest painting were honest.

Buy a gallon of gesso?
Maybe. Even the best of us have done cover-ups.

To go back into it and pretty it up again?
Absolutely not. It was a good photograph, taken by a woman who was angry about what she had been through. After yesterday's storm, I'm not. I'm positive I should never have painted it in the first place.

After painting a colorful, tiny flower under the leafless tree, a tiny, trite, symbol of a brighter future, I could sign it,date it 2009, stand it to rest in the closet, and get on with painting Chocolate Mice and Other Delights, a delectable subject demanding a delightfully happy palette. Feels good to me.

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