Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blackout Back Up Project Switch

Backed up project #1: load one in dish washer

I got a very tiny taste of what the folks in New York and New Jersey were going through that sent my compassion for their discomfort sky high. We had an electrical blackout  for six hours that seemed eternal. What do you do when you can see nothing?  You don't paint. You pray for those who are worse off and then you worry about your own situation.

I was sitting and  reading Alla Prima, with my morning coffee,  when the lights started to play strange games.  They hissed, went out and came back on--again--and again--and again--enough times to get me out of my chair and running around turning them off for fear of  a short that would burst the house into flames. The lights I chose to leave on, did one more hiss and died. I was left standing in the dark living room while Ellis stood in  in the shower, his hair suds up with shampoo. It was going to be a different sort of day.
Dish washer load #2 waiting in line

I was way luckier than my Jersey shore friends. My house was in tact and would  keep me warm-- for a little while anyway. I got dressed, had  some cold cereal  and sat down at the piano to wait out the darkness with Beethoven. Half way through the second movement of his Sonata in G Major, (the dirge like one you play to a nine count when dirge like things happen to you), I heard something scarier than dark, a high pitched buzzing sound. It was soft, persistent and audible, in spite of my foot pressed heavily to the pedal. I went to investigate. The alarm we hardly ever use had been zapped to life. It was lit up like a panel on the Enterprise. I called Ellis.

"How do I turn this damn thing off?"

"How can you turn something off that shouldn't be on?" he asked. "Don't worry, it'll go off when the lights come back," and hung up. He was working.

Yesterday's batch of Mushroom Barley soup
made today.  Dinner in a bowl for eight.
The house had gone cold. I had my coat on. Even though it was pouring sea creatures, it was a good day to do errands. Abandon ship was the plan. I got my purse and headed for the door when I was  stopped by  the alarm shrieking short, raucous bursts.  "What if it began to wail," I worried, "and the police showed up along with the fire department?" I called Ellis. "I can't leave it like this. Come home."

Again he reminded me that the alarm was off what could he do?

It was my turn to hiss,"Come home."

Standing in the basement staring at the electrical box and the alarm boxes with all those twisted pretty colored wires, I said, "On TV, the bomb squad cuts the yellow one to disarm the device."

Yesterday's whites washed, dried and
folded today.
My best friend  threw me a disgusted look and his status slipped.  "I'm not going to cut anything."

The alarm shrieked again piercing our eardrums. Ellis jumped. I smiled. "See?"

We both looked up, our hands clamped over our ears. We were standing  directly under the squawking siren .
"I didn't know that was there, did you? I yelled "We could cut those wires?"

 "Let's get out of here," my hero said.

Walking back through the studio,  my flashlight hit My Guys standing up against the wall. I hadn't worked on that overly ambitious painting, since March--months before Vianna's  eye-opening workshop--months before reading  Schmid's eye-opening Alla Prima? "I should finish that up,"  I said as we hoisted the garage door for the second time. But Ellis was already in the car in no mood to talk art.

The raucous culprit that finally drove us out.
 As we drove towards warm, cozy,plenty of  hot coffee and the soothing sounds of life-going-on-as-usual,   My Guys moved up on my agenda. This back up project was logical. My second son, the one who was giving me the most difficulty, would be here for Thanksgiving, a real live reference in the guest room under our roof that's been protected more than we ever knew.

My second portrait in oil  needs a lot of work, but I'm not looking
for perfection. I'm looking for three heads of equal size with enough likeness for this mom to know who's who. I looking for good values with a limited palette.  I am not looking for a lot of detail work. Unfinished is the finish I'm going for now that things have lightened up, warmed up and quieted down.











MY THREE GUYS AS I FOUND THEM IN THE BLACKOUT:

Painting was begun last March. Background was blackened in September. And a whole lot of learning went on since.  This is an important developmental painting for me however it turns out. I'll be satisfied with a sketch-like finish.








24 comments:

  1. With mine, I can just go to the power source and pull the plug, so to speak...:-)

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    1. Not with ours. Plus the electricity was out. Ours seems to run on something else.

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    2. the 'something else' must be pretty potent! lol

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    3. u should call the company and find out what to do if it happens again!.

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  2. Having experienced a four hour power cut in the evening in the last couple of weeks I've had a small taste of some of the issues you refer to. When you then think of other recent events, one can only have a huge sympathetic feeling for the victims of the recent visitation of Sandy. And after all that you give us a lovely image.

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    1. Rediscovering this painting in the dark and a son and daughter in-love coming for the holiday, made me think I should finish it as best I can. I've learned a lot in the last months. I'd like to see if I can apply some of it. I hope the images will turn out interesting. Thanks for the encouragement Mick.

      Without electricity, comfort does not exist. Going without for just six hours made me very anxious. I can only imagine what the people affected by Sandy are going through. It isn't good. They need all the help we can send their way. I have winter clothing in mind. Temps have dropped into the twenties and thirties.

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  3. Without water and / or without electricity is back the stone age in an instant.
    I had this experience during a flood that devastated the Piedmont
    twelve years ago.
    Now there was a flood in Tuscany where people are put safely on roofs and others .... they did not succeed. The earth is constantly shaken by drought and floods, there is no peace under heaven. And there is not also logic in the distribution of events. When I think of these things and the aftermath I'm happy to be safe but my heart weeps at the thought of all those who suffer this devastation.

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    1. I couldn't have said it better. We have been very fortunate. Loss of power for a few days has been the worst we've experienced. When I was younger, I regarded it as an adventure. Not now. My toleration has decreased as my age has increased.

      When I see people suffering from the ravages of storms and war, it makes me cry. Weather we can do nothing about, but care for those affected. War, we can. I'm watching a series on the history channel called The History of Mankind. Last night was the first of twelve parts. In a nutshell: When we began we were we, as civilization progressed (via "technologies"), we became us and them. Now that mankind's village has expanded to cover the planet, perhaps we'll get smart enough to realize we've shrunk and have become a single village once again? The survival of mankind depends on the big brain that separates us from the other species. Very interesting.

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    2. You are so right for this word,Linda!
      About your portraiture,at last...I see the change you're talking about. I do not have the practice of oil painting.
      But I think it also has oil had the washes ( with other medium and not with water)
      and the transitions.
      Now these "washes" and these transitions are smooth to watch, as if they were coming easy, softly, but the chiaroscuro tonal value is so significant
      that the combination of fluid and strong , leaves the viewer really admired!
      All this came studying and working so hard on big expressive qualities
      who were already yours. I'm so happy for you!

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  4. I like the progress of your three guys and I like the idea of a sketch like finish.

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    1. I have hope for this. It'll either come together quickly, or I'll fail. No matter what happens, it will be an important developmental step.

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  5. Ja als je de luxe kent en daarna niet meer weet je hoe het moet voelen voor die ander een heel mooi schilderij met veel diepgang lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. Thank you so much Danielle. I need encouragement on this one that I rushed into thoughtlessly with no real idea of how to go about it. But as someone said,'I'm in it now.' I'm not one to give up --especially when it comes to my guys, my boys, my loves. :-)

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  6. Oh my goodness Linda! Six hours without power is scary, and it does make you feel such empathy for those worse off doesn't it? When my first son was born (in December) and we had him home from the hospital for about a week our power went out for just three hours but I was freaking out trying to figure out how to keep him warm and worrying about him. I ended up holding him close the whole time which I probably would have done anyways even with power, but still. Makes you realize how unprepared you are for the worst to happen you know? And your cut the wire story had me chuckling. :))) Also I think your portrait looks really great. I've been wanting to get Richard's book for a while. If only it weren't so expensive.

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    1. I know and just after I bought from him, his price went up to the same amount as Amazon's. Ninety nine dollars for an unseen binding paperback is a lot of nerve. While the info is excellent, the price is outrageous. He's a marvelous painter, but maybe not--that he needs his book sales to keep his home fires burning? Alex Katz charges an arm and a leg for his books too--much more than Scmid--and the contents isn't nearly as informative.

      Thanks. I went into it again yesterday and I'm now in the ugly stage as I rebuild their facial structures. Oddly enough, I had a painting in mind that I saw in 'Bud Fox's' apartment in the movie Wall Street. It was three gruesome heads. I really may end up with that. :-)

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  7. When we lived in New Hampshire, we were always subject to power failures because the snow fell constantly and took down power lines. WE all had generators, fireplaces, and alternate power sources. For people in cities and suburban areas, reliance on power companies is necessary. They failed the folks they took money from during all those good days.

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    1. I didn't bother to light a fire, I figured how long could the outage last? Plus fire places really only warm the area around them while the open flue sucks the warmth out of the rest of the house. I had my coat and my piano and candles and flashlights. It was the sudden shriek of the defunct alarm system that alarmed me and drove me out to find comfort elsewhere. I think an animal gnawed a power line. As we left, we saw the trucks and a bunch of guys working in a wooded area. The rain that day was no big deal.

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  8. Linda, I empathize and sympathize completely. Every once in a while, in early winter, we have a whopper of a storm blow in. The power is off for a few hours, once more than 24 hours. Then it's back to living with candles and flash-lights. When I first moved here, we were on a well, so when the power went, so did the water. There was always a mad scramble to fill containers and make sure the animals had enough water before the storm hit. Good times! :)

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    1. Electricity is at the core of our survival. We are totally dependent. I've been after Ellis for years to get a generator, but he refuses. Meanwhile, we put them in for a lot of clients. At least I do know who to visit when our outage goes on past my tolerance level. A decent generator runs about 6000--maybe that's why Honey is holding back and willing that I rough it while he goes to work? Humph!

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  9. Hi Linda. I can only read your experience and know what it can be.
    Your work "My three guys" is good .
    I always thought that a painter should never be fully satisfied with his last work. It is an incentive to improve permanently.
    Hugs from Barcelona

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    1. I hope you're right Blanco. But I really can't stand how son number two looks. Unfortunately, when I mess with him, I'm also committing to messing with the other two. And so the risk goes.

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  10. What an ordeal! Glad that's over! When I lived in Illinois we would have an ice storm about once a year...it always knocked out the power. I hated it sooooo much!! Now in Oregon we have ice storms too...but most of the time the power stays on (knock on wood). Well, there just are few things worse than no power! Looking forward to your next painting project! :)

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    1. A lot of things are worse than no power, except when you have no power -- and suddenly an alarm that hasn't worked for years is jolted to life to scare the &@$? out of you.

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  11. Hi Linda! I'm glad you came out fine of your misadventure. I can't wait to see your "unfinished sons painting". Quite promising and what a challenge!
    I can understand your stacking up so you can spend more time with your loved ones. I do the same with my two boys, :)

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