Monday, March 15, 2010

Flowers and Floods

Wild Roses on Turquoise, WC 11" x 10"

The Setup

It was about this time last year, maybe a few weeks later, that our little community experienced it's second 500 year flood in 13 years. And this year, we're gonna have it again. So if this isn't global warming, then what is going on? As I watch all the houses across the street (on the river) get moved out on big flatbed trucks, I think about last year and how for over a month we all did little else but sandbag, keep the vigil on pumps, make peanut butter sandwiches and pray it didn't snow or rain any more. As for me, I counted Port-O-Potties going in and out of my (evacuated) neighborhood on flatbed trucks. What I did NOT do was paint. Nor did I post.

So this year, I am hoping the painting mojo doesn't dry up altogether. In order to deal with the inertia and paralysis (same thing?) that I so easily embrace, I have set myself a few tasks for the 10 days or so before I leave to go visit Ruth (my husband's mother) for two weeks. I set up a corny still life out of lame silk flowers in a glass canning jar, in front of a bright turquoise cloth pinned to a nasty cardboard box.

Nothing compelling about it, no purpose for painting it, no exhibition planned nor client demand for it. Just a schlubby, plastic-stemmed spray of silk wild roses....... and I hate painting flowers. Too many pieces and petals and green, and too hard to paint a background around all those bits. Too sweety sweet sacharine. Besides, I once heard it said that you had to be a master in order to paint flowers at all well. Kind of like how every kid plays Beethoven's Minuet in G, but it takes a master to play that very simple song well. And my momma didn't raise no fool -- why paint something you don't like and don't do well?

Here's why: it doesn't matter if it fails. So here's the plan: if there is no endgame here, the means can be anything -- anything at all. Screw the critics and just paint. See what happens, see where it goes. No pressure, no promises.

And you know what? I really do kinda like my first effort! And-- my brain is bubbling over with ideas for more paintings of the same thing but in different media, different sizes, different styles. There is an echo stirring, of how it used to feel to paint, to feel like I couldn't wait to get to the easel each day.....! Next I'm trying and oil -- flat like a block print, and 2 x bigger.

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