I got up slowly and moved slowly and sipped my coffee slowly, and did desultory emails but finally, slowly, went off to the studio about 10:30 AM.
I thought, since it was already too late to do anything serious, that I would try setting up the internet connection at the Red Barn. Jer and I had thought we’d use it for communicating (cell phones don’t work out there) but it seemed like too much bother to set up before this. And it was just as well, since I couldn’t get it to work anyway. “Airport” and Microsoft don’t like to connect. I didn’t work very hard at my attempts, mostly just drank my tea and thought about Life, Love, and the pursuit of nothing:
At some point, however, I realized that I had a photo of a place I had done a painting study from and the painting needed work. So I hauled out my brushes and used the computer to give me information that my memory lacked.
This is the Bare Mountains from near the Airport:
These mountains have a striking uplift pattern as they progress south, but near Beatty, as they come to an end, they get a bit jumbled. This is the jumbled end.
Then, having my paintbrush in hand, I meandered over to the linen panels to see what I could see. I put a bit of paint here, and there, and then over here, and then there again. And when I stopped dabbing and scratching, I saw that I had created the basic pattern. This may be it.
I haven’t had any critical eyes approach it yet, and I’m still too close to know if it’s done, but right now, I’m thinking I’m close to the finish line on the linen. The last piece fell into place when I found that I was making “V” and upside-down “V” shapes — diagonals that crossed the panels, pulling them together and giving them some movement. I maintained the quirks of light, but they are downplayed. The forms seem Ok, and the colors move, which is about all one can ask of them. I may need to push more paint around — I can’t tell right now. But this is the badly lit version of the seven panels as I left them tonight:
The colors are really screwed up in these photos, so they don’t match up. The last set of panels is darker and brighter, a combo that I couldn’t photoshop with any success. The first set of panels is brighter and more saturated, but again, nothing I did brought about a desired result. But the “v” shapes seem to me to be able to be read, in spite of the size of the panels. The whole is balanced and unified. I think there’s enough variety, although that may depend on your definition of variety; the desert is like that….
And so, I stopped work on the panels, touched up another painting, washed out my brushes, and started a semi-abstract of a salt flat, which are about as abstract as one can get and still do landscape. It will require overpainting once it’s dry, so it was good to get the first layer down.
Tomorrow is supposed to be pleasant weatherwise, and I need to get away from the desert (and those linen panels), so I think I’ll paint in town a bit. And go to the Beatty Merc to stock up for Thanksgiving. We are having guests — who are bringing most of the food. What better guests can there be than that?
Reporting from Goldwell House, in Beatty, Nevada, two days before turkey-day. Barbecued, no less. We don’t do barbecue for Thanksgiving in Portland, so it will be a rare treat.