At 1 PM today, three hours before Jer was scheduled to pick me up, I decided I had chosen the wrong vocation. I would make a much better house painter than fine arts oil painter wannabee.
I started the day OK. I hung the little masonite panels, which aren’t finished but which needed to be saved from drips (they were sitting under the big linen panels). They aren’t far from being done, but each needs some final touches.
Having hung them, I thought I should work on the skies in the big linen panels. And I decided to begin with the last panel, which can get short shrift, coming after one’s initial enthusiasm has waned. Alas, in looking at the skies, I realized that I had, as I progressed along the seven panels, started to crowd the panels, cramming in more than the landscape ratio should allow. And I had oversized some of the forms. Correcting these errors on the linen was beastly, and can only be done with patience and lots of paint. Paint I have.
After running out of patience, knowing only time was going to dry the oils enough to really correct the problems, I started on the skies. Boring. Boring. Boring. I was bored. The skies were boring.¬† The pledge drive on NPR was boring.
It was time for a walk.
So I put on my coat (over my vest, my turtle neck, my jeans and my long underwear because the weather, while sunny, was roaring with a cold northeast wind), and went out for my daily rock gathering.
It’s amazing how a simple thing, like a bit of sun-changed glass in the desert rocks or the shades of blue of the desert distances can rearrange one’s moods:
I wandered about, looking at various human-made cavities in the earth, thinking they might be outhouses or mines or some kind of cellar. I came across a set of rocks arranged in a rectangle and decided they were the “foundation” for one of the tent structures that the miners used so often.l
And I marveled at the lavendar color of a pile of crushed rock, probably from some stamp mill process:
As the sun goes to the west, the colors of everything begin to glow; even at 1:30, the light becomes magic.
So, collecting the rock for my rock road, I went back to the Barn studio and tackled more skies — yards and yards of skies. In the process, I used my magic tool (some kind of rubbery clay gadget, I think) to deal with what I think of as the Long Slope. The Long Slope is a boring mountain range that faces north and can scarcely be seen as anything but a long irregular shape, blankly boringly blue, in the distance:
This is what I have done to it to try to bring out what I can see for about 12 minutes (if I look at the right 12 minutes) during the day:
(The vertical blue stripe is the tape that will be removed so these panels can be stretched on stretcher bars).
The Long Slope goes across one whole panel and parts of two others. This “play” with the rubbery shaping tool may make it tolerable.
So I finished out the day playing with my skies and feeling much more cheerful. Jer and I greeted yet another tarantula, and admired the Bullfrog Hills just west of the barn. I’m extremely fond of these bare mountains. They seem glorious, like bare human flesh. Even in this photo, taken at midday, they charm me.
Reporting cheerfully, on a Saturday night, in Beatty, Nevada.