October 16, 2010: Last painting finished in the Petrified Forest.
Yesterday we toured Holbrook, where we “did” Jim Gray’s Rock Shop, a serious classic of its kind, checked out the Museum Courthouse, walked through and photographed the Centennial Historic Register District, and got home by 1 PM. Oh and we had a Dairy Queen.
Then I laid out my paintings to see if the scheme I had come up with earlier had been fulfilled:
A bit closer look at the top and bottom of the set. There are some paintings that I’m fond of that aren’t here, so the final grouping will probably be different. And I might just decide to frame and exhibit them in a nice measured row so that the 30-second lookers can have a bit of time with each painting.
Anyway, this putative presentation is something about context, and something about time, both of which have occupied me (along with the dratted question of perception) for some years. More about that in my final summary, which I haven’t tackled yet.
However, this morning I went out to do one last painting, in order to make¬† 21 pieces for the 21 days we have had access to the Park. I didn’t paint on some of those days, but on some I painted twice. And I’m not counting the three bad paintings that have been discarded, turned back to the wall until they can be sanded to oblivion.
I thought for the last painting I would do the Neutra Plaza (in the Visitor’s Center), but when I woke up I knew I wanted to do the Painted Desert, the best view of it, from Pintado Point. It wasn’t the right time of day, but I had a choice between painting in the AM and having dinner with friends in the PM, or skipping dinner. I have my priorities, so at 7:30 AM there I was.
The colors of the area are much different in the morning.¬† When we would drive home from the south part of the Park, just before dusk, sun in the west, we would come over a little rise and there it would be — the desert blazing with color. In the morning, the colors are cooler and drabber. So I painted the shapes and forms I saw, but ignored the color, put every red I had on my palette, and used most of them on the board. The smooth, less colorful areas of the painting are the “washes” (which might be big muddy rivers sometimes.) The big one is Lithodendron Wash, which was the way most surveyors, trackers, Native Americans, and early pioneers came through.
The colors appear all wrong on this monitor, but hopefully, back in¬† Portland, I can control the light and check the colors against the painting, which is now packed away in the Honda, waiting transport. The next blog will be the last, and may have some conclusions.
Which will undoubtedly be revised as I consider this experience over the next few months. –June