Monday, January 31, 2011

The morning after

     Sometimes I can tell when things are working, sometimes not, but it doesn’t always show until the next day. Some mornings I should think about getting a real job. Painting poorly happens when I accidently channel a movie star who decided late in life to become a painter or it could be what I ate or what someone said or what I thought they said. Imaginary mental drama is endlessly distracting. My stomach shouting, “GIVE THIS NONSENSE UP RIGHT NOW AND GO MAKE ME A SANDWICH” is another problem. If paint tasted good I would eat it, after all it does look like cake frosting.

     I whined to a friend about how hard reflections are to paint and she asked, “Why bother when most people can’t tell the difference?” She was offering solace because she’s kind, but I didn’t know how to answer because it hadn't occurred to me to just make it up. It takes time and lots of layers to trick the eye into believing a flat surface has dimension. The technical term is chiaroscuro, but I’ll skip a long explanation. It’s work to see things because our brains are lazy. We think chair and our brains give us the flash card picture of a chair. Ask anyone to draw a chair, the dog’s dinner or whatever and it will be pretty close to the flash card picture. An exact color is exasperatingly hard to remember. Most people can’t pick Coke red out of ten samples. Dottie, in one way you’re right, most people probably don't know, but I still think it's important, like telling the truth. Or I could just rob a liquor store and call it a day.   
     Robert Irwin wrote a book called “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees”. Cryptic, but he’s an artist. Naming something is the brain’s way of building a short cut. Our eyes see a lot more than our brains are willing to file. Sketching and taking photos help to remember. On my way to dinner with friends I just had to get a picture of a duck on a lawn. I crawled up to the duck, got the perfect shot and walked back elated; until my friend pointed out that the front of my white shirt was heavily smeared with green duck shit. Sadly my book title is closer to “Seeing is Forgetting to Look Where you Are”.
     Certain moments, the light on a petal, a reflection, a close encounter with wildlife stun me and I hope to pass that on, even if it escapes me when I crawl through shit. It wouldn’t hurt to loosen up though, someday I want to try drawing with a paint ball gun.
     Some mornings I look at what I did the night before and I could just lay back, smoke the sultry cigarette and feel completely satisfied. Other mornings I want to slink out of bed and hope no one ever knows what I have done.


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