Living and Painting in Layers
Last week we had temperatures in the 30’s every day. The clocks changed and now it’s dark by 4:30 where I live. That may sound pretty grim but for me, it signals the opportunity to go into my studio to paint without the tugging and nagging feeling that I should be out in the garden, planting, weeding, pruning, and planning. Now, guilt-free I’m in my studio creating the paintings of the flowers from summer.
And guess what? Yesterday, today and for the next few days, the temperatures have returned to the 70’s. So the sunshine has seduced me back into the garden. Finally today I finished planting the 100 plus bulbs I bought on some wild spending spree a few weeks ago. The daffodils, the oriental, martagon lilies are in. The bearded iris have been planted in the little nooks and crannies where there is some sunshine. And all the five different kinds of alliums are finally in the ground.
Alliums, you may or may not know are onions, these are ornamental onions. Not the kind I cooked dinner with tonight. I made a new recipe with spanish onions, turkey sausages, grapes, cumin, vinegar, roasted potatoes, and some of the meager crop of tomatoes I grew from seed this year.
As I cut up the onions I thought about all their layer upon layers. Which led me to think about my paintings. I paint in layers. Layer upon layer of thin transparent paint. As the painting comes into existence it reminds me of my darkroom days and watching the photograph begin to arrive in the chemical baths. I tend to work all over the surface so the entire painting emerges pretty much at the same time.
My paintings are very much like me. Like you. Like everyone. We’re all layers upon layers of information, experience, emotion, and intellect. Interest and drive are hidden in there too. Hopes and dreams also come to mind. Many people don’t like to look below the first layer of who they are. I, on the other hand, dug deep into the bone marrow to find the core of what makes me tick. Then I covered it up so the rest of the world wouldn’t find it easily. Keeping that core wrapped in swaddling clothes held closely, is one of the mysteries I keep safe and protected from the seasons of change.
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