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Posts Tagged ‘Rumor and Sigh’

It seems a little silly to write about my work while what is happening in the outer world beyond my studio goes on. I would prefer to give air to my anger at the gross incompetence and irresponsibility displayed by our government in its handling of the current crisis. Or to voice my anxiety for the health of my family and friends, as well as my own. Or my fears about the almost certain loss of the better part of my livelihood for at least the near future. And maybe well beyond.

Who knows how this ultimately shakes out?

So, writing about painting seems grossly insignificant, even trivial, at the moment.

But it’s what I do.

I am painting diligently now with the hopes that soon there will be a return to normalcy.

It’s what I do.

It also keeps me from thinking too much about the current situation, keeps me as sane as I can be. Now, where that falls on the sane to insane spectrum, I can’t tell you. But while it provides me with an escape route, the outer world often finds its way in.

Take the piece at the top, a new painting on paper that’s 18″ by 24″. It’s a real throwback to my earlier work with transparent color washes with hard edges and a sparseness of detail. Painting it was a joy, like meeting an old best friend once more and recognizing all those things that made that person important to you at one time. There was an inherent comfort in it for me, one that allowed me to forge ahead, finding focus even though my mind was still partially distracted.

The sky in these works always seem to dominate whatever element I choose to serve as the central character in the composition, here the house and the adjacent Red Tree. This domination provides evidence for me of our frailty, our relative smallness in the greater scheme of things in this world, in this universe. But at the same time it provides affirmation of my own existence, standing alone under the dome of the sky.

It just felt good. Feels good. The image above is not perfect, needs a little tweaking as I just noticed a shadow on the foreground. But for the moment, it’s good enough. But even though it, for the most part, takes me away from the now, the current situation always seems to creep back in. When I was finishing this piece the idea of social distancing as a way of mitigating exposure to the virus was on my mind. This piece, like much of my work, has a sense of isolation.

I decided to call it Keep Your Distance, the title taken from a Richard Thompson song from one of my favorite albums, Rumor and Sigh.

Here’s the song. Give a listen and keep your distance, okay?

 

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Save the BabyI spent this entire past week fighting a fatiguing  flu that just doesn’t want to say good-bye  yet somehow find myself at another Sunday morning, this one marking Mother’s Day for this year.  I am reminded of the old school cures my mom would administer when we kids were sick.  There was always a can of Cloverine Salve and a bottle of Save The Baby on hand.  It was a small glass bottle filled cloudy, camphor-based product that she would heat then dole out in a tablespoon along with a little sugar.  The grainy sweetness of the sugar couldn’t hide the pungent camphor taste but  acted as enough of a distraction to make it bearable.  Plus, there always seemed to be some sort of relief from the coughing afterwards.  You can’t buy this product now as camphor has been banned for internal use by the FDA but it will always have a place in my heart as a symbol for the care Mom offered when we were feeling under the weather.  Miss you, Mom.

Being Sunday morning, I usually offer some music and this week I have chosen a somewhat topical song.  It’s called Mother Knows Best and is from one of my favorite albums, Rumor and Sigh, from the great Richard Thompson.  Enjoy your Mother’s Day.

 

Cloverine Salve

 

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