Tuesday, July 22, 2014

sienna umber

There was once a time I rather liked the color black. When I was younger and life seemed less murky. Its depth and velvet darkness an abyss of color and no-color. The Void from which all emerges and to which all returns. Well, truth be told, I still rather like black, but earth tones have been getting my attention lately. The problem is these colors are a challenge to use in intuitive painting without the results looking like fecal matter smeared on canvas. My Inner Critic already has a field day with the colors I'm brushing, splattering or spraying on in layers ~ some actions definite, others tentative as I painfully question my creative sanity, paint up to the elbows and dripping on my toes. Adding burnt sienna and umber only serve to fuel that roiling cauldron of criticisms brewing in the back of my mind as I create. However, it is a challenge I may have discovered a means of getting past.

Taking either burnt sienna or umber directly from the tube, while deep earthy pigments in their own rights, are not usually featured colors unless one is painting a tree (y'know, the happy ones) or working skin tones or capturing the bits of soil in a landscape. Rarely does an artist think, Yeah, I want brown. With abstraction, what brown is in a painting becomes highly subjective. And questionable. That simple. So I played with adding magenta to the burnt sienna creating a little intensity to that reddish earth tone. Metallic copper was mixed into the burnt umber giving each of those colors a certain richness. In some instances, the results look like rust and terra cotta clay ~ earth, change, degradation, patina, depth without the velvet Void. Not so much like crap. But that's me looking at what I did. Others may see those results differently.

That was the paint-flinging activity for the day outside.

Inside, there was the working of the journal page from over the past two days. I got to thinking about the spiral writing I love to do. It makes the words more like art. If I want to obliterate them the image can become anything circular ~ a flower, a mandala. Writing in spirals used to be a challenge, turning the book (and the book, she is huge) carefully at each bend in the writing, until I remembered having a table-top Lazy Susan. It's a double decker to boot so I can keep other notebooks and slips of paper underneath the spinning top and in one place. Now spiral writing is a simple matter of starting off with a circle and writing around that, letting the thoughts wind themselves out further and further from the center.

And in news of the Feathered and Fowl, the ten ducklings are doing well, learning the ropes of living and near dying. Last night, a black rat snake came for dinner. Dirk, bless his Wellies, grabbed the snake behind the head and held it until it gave up the duckling. The unwelcome dinner guest was then driven far down the road and released safely where he's less likely to find duckling on the menu. The duckling only suffered a small puncture and the indignity of being slathered with snake spit. S/he was in fine fettle today waddling with hir brothers and sisters and swimming in the tub.

Bennie and I taking over the lawn furniture for drying multiple paintings.

Burnt sienna and magenta added in this swirl of orange, yellow and blue.

Magenta with the added depth of burnt sienna.

A rusty looking result from the burnt umber and metallic copper mixture.

And again here in this pomegranate shape.

Bennie's paint-flinging and hand print experiment.

Another one of Bennie's work in progress.

This week's spiral writing in the mega-journal.

Ducklings in a tub. Rather reminded us of a ring toss game at the carnival.

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