Sunday, July 31, 2016


Before the fix
Dearest Readers,
 Last time I told you the story of a painting called "Grace", named after that amorphous gift from out of the blue that arrives without warning, perhaps undeserved, but definitely welcomed as an answer to my painterly conundrum of what to do next. She is done. This painting. Completed. I am content after ten years of carting this big girl around with me.
Before the fix
Last time I blogged and whined about the intensity of its eye motifs, and the cheezy-ness of that dripping tear. All gone. No more worries. I quite simply, (timidly at first) toned down two of the eyes as a test.
One of the eyes after the fix
Another eye after the fix

I covered them with white paint to match the background, and quickly ragged it off. Then I brushed some back on, then off, then a lesser amount on, then I walked away, out of the studio. I kept returning during the evening taking sneak peaks. A few days later I shared these baby steps with my stalwart "Art Crit Group" from Atlanta via FaceTime on my iPhone. "Keep going," they said, "pick a few more to soften here and there".

I waited a few days, then last Saturday morning in bed a realization welled up that a gradual muting of the eyes in the lower half of the piece made sense with the arrival of Grace from the upper half. I plunged ahead, dabbing and erasing, covering and partially revealing. It worked! I even brightened the elements in the upper half.
Final painting after the big fix

The eyes now rest easy within the picture plane.
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I even painted over that pesky teardrop that spoke of sadness with a cudgel. I took a full view photo, and several details. Funny, the closeup of the central melancholy eye revealed a hint of the underlying tear. It was still visible beneath the new dabs of acrylic! 

This time I had no doubts. The tear must go in favor of a subtler image. I am at last content. My hope for you, dear viewer, is that you can experience this painting now in any way you like.

Revised brighter detail

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Wrapped for shipping

This is the story of a painting. It's a little like a puzzle, more like an itch. I've been lugging the piece around for ten years, from one studio and four homes, adding and subtracting, covering and uncovering parts. First just eyes painted on a thin piece of orange silk, which I later mounted to canvas and stretched across a frame, then more images added over time.

I call it Grace, and it seems to hold some key to who I am, though I'm not sure, and just writing that feels too highfalutin. She's big, heavy and a pain to carry. 6'6" tall x 4'3" wide, a nice wrap for a tall woman like me. (I tend to anthropomorphize art and trees. That's annoying to some friends, viewers and readers, but I can't help it). 

I've cut off the strapping tape and packing paper that protected it on my last two journeys to and from the West Coast. I'm staring at her now in my Vermont bedroom. She survived well.

I'm somewhat embarrassed by what I see, but I can't help that either. 

My left logical brain says the grid of blank, staring eyes is overdone. 

And that glistening teardrop from the central eye is just plain cheesy, but I cannot remove it. I've planned to, but my hand refuses to make the mark to cover it up. My heart says this story speaks the truth. So what truth? 

At the risk of narrowing your experience of the painting, I will translate.
I am the little eye both sad and full of life, surrounded by ancestors I think, or protectors, connected by pale, thorny rose branches. They are the source of the tiny cascading roses descending in a flow of syrupy grace. For me, I, the little Eye, am resting against a background of living flesh, 
still part of the world of regeneration. The others are from the past, washed out but still influential. My touch of sadness is just the knowledge of death. 

So there it is. My parable of myself, like an open wound for all to see. But good too–a wellspring. I like the way I painted it–the bright, complex colors, the layers and depths. 

Of course I will still pick at her with a few painterly clarifications to the story, but the end is near as it has been for years. The roses need brightening up. They are joyful gifts of Grace after all. The big eyes could use a bit more arch to some of the blankest lids. I was going to try a thin coat of translucent paint or ground to mute their insistency. I might experiment carefully with that. Or maybe just stop and let it be.