Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Early morning, 14ยบ, Peacham, Vermont 

We take long trips.
We puzzle over the meaning of a painting or a book,
when what we’re wanting to see, and understand
in this world, we are that.
-Rumi, Quatrain #549

Dearest Readers,
1. In early January, I showed you the left side of a divided painting of colorful abstract wings entitled Winged Dervish, (see above). I was off to a vibrant start in the new year. Some of you questioned the little circle of skulls in the left corner. “They are buzzing around in the background like death”, I said. Here’s my back-and-forth progress since then. I invite you to enter my painting process over the month of January. 
2. Here's the first iteration of the right-hand wings. I liked the bubbles and floating shapes, but I felt the hearts nestled in their little eggs were too surreal. (Who knows?) So...
3. I added a gesso white-wash over the right side to partially obscure them, and I introduced an outline of a tree trunk (my Spirit Self). "Now where am I going?", I thought.

4. Here's the full outline of my tree over both sides of the wings in my studio.

5. Then I faintly gessoed in the left side branches, making sure to entangle the circle of skulls. "Would that slight change tone down their prominence,"  I wondered?
6. Not really. Here's a closer look.

7. The elements of the painting were getting too crowded (jumbled)? I decided to fully fill in the entire tree that was floating across the two-sided painting. Hmmm. Not sure. Much of the color is now obscured. "Is this good or bad"?, I ask myself, "Where am I going with this"?
8. Time to think. I like the bubbles and shapes on the lefthand panel, so they will stay, and I feel the skulls have something to say, but friend-artists have told me they are still too prominent, pulling the viewers eye insistently to the bottom left.
9. Yikes ! I really wanted a colorful tree to express my joyful self, so I took the plunge and painted it, as happily as I felt. (Above). This is now too overwhelming and it doesn't speak clearly about spirit, and eternity.

10. So I whitewashed the entire winged background. This is better...calmer. The tree, the skulls, the shapes and bubbles and the outline of the wings remain for another time to wrestle with. They seem to be essential.

Truthfully, I have a hint of a direction to go in. I'll let you know what I discover next time.