Friday, February 18, 2011
Thoughts From A Wandering Mind
We've actually had two days in a row this week where the temperature went above forty degrees. Brought me to mind of what I hope is coming soon. After last year's non-winter event, this year has more than made up for it. It did put me in a spring cleaning mode, as I spent most of the day straightening up the studio. I also spent some time doing some touch-ups on a couple paintings I wasn't entirely satisfied with. I use to never touch a painting after I called it "done" and signed my name to it. These days, however, if I see how a painting can be improved, I'll do it with no hesitation. After all, if I noticed my fly was down after I "finished" dressing in the morning, I'd still zip it up.
I was at an art store recently to buy some painting medium. I firmly believe that supporting the arts means supporting local art stores too. Most of these operations are Mom and Pop affairs, and I have seen way too many go out of business. These days, it's the internet that is dooming them. But then I saw this store charging exactly twice as much for a bottle of the medium I use compared to what I would pay online. Look, I'd happily pay a few bucks more, but geez-- don't make me go elsewhere! I went home and ordered it online.
This past summer I participated in a very well run charity paint-out art auction event. It was held in a town full of millionaires on the coast of Maine. Myself excluded, there where some well known artists participating, the work was top-notch, and the paintings were getting good prices. Half-way through the auction, I noticed that some paintings were really getting great bids, while other, equally good pieces weren't getting as much. Two young college-age girls where presenting the pieces for the bidders. One was an attractive brunette. The other was a striking blonde with movie star looks. I noticed that the bids where much higher and more prolonged when the blonde girl displayed the art! I kept my fingers crossed, but the brunette presented mine.
I sold my very first painting for eight dollars. Why eight bucks? I didn't think five was enough, but I didn't dare ask for ten.
All this winter I've wanted to climb to the top of a hill on a golf course near me to check out the view. I'd been up there in the summer, of course, and the vistas were quite lovely. I wanted to see how it would look on a sunny late afternoon covered in snow. I thought it might be cool to try a plein air from up there. I finally climbed up there today. It was the hardest ordeal I've put my body through in years. The snow was knee deep, or in many spots waist deep the entire three hundred yards up the hill. I had originally thought I'd snow shoe up there, but opted for heavy boots instead. (Because I'm wicked smaht!) Each step was an ordeal. I thought that somehow all the oxygen in the atmosphere had dried up. Halfway up, I thought I'd take a photo of myself so my family could see how I spent my last moments on earth. But I kept on going, anticipating the golden light shining over the snow covered hills I'd see at the top. After an eternity, I made it. And the view? Lovely. Except the sun went behind the clouds as soon as I got there.
And by the way-- today is the tenth day I've had this head cold...
In honor of Presidents Day: John Singer Sargent was commissioned to paint a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, but found it very difficult to do. Roosevelt had little use for Sargent, and didn't want to sit still long enough to have him complete the work. For his part, Sargent didn't have a high regard for TeeDee (as Roosevelt's family called him), finding him to be a rather overbearing know-it-all. Sargent was trailing behind the always moving president, imploring him to be still for just a little while, when Roosevelt, climbing some stairs, turned around and glared down at the master painter. "Hold that pose!" cried Sargent. Here's the painting:
Have a great long weekend!