|Stoking The Fire|
Ever notice that frequently there is a lag time between Want and Do? I have. For instance, Ellen might want me to take the garbage out, but it will probably be awhile before I do.
In painting, Want and Do usually follow the same M.O. Everywhere I go, I am bombarded with visual sights that make me say, "I want to paint that!" And sometimes I run home and paint the picture. Other times, I eventually paint the scene, but not right away. Case in point: Driving home one late winter afternoon, I spotted an old Maine barn perched atop a hill. The snow was in purple/gray/blue shadow leading up to the barn, while the red barn was all aglow as the last few rays of sun lit it beautifully. I was struck by the sight, and eventually made a painting of it.
Fifteen years later!
Hey-- sometimes, Do takes time! Like taking out the garbage...
Here at the house, we have an old antique parlor wood stove that I have wanted to paint for the last three years, or as long as we owned it. I love the design of the thing, the gun-metal gray cast iron combined with the chrome bumpers and ornaments. Man, those Victorians made things look pretty!
But while I love the look of the thing, I never could come up with a painting. It was that fight between Want and Do. Then a few weeks ago, early in the morning, I saw Ellen putting more wood on the fire. It was just dim enough in the room for the fire box to cast a warm red glow on her face. I felt like Charlie Brown having a Eureka moment:
A couple of sketches later, and an evening photography session, and I was off. As usual, I drew my picture out on a panel prior to painting:
I lit the scene with an oil lamp so that there would be some warm ambient light, and not just the light from the stove. I didn't want to have a color scheme that was the same old warm light/cool shadows. Although, truth be told, it was a fight. Anyway, the stove is a side loader with the door opening out left to right. Which you can't see. My hope is that I made it obvious. And frankly, in retrospect, if the door opened toward the viewer it probably would have made the light shining on Ellen more obvious as to the source. But such is the scourge of realism, I guess...
So, there you go-- another one off the bucket list. There's a lot more pictures I want to paint, but I think maybe I need to take the garbage out.
Even if I don't want to.