Green light, red light: when art betrays
For five to six weeks it was a green light.....the burnt umber sketch on the tiny canvas had an old master look. Instead of isolating a figure in a monumental way I placed my dying dad and myself in a hospice room fool of books and cups and details, a leap of faith. Now it was time to apply color. Previously I was laying somewhat monotone layers on top of one another. I did so with the figures but began to have trouble with the tones, that is controlling their values, which all were too similar. To do so the particulars of the drawing would have to be more precise and defined, a task I resisted. Then I started to apply opaque colors and to lighten them used white. As with a couple of previous small paintings the colors became milky and dulled. I played with this a few days but was stuck. It was hard to move forward. The light had gone red. I stopped the painting.
Hoping for clarity or a revelation I appealed on all levels. I had two new ideas for another painting, did sketches for them, but my resolve was not there. Was it the subject matter? I was not excited about what I was doing. Do I just plow through regardless? Or do I give it a break? Now was a good time to work, because the rest of life was fairly stable at the moment. Shame. Maybe I wasn't putting it all into the art. Art was an empty pit, wanting it all. I couldn't do that, it would be too much. Art had its place in my mind, to help complement my ideas. I thought we agreed to that. That's why it reemerged. That was my agreement with art. Couldn't art behave? Do I have to examine everything just to be able to draw a line? It's as if once again art betrayed me.