Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Turtle & Dragon" -- oil on canvas -- 48x48"

This was a fun one to do. Hard, of course, but fun. The turtle is a little painted sculpture I bought from a crafter during the recent Heron Festival out at Kensington Metropark Nature Center. That young man did wonderful work! I would have loved to have been able to afford more of his pieces.

The orchid plant on the left came from Meijer's. The white orchid was a gift from my friend Nancy. The paper umbrella with the dragons on is probably pretty old. It was very rickety and I was surprised it would open without ripping apart. That came from a garage sale down the street.

And what would a painting be without conchs! I just love painting them. Love their weird shapes, lurid colors! The black dragon figurine on the right was another find at Target. I could just go broke in that store.

This painting was challenging to do. I'd just set it up and had it drawn in when I got a call from one of my old bosses at work. He told me I had to come in to work last week, driving cars. I was supposed to be on layoff during June. July 1st I go to what they're calling "Pre-Retirement Leave". Sounds like a cushy job, driving cars (especially Lincoln Town Cars), but it's actually an exhausting deal. We had 2000 Town Cars that had to be put up on repair hoists, the front wheels removed and inspected for faulty wheel bearings. It was my job to then drive them off the hoists, through the building and out into the parking lot, about 1 block away. Then I'd walk back and get another one. Just try doing this nonstop for 10 hours out in the 92 degrees, with dusty wind! We'd go from 6 AM to 4:30 PM. I'd come home, too exhausted to touch my painting.

So you could call this a "paintus interruptus". I'm back on layoff this week and finished this today. The other difficult aspect to painting this one was that I was using north light. The sun would come in through the west window in the afternoon and I'd have to close the shade. Which would then make the room so dark I could barely see what colors I was using. One of my old teachers, Clyde Aspevig, always had us arrange our colors on the palette in a particular order. "This way you can automatically reach for it -- and not be stumbling around, hunting for a color." I found it's helpful for when you're painting in near-dark conditions.