Sunday, January 17, 2016

hook painting

    In the house I am doing something and as my eyes turn from here to there, they fall on the front of my shirt, and I stop to stare. From the window a patch of light rests there and it flickers for my benefit. A thought comes to mind and I whisper the words as a reply to the flicker: "I see you, God."

    That was how it was that Monday in November. Out looking for a subject to paint along Moss Creek. Some leaves were still fastened to the highest limbs. Bundled up warm in my insulated overalls, my feet walked along the edge of the wood over the cold ground, eyes taking in the textures, flicks of color, branches darkened by shadow

Halting. Observing where lined branches came to their end next to the blue sky. Listening to the stillness, the creak of branches, regarding a cheery rustle above me. Seeing many cottonwood leaves, but only a small cluster of them were fluttering. The thought came and my lips replied with a kind whisper: "I see you, God." I felt the smile grow at the corners of my mouth. Tears began to release. The motion of yellow was like the motion of firelight among coals, like that of a burning bush. The reference came and I understood. With a nod, the moment was not lost on me.

   Tiny chik chik chik sounds. I listened and turned. In a thick fence row I saw the silhouette of two birds hopping about. I regarded the delicate fluster, the breeze, the calm, the cold on my cheeks, the fresh sunlight. I would later write down in my journal, that the yellow suspended leaves were a pattern in the air, a pattern in motion, the presence of Christ. So here I was, walking, listening, being still. The subject I sought was not "a tree" or "the water" or "the sky."  I was there, drinking in Your Photoshop of complexity, Jesus. Reeds lay over curled lines, a forest of blonde blades, layer upon layer of bizarre otherworldly shapes in a strange composition, full of imagination, intention, and architecture. Whew! Where to begin? How to render? Those patterns were a vocabulary beyond what I was familiar with.

    I had been there since 8:30 that morning. First, surveying the west side. Then driving out and around to prowl on the east side. My notes indicate I was ready to call it a day at 9:20. I climbed back in the pickup. And drove slowly, reluctant to give up. And then, at 9:40, I SAW  IT !!!!!! (Double click on right sketch to enlarge.)
A close dark trunk and a distant lit up tree trunk reflected in the water. There was dark shadows in the foreground from which to practice. A branch that was both dark and light.

I would turn what I observed into ABSTRACTed components, patterns, dashes, contrasts, worked over and locked in this manner. The row of trees on the opposite bank would become feathery, like a mist, like a watercolor wash. Yes, that caught my senses. I jumped out of the truck and began setting up the easel and paint supplies. Energy rose in me. Work commenced and concluded after three and a half hours.

Details from finished work.

after the paint dried, and the pigments were varnished, LATER ---- I would DELIGHT and REGARD this vocabulary, this juxtaposition, Your closeness to me, the way You come and remind me that I belong to You. You have made me become one of Yours, Jesus.

  First of three. Eighteen minutes.

See progression of painting, below.
Between these, COMPARE what areas were changed.
POINT to all the places you see one color used.

     Second of three. Twenty-eight minutes.

(Note---- In the first video from the seven-minute marker on, you can notice something small flit about in a dot-dash motion. It shows up against the back of me painting. It also showed up for the first half of the second video. I had not noticed it before. In keeping with this post, I believe the camera observed and caught "the flicker." With a smile and a chuckle, regarding this activity: "Thank You. I see You, God.")

Third of three. Twenty-four minutes.

Hook by Karl Marxhausen, 40 by 30 inches, acrylic on canvas, plein air 100 %, November 2015. Double click to see enlarged.

That work was a candidate entry for the 20th Annual Heartland exhibit. I will know in the next few weeks whether this and two other works were accepted for the March show.

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