27 Nov 41 years painting; going for 80
Posted from Seattle, WA on November 26,2021
The sign at the store says we’ve been in operation since 1983, but I’ve been painting longer than that, since 1980 or 81, when at age 30 I got a part-time job–4 hour a day parking-lot attendant– that allowed me to paint 6 or 7 hours a day. Since I’ve gone pro, I’ve never been able to paint that many hours a day, so nobody should go pro just to be able to paint more. But that means I’m well into my second forty years. My hero is the guy who called himself the “World’s Strongest Man,” you can google him, who went around to County Fairs and challenged people to arm-wrestle him. He was a vegetarian. What was so sad is that he was killed by one of the many crazy drivers that are out on the streets these days, hit on the New Jersey Turnpike, not his fault, at age 103.
I’m very excited about this new Wood Duck pair. It must be my 5th Wood Duck pair painting, but as they say, five times is the charm. I decided to break with my own tradition and paint the water brown. Waters in ponds and creeks is often a beautiful brown, but it’s one of those strange things between painting and photography, we accept it one but not the other. I’m loving this painting, but want to tweak it, always very dangerous. I always try to emphasize the athleticism of Wood Ducks. With their long tail they can speed through timber to get safely to their nests.
I’m working on a publication of Hummingbirds, a medium vertical skinny, to go with other medium skinnies. I am pretty excited about this Rivoli’s Hummingbird, which is an old painting that I am revising with real paint, not on the computer. A little more on that left to do.
Here is a new painting of West Point LIghthouse that I really like but it troubles me. The whole lower part of the painting risks getting boring, and there is no bird in the painting, that key element that proves the scene is not sterile and dead. I couldn’t figure out a place to put any bird, and I couldn’t figure out what species to put there. Delia and I once saw an exhausted Mourning Dove there. This year we had a Snowy Plover at the rack line. In past years, sadly not lately I don’t think, there were Tree Swallows nesting very near to this site and they could come by. Tree Swallows are plenty beautiful and I may put a Tree Swallow there, but it’s a little stretch because it would be very unusual to see one right in that scene. I’ve also thought of making it the left panel of a Triptych, with Sanderlings and maybe a Western Sandpiper at the beach against a small wave in the right panel, and the peaks of the Olympics–Brothers and Constance, viewable under the clouds. That might or might not work.
I’m also working on a medium Duck Skinny and this would be the top image, four Green-winged Teal. This is not a new start but I’ve been working hard on it.
One thing I’ve been doing a lot lately is doing final painting sessions on paintings I am getting ready to put up for sale. I had set this painting aside in exasperation years ago but when I picked it up recently I dound several minor changes could have a big effect at making it an image that I at least find very satisfying. In fact I’m now planning to bring it out as a print. I like that it is a scene from Whidbey Island, so if people ask I have one. It’s the Keystone Ferry at dock.
This painting of a Coot is probably the original I worked the hardest on, not making any big changes just reworking everything a little bit. I was pleased as it needed a more highlights and that helped it immensely in my opinion.
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