So I retired on April 15th, and before the end of the month I had written and recorded my opus, “Home”.
Now what am I gonna do?
(The recording is way at the end and 9 minutes long, so if you start it now it might be done by the time you’re finished reading!)((Yes, 9 minutes. Didn’t I say it was an opus? That’s short for an opus, really.))
Moving on to painting my masterpiece, I guess. I’ve recently completed my first seascape, my first breaking wave! As a student, I’m pleased with the result, generally. I had the hardest time getting the hue of the sand right. First it looked like snow and then like mud and then like flesh tone. I called the piece “Fleshtone Beach” for a while. I really struggled with the scrubby plants, re-working the underpainting and then getting carried away and ending up with a green I’m just not satisfied with. Mostly it’s “art-mill” style, which is a good way to practice brush strokes and palette knife work, but tends to throw some rules out the window.
I’ve recently tried to break out of the confinement of training myself to paint in realist or in impressionist styles. Those remain my lofty goals, but most efforts in that area bring frustration due to my undeveloped skills. It’s just something I need to continue to pursue patiently. Like learning to ride a bike, but falling down a hundred thousand times before you get it.
So my first experience with Galkyd painting medium met with mixed results. I should have used a clear gel or maybe even oil. I foolishly ignored the fast-drying characteristics of the Galkyd. I covered the canvas with it, to try a wet underpainting method. I wasn’t half way through the piece and it started drying and getting sticky, so I had to rush to complete it. Anyway, it still struck some people (or they were stricken by it, I guess), so it hangs in the gallery. I call the piece “Galkyd Lake Sunrise”. A good lesson. And p.s. to any novices out there: Galkyd would be good mixed on the palette as needed. It leaves the paint with a high gloss and dries quickly. It says it’s tacky in 24 hours, but in my experience it was completely dry by then. If you have experience with clear gel I’d be keen on hearing about it.
This is my first post of my attempts at painting in oils. Most of my “best” works have been given to children and friends. I imagine I would still find them flawed and amateur if I saw them now. An artist is never satisfied with their own work.
I regret digital media is not the kindest to such things. The paints have pigments the camera can see but we can’t. I’m using my Ott Light which is supposed to be “daylight” for painting under, but is more of a fluorescent light. Anyways, I picked the images that were closest to showing the colors correctly.
The last little piece, “Island Life”, is currently on the easel. It’s a small format canvas, 5 x 9 inches, which brings its own challenges. As you can see, the basics have been laid in. The next step is adding branches and foliage to the trees, then some shimmers on the water and at the waterline of the rocks. I might try some brushy blueberries, but the foliage debacle in the seascape has left me gun-shy.
I love to paint and write and play music. The writing has taken the back seat lately to the other pursuits, and to life in general now that spring has brought all that mowing and gardening and sunbathing to Engleville. I’ve spent a lot of manic high hours in the music studio, and have put up a couple of scratch versions of my songs. This one is a bit of collaboration with my son Ryan, who was doodling with a theme on the piano. He said he wanted to name it, and decided it reminded him of our beloved Victorian Ark that houses us. This inspired me to write the lyrics, and I couldn’t stop until I cobbled together an entire rock anthem. I’m hot on the trail of a couple more new songs, so won’t make any promises about the writing. As always, the tunes I post are not polished master recordings, just my dabblings in the studio to get the songs out of my head.
Until next time!
Is it this house?
Is it these walls?
Is it these old familiar rooms and airy halls?
The Sparrow nigh?
This Mourning Dove?
Each day some new treasure here to love?
No. It’s not of timber.
No. It’s not of stone.
It’s a warm and whole belonging.
Did I choose?
Has it been known
By all the stars forever I’d call this my own?
How can it be
These ancient trees
And fragrant lawns could be all the world to me?
Here, this simple man,
In this humble glen I can
Snow will fall.
Winds will blow.
I don’t claim it’s always Paradise, y’know.
Through chilling cold,
Each tempest thrown,
Through everything that cuts me to the bone,
Here, the storms may test me.
Here, no ill can best me.
The surest place I’ve ever known
If you’re adrift
Out on the sea
Amidst the raging storms of this mortality,
Or slashed and burned,
Or beat to hell,
Or lost to us at the bottom of your well,
If you need a rescue,
A place where you can run to,
I have a place for you,
There’s always room