Sunday, March 20, 2011


On a recent photo and sketch trip with Dearest, we stopped at a drugstore to run a little side errand. She went in and I didn't need to, so I sat in the car and looked across Roxboro Road. There was a hedge and some bare winter trees at the edge of the street - a planting done years before by the city of Durham and then made asymetrical and more interesting by time and accident. I played my usual game of moving, adding, removing shapes in my head to improve the composition, and I found I liked a number of the things that were going on in the small trees, in particular. I took a photo, thinking it might inspire a painting.

And it did. This was mostly finished several weeks ago, but I set it aside in favor of other projects. Today, feeling very low from the flu (it seems as if my lungs are doing their best to slowly kill me - medications are beginning to have some effect finally, after six days) but wanting desparately to pick up a brush or a pencil, I realized I knew how I wanted to finish it. That knowledge enabled me to get through an hour and a half of painting before it was completed and I was too tired to do more than take the photos and go down for lunch. Lunch gave me enough energy to write this post...

Now I will take the medication that makes me the most nauseous of my flu pharmacopia, and sit on the bed all propped upright with pillows because any incline makes the coughing uncontrollable, which is excrutiating since the coughing fits have caused a muscle spasm in my back... This is what I meant about my lungs, which are the seat of the trouble, the camp of my viral/bacterial overlord which I must overthrow with the nightly fevers and the antibiotic (which also makes me nauseous - but I'm sticking with it because it's the mighty Z-pack, and the first dose is the hard one - it gets easier from there).

And while I sit up in bed, and before I try to drift off for a fitfull nap, I will read more of my big Taschen book about Gustav Klimt, which inspired the painting urge today, and who in part inspired this painting with his unusual, close-up, dense landscapes.

Watercolor - 24x18 - Arches hot press.

And on a separate and totally unrelated note, the last meal I prepared for my family before I went into household quarrantine was this pie for Pi Day (March 14th). I really like the calligraphic things that happen automatically as the pie crust expands, opening the slits and allowing their edges to brown. Pi was one of my favorite numbers as a gradeschool kid, as were the weirdly patterned repeating decimals you get from all the fraction values of "sevenths" (1/7, 2/7, 3/7, etc.). I remember my dad teaching it to me up to the tenth digit, and can hear his rhythmic sing-song as he recited it, "Three point one four one five nine, two six five three five." I believe the next digit is a zero or a one, so stopping here after ten is mighty accurate for most human needs...


Odd Chick said...

oh my- this is transcendentally beautiful. to take a regular photo and make it a thing so edenish- just gives me some idea how/where your mind dwells. me thinks you were a tree once. it reinforces my personal philosophy that we came from a garden setting originally and we are all imprinted with its paradise and long to be back there.

Linda said...

oh my, you sound like you have pneumonia, how perfectly terrible BUT... at least you might get a chance for some down time to paint??

this is lovely and i went nuts for the top left of the paper, where the paint is all light and dappled with each other's pigment...yummy. and of course, the sweet bird! trees are the most magnificent things, so inspiring, i can gaze for hours at them. which i have-- and thank you for your kind comment, i am faring better but still, it seems no answers are really in sight. sigh...get well soon.

susan said...

Your painting of the scene is far more interesting than the photograph. I see a strong hint of changing seasons in the colors you chose and the forms are most elegant. A bird takes wing and a little fish is reflected. Nice.

I do hope you're feeling better by now. We both went through the agony of flu this past winter but without the medication. Back spasms can be terrible.

My favorite pi is 'the life of'.

Get well.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Even your pies are works of art. I love Hedge. It is one that I would love to hang in my house.

I love walking in the door and seeing your woodpecker painting on my wall. It is a painting I'm truly glad I purchased and invested in proper matting and framing. Thank you!

TheCunningRunt said...

I love how your mind's eye reinterprets what your head's eyes see - you so often capture and amplify something essential yet elusive in the original!

And that "pi" looks delicious (though the digit "0" won't show up until the 32nd decimal point, and the next "1" is later still!)