Wednesday, July 27, 2005

July 27, 2005
We took Cristina (I’ve been spelling it wrong. There is no H) and Tomas out to dinner last night at Tonto. Very nice time and meal. Sat outside on the covered patio. Big raintclouds and dramatic sunset. Fun. ($179 house account). Tom is taking her to the airport. She flies out to Spain at two. We miss her already.

Yesterday, I had Tomcat pose for me as a stage robber. It was hot so I let him put on a frock coat, gunbelt, hat, aiming a Winchester down a hill. Cristina was greatly amused as we went out on the edge of our land and I sketched him aiming at a non-existent stagecoach. Of course, he had on shorts and flip flops, so he looked a tad goofy (I’ll paint in the boots and pants. I was interested in the folds in the jacket and how the rifle would look against his shoulder). Got some good sketches and transferred them to a big painting. And speaking of which. . .

Whenever I get stuck on a passage (that anatomical pose is not right. Must grab my ‘73 Winchester and put it together with a free model), I sometimes will do little studies for future work, utilizing scrap, or leftover watercolor paper. After getting stuck on a street scene depicting the Grand Hotel, I put it aside and sloshed in a very small study of a nighttime streetscape behind Hatch’s Pool Hall. I didn’t even care how the figures looked, it was the color scheme I was after. I just swished everything in haphazardly. Got some great purples and blue-greens going in the building shadows and mushed it together, wet into wet. After about three minutes I thought to myself, “Not bad, now I need to go get a big 300# watercolor sheet and apply the things I’ve accomplished in this little study in the big painting, which is going to be dynamic and spectacular!”

Of course the big painting, “Alley Snakes #1” is muy ambitious and took me about three hours to execute. And I was pretty proud of it. But last night, as I was going to throw away the study, I decided to add some more paint to it just for the fun of it. Long story short, I brought it in this morning and Gus scanned it and we sandwiched it in the book layout, above the Morgan playing pool scene (this new combo will appear in the book, but not the magazine) and it looks magnificent. Very cinematic. Amazing. A dashed off simple study trumps the serious one. Perhaps there's a moral in here.

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.”
—Leo Tolstoy

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