Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When Painting Failure Turns Into A Virtue

September 24, 2013
   Kathy sent me a text yesterday that said, "OMG! Oh for Pete's sake! I am standing in this kitchen and I'm trying to keep from passing out. What is going on? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I feel very loved. I hope that was your intention."

   I told her I was glad she felt loved but that was only part of the reason I did it. She asked me, "What's the other reason you did it?"

   Well, you know, I have been struggling with this Cowboy Ground Zero cover concept for weeks now. Every day I wake up with a plan of attack and every day it ends in ruins. "I can't paint jack!" I said as I came over to the kitchen last Saturday. And Sunday. And yesterday.

  The issue goes to press on Thursday and time is running out. Bad dreams. Jerky REM sleep, a bad cough. You know, all the usual by products of being a lousy artist.

  This morning I had a tiny breakthrough. As soon as I got up, I took yesterday's failure and added some glow and tweaked a few things.

Daily Whipout, "Cowboy Ground Zero Study #10"

   Heartened, I took another failed board and added a more subtle earth skyline at bottom and added cloud cover, then whipped in our Gus Blazing Cowboy, but with a more shadowy effect:

"Cowboy Ground Zero Background Concept #4"

   I was inspired by the latest Booth Museum bulletin which arrived in the mail two days ago:

   The cover painting by Bill S. utilizes a step-and-repeat shadow image to create movement. Not a big fan of the painting (it is a blatant ripoff of a classic painting) but I dig the design elements.

   Anyway, when Kathy asked me why I really cleaned up the kitchen I had to admit part of it is because when I can't paint sometimes I do mindless chores to get my mind off the failure. "So you cleaned the entire kitchen when you think you can't paint?"

   Yes, ma'am.

"The best portion of a good man's life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."
—William Wordsworth