Big Changes

Many of the things which I could be writing about are shared histories with my two sons. I try to let their stories be theirs, but I will share this:  these are interesting times. My youngest is headed off to college shortly and I am trying to process that.  My oldest son continues living at home with us. We are trying to help him process his younger brother going away.  The program my oldest son had attended for four years became unavailable to him in June, just before my youngest graduated. So my oldest has been at home most of the summer while my youngest is getting ready to fly. We are trying to figure out the next right thing on a number of fronts. For one child, we are sending him out to participate in an already established path of learning. For another, we are trying to find a good support path for future growth. 

Izannah Walker's 200th birthday is coming up in September. I'm hoping to make something to honor that and also make it a visual prayer for our country. After that I will let myself do anything creatively that brings me joy. I'm scheduled to take another printmaking class in the fall. That's the next right thing for me. 

I Have Hope

I took a day to travel to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine with a friend. We were talking about how we have to encourage ourselves to be hopeful.  We need to encourage others to be hopeful as well. My friend spotted this sign as we were driving so I pulled over to turn around to get a picture. I had also been talking about signs I want to paint. Seeing this sign felt like it tied our conversation together in such a perfect way.  It was a visual confirmation that we were on the right track. 

The Road to Here and There

There Is More Than One Way to Make Black

Recently I was talking with a young artist about his work. He's not a visual artist, but the conversation reminded me of my first painting class, a night class at a local art college.This young actor thinks there is only one way to get the effect he wants. I was saying there IS more than one way, but it might take more thought and work. I likened it to squeezing black paint out of a tube. Which brings me to my art class story.

I had done a lot of drawing prior to taking the painting classs, but hadn't had a lot of success working with color.  Part of that was because like a lot of beginning artists, I relied too much on the use of black and white paint straight out of the tube to create lights and darks. I didn't yet know that there is a way to create a very dark dark that will read like black but doesn't involve using actual black. The teacher at the time pointed out that using white to lighten colors and black as a dark creates a kind of pastel grayed out painting.  Boring. There are lots of ways to create "space" in a painting. One way is using dark and light. Another way is to make sharper lines in the foreground with less sharp lines in the background. Varying intensity of color and using contrast also creates space.

You CAN use black paint straight out of a tube.  It is the darkest dark, but not the richest dark.  When we look around in the world and squint, the darkest darks are a color.  They're not black. Try this:  mix equal parts of alizarin crimson with a very dark green.  Mix burnt umber with a dark blue. You will get dark colors for your paintings that have a sense of life.

So. Squeezing black paint straight from a tube is one way to make the darkest dark. It's quick and easy. But the use of a small amount of black in a painting will make all the other darks sing.

Americans Being Kind to Americans

I shared this experience I had on  Facebook, and thought I would share it here.  It touched me deeply.

Americans being kind to Americans. 
It is still there. 

I went to get a famous Coffee Pot sandwich at the store on Broadway. In Bangor, Maine. While in line, a very old man went up to the counter, held up three work-worn fingers and said, "I want three super deluxes with salami!" 

I could tell that this was an event for him.  A treat. He had another man with him, at the counter.  

The lady at the register told him how much the sandwiches would be.  The elderly man opened his wallet slowly, pulled some money out, along with a card which showed he was a veteran (for a veteran's discount). 

When the cashier saw the veteran's card, she said, "Aw, you're a veteran. Your sandwich is on me and you'll get the others with the discount. You're always helping other veterans."    (I didn't know this is a ritual for them).

At that point another customer said to the cashier, "Put his other two sandwiches on my order" and turned to the elderly veteran and said, "Thank you for your service."

The veteran and his friend had tears in their eyes.  They got their sandwiches and left.  The other person was waited on.  

When it was my turn to pay, I asked the lady at the cash register about the veteran.  She said, "He served in World War TWO.  He is always buying sandwiches for other vets.  So I buy his sandwich when he comes in." 

America being America.  
Kindness matters.  

It's still there.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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