Friday, March 2, 2012

Two People Walking in the Desert 1995

Here is how you paint over the surface of a black and white photograph:

1. You cover the surface of the photograph with oil paint.
2. You push the paint around until you have something you like.
3. You wipe the gorgeous paint away until you find something that you can hook your unconscious on to--some bit of photographic information that will let you know what it is that you need to talk about.
4.  The painting begins to reveals itself to you, and you are off to the races, happy, excited, and curious to find out what needs to be said.
5. You struggle to make the painting work.  At times you think you have made the best painting ever, but then later you think it's never going to come to completion and that it's really terrible.
6.  You think you're finished but you have to ask your husband to come and take a look(you are very vulnerable at this point).  If you are lucky he will say he thinks it's fantastic.  If you aren't lucky he will just stand and stare at it and not have much to say, or start to tell you about his day.  Then you have to go back to #5, or possibly even #1.

You have to both remember what the photo is about, but at the same time, forget it.  What is revealed has to be a surprise, but then, if you need some bit of photographic information as the story develops, you have to be able to remember where it might be.  If you blunder around trying to reveal something, you risk losing your painting, but if you need the perfect eye or nose or a certain texture, then you have to be able to find it pretty much on the first swipe.  The paint is forgiving--it takes over 12 hours to start to dry, but what isn't so forgiving is your creative self.  It will give you nice paintings and clues about what is going on, but if you get sloppy or careless with the information it has given you, it will turn it's back to you, cross its arms across its chest and refuse to help.  Then you're really screwed.


  1. You are funny. And it's all so true.

  2. Hey Holly! It's been a long time since I commented but it doesn't mean I haven't been stalking you with every post. I love this entry. So simple & tells so many things! I'm so glad you are keeping this blog: it so keeps me afloat.


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