CLEMENTINE WITH DORMIENDOS
Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth
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I SAW A PAINTING
I can hardly believe how much fun I had painting this one. Unlike most of my still life paintings, this one was a setup, rather than a found still life. It is, of course, a formal arrangement. Deliberate. Thought through. Planned. Not simply stumbled across. But not formal in the sense of bread and grapes and blue and white dinner ware on an expensive tablecloth. As far as lighting, it could almost be considered a found setup. The dormiendos, sleeping Mexican, salt and pepper shakers were sitting on a shelf in our kitchen, and I had just finished another painting of the clementine that I was quite pleased with. So I was messing around with ideas, moving the clementine around in various settings throughout the kitchen, when this arrangement sort of fell into place. I photographed it and moved on, hardly giving it a thought. I’ve looked at that photograph many times since and always felt there was something there. I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I could see it, but I couldn’t see it. Then, today, I ran across it again, and thought, I’ll probably never get a painting out of this.
But then I began to imagine painting it. All those little decisions that are usually made during the painting were occurring to me as I sat and looked at the photograph. At last, I not only saw it, I saw through it to the painting it could be.
This doesn’t often happen for me. But, thanks to this practice of doing a painting every day, it is happening more and more often. And when it does, the actual laying on of the paint, the exploring of the forms, the realizing of the vision, all that is sheer pleasure. Life really is grand!
A PHOTOGRAPH I ALMOST DIDN’T POST…
THE VIEW, THE CACTUS, THE DRAGON
Technically, this is really a lousy photograph. Yet, I find it intriguing. With a better camera, definitely with a better camera operator, this might have been quite a photograph.
It is a shot of our bedroom window, from the outside. From inside, we have a beautiful view of Picuris Mountains, the valley of the Rio Grande de Ranchos below, and the clouds above. Here we have just a dark hint of that. Complete with a telephone wire. That scruffy old cactus is one that we hauled all the way from Arizona seventeen or so years ago. It used to be beautiful. Now it looks even worse than in the picture, but I worked a little computer magic on it. It could use a lot more. The little rubber dragon, left there years ago by a grandson, could have been an interesting third feature, but look how his nose just touches the diagonal edge of the shadow of the window frame. A definite no-no! It will take more than a casual glance for anyone to even notice the dragon. And if they do, the resolution is so lacking that they may not be able to make out what it is. But my focus keeps landing on the drgaon’s head, and remaining there, and going away and returning there. If the head bisected the line, leaving the head in stark contrast to the dark shadow it would definitely create a strong focal point.
I don’t know, there’s just something about the wrongness of it all that makes it seem more right to me than if it were perfect.
It’s an awful photograph. But I think it’s kind of a neat picture. So I posted it. So there.
By the way, I’m sure Thea would like you to know that the window frame has been repaired. The dragon is history. The view is till beautiful. The cactus, like me, ain’t gettin’ any prettier!
I hope to have more Betsy news tomorrow, and Atticus Catticus is sleeping after a long, hard day of play