soybean painting

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I’ve been immersed in my painting all weekend, except the 3 dinners with different friends. Those were great diversions though, and great food. We ate at the Foundation on Friday – the make really good vegetarian food and the atmosphere is great. The walls are covered in giant quotes.

Sitting in my chair, looking at my painting has taken up much of the painting time. That time is not wasted, which was an important thing I learned in my class. I’ve figured out how to deal with most of the puzzles, except one block of colour at the top is too weighty and I need to find some way to break it up or add something to it without losing the richness of the colour. When I was painting watercolour, the actual work was hard but I always knew the end result – I used a reference photo and tried to make my painting look like the picture. With abstract, you often don’t know where you are going. This big painting (3 feet by 2 maybe?) has a theme – two Wendell Berry poems (I actually got copyright permission to use them). “A bird the size of a leaf fills the whole lucid evening with his note, and flies.” The other is “Best of any song is bird song, in the quiet, but first you must have the quiet.” One was painstakingly scratched into wet gesso over dark paint. The other will probably go on this photo’s sky. There are 3 main colours going on. Two photos to be worked in. A lot of painting and scratching and mark making. A soybean stalk (my favourite feature) that I ripped out of the field when I was home. There is nothing in BC that I have seen that can quite compare to the beautiful colour of ripe soybean fields. That is one of the main colours. Then there is raw umber – a sort of chocoatey brown. And a sort of pale blue-white. I don’t usually use white or blue so that’s been a different challenge.

I’m finding it hard to go back to writing/thinking about linear things after all the painting. Thinking about my professional writing course coming up in January is daunting, but I know I’ll do fine. Classes tend to motivate me. January has always been a month of reflection, getting down to business, changing gears.

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