Power outage lends itself to another day painting
We had another power outage (due to winds knocking over a huge arbutus tree on Village Bay road at 1:40 am). I awake at 7:00 am. The power is still out. I decide to see if I can find a coffee before doing anything else. Ah yes! The bakery is serving coffee using generator power. Armed with to-go thermos cups filled with black gold, I return home and prepare our usual fruit, yogurt and grain cereal for breakfast. With few alternatives, I settle on my favourite activity of the moment – painting.
The wild underpainting had dried on my 18X24 by 2 inch canvas.
I go to work. At one o’clock this afternoon the power comes on again and I am ready to take a break and share the progress with you.
There is more to do but it is a good start.
Sprout Question: What is your creative activity of choice when the power goes out?
Note: My apologies for being late with today’s post but you will have to take it up with the wind and the arbutus tree… they have let me know they are taking full responsibility for the delay.
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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada
23 thoughts on “More Painting”
Terrill – Let me see if I understand you correctly.. I think you’re saying that the top (first) painting is now UNDERNEATH the bottom (second) painting?! But I can/could see teepees and people in the first one; three sitting on the ground in front of the teepees. This is precisely why painting remains a wonderful mystery to me …
Sprout Question: What is your creative activity of choice when the power goes out?
We have two antique Aladdin oil lamps that we use for light during power outages. I typically sit still with a pencil and tablet. No pressure for any creative thoughts or ideas, but ready to catch them if they happen to dash by.
Laurie, that is right. The first image is now underneath the second image. I am not surprised that you could see all sorts of things in that underpainting. Underpaintings get there name because they are paintings that are meant to be painted over. The technique comes from the Renaissance and is one I have always loved to do. Some of it has to do with finding a way to hold a wild saturation of colour difference together such as the melon orange I used for East Point Cliffs. Other times it is a method to help create depth and reflection and sometimes it is simply to gather the energy of the painting a turn it loose on the canvas. Then there are the times when all three of these factors are at play when the brush finds its way to my hand. I had so much fun with a great big brush swishing the paint onto this canvas.
Great idea Laurie with pencil and tablet. That is what my sweetie did today and ended up with a first draft of a movie review.
So interesting what Laurie said. I wasn’t seeing teepees, but I was seeing crystal mountains. Shards driving up out of the water. Looks like you have a wonderful start on what your “vision” is for the canvas!
Power outages … not sure how creative I am, but if it is daylight, I head outside to play in the garden or take a walk or mess with the horses. Otherwise, reading by candle light, or playing board games with the family.
Sue it is interesting that you and Laurie saw different things but both would be part of the history of this land. It was driven up out of the sea – the guess is this happened about 40 million years ago. And about 3,000 BC forerunners of the Nanaimo and Cowichan Indian tribes would have been camping seasonally on the far shore to harvest salmon from Active pass. So now all this history and imagery is holding the painting together from underneath. And I do think I have a good start on my “vision” as you say for this canvas.
Sue I think you are way to practiced at living well with no power:))) Great sprout and good to hear from you.
After working so hard — I write to justify — I took a day to play. I curled up with a good book and fed my muse. Then my muse and I went for a walk camera in tow. Though the power was out so was the sun so it was a good day.
Leanne, you are so right… our creative muse does need to be fed. We can actually burn out if we forget to take time to fill our creative well. And it is a good day:)
I have to share what I see-
In the first painting I see three or four people looking up to a cross, the second one I see a huge castle off in the in the distance….
I would light my spiral bees wax candle and huddle up with a good book,my kindle might even be charged!
Gee I might even have an ongoing conversation with my hubby!,as he usually is going a mile a minute. Literally and I am not kidding, need to send him a Blackberry message with an appt to see if he is available!
Very interesting Snoopykg1 Sand stone cliffs do seem like castles… at least I think that is where you are looking. I am always pleasantly surprised at what other people see in my paintings and sometimes in my photographs. Our ability to create different visuals from shadows and lines is fascinating.
Ah, another kindle user. And Snoopykg1 conversations are a huge bonus of power outages. Wonderful sprout response Snoopykg1.
I just love how peaceful it is without the electric power grid operating. There is a restful stilling that is hard to achieve with the hum of all things electric. I was teasing Sue about being “way to practiced at living well with no power” but that is because our parents (the same parents) still live without electricity. They have a generator that is started up to water the stock and fill the water holding tank for the house and to operate the washing machine once a week and to put the lights on at Christmas. When the power goes out… that peace of home comes with it. However, our parents are much better set up then we are to manage without electricity:)
Terrill – What happens if your UNDERpainting (as in this case), is OUTSTANDING in and of itself — you still paint OVER it?! Hula burgers — that’s scary (another good reason that I’m not a painter).
I’m still slack-jawed in astoundedness that your UNDERpainting got painted over. I love your OVERpainting too, but couldn’t they have been two separate paintings?
Laurie you have me laughing so hard my sides hurt and yet I know you are being serious and that you are a little concerned. Lets look at this a little differently. When I am writing I sometimes have to edit my favourite sentence, paragraph and sometimes a whole chapter that is written as part of a first draft. They may be magnificent in and of themselves but they but they must be OVERpainted to complete the final piece of writing. They are still there in a different form or if they get completely cut, sometimes show up again in another piece of writing. UNDERpaintings are kind of like that for me – like a first draft with all the vibrancy of impressions or tentative marks which help me to hold the essence of the work as I see it through to completion.
So all that it left of the underpainting is the photograph I took.
Let me show you another artist work I was admiring the other day to give you an idea about how much movement and change can happen before a painting finally comes to rest. Paul Ruiz provides a series of photos for his painting “Night Stand” Just look at how much movement there was in his composition, the stance of the figure even the room before the painting was finally complete. These are not unlike drafts when writing, each one somehow helping us to find our story as we work it.
Hope this helps.
i really enjoy painting by candlelight even when the power is on. whenever the power dose go out i find it a thrill it reminds me of tornado warnings when i was little very exciting.
I have never tried to paint by lamp or candlelight Jerry. In fact I often lament that there isn’t enough hours of natural light in the winter to get the painting done I want to do. Maybe sometime I will try it. Good to hear that you find power outages thrilling.
Today I felt kind of like the older fellow at the ferry terminal on Saturday when our power was out. He was in full rant “Sure wish I was catching that ferry today. I am sick of this. It’s been 20 years of power outages. I’ve had enough. Sure wish I was catchin’ that boat to Vancouver. This is ridiculous. Power outages. Ahhh!” With his hands in his pockets and slowly shaking his head, he retold his story as each escapee went to get their ticket for the Queen of Nanaimo. One stop at Galiano and then off to the big city where power outages are few and short lived… they have fewer trees:))))
Sometimes I find the more layers a painting has the more interesting a image becomes, Some of my best paintings go through many reincarnation
and the its knowing when to stop! Love the image of the painting you are doing
Chris thanks for sharing. You remind me of a quote I have come to love…
“A painting is never finished. It simply stops in interesting places.” ~ Paul Gardener
And thank you… The painting will require at least one more sitting (or standing as I most often stand to paint). However, the feeling is right for what I was wanting to capture.
Terrill – What a GREAT transfer of knowledge. THIS made perfect sense to me:
“… They are still there in a different form or if they get completely cut, sometimes show up again in another piece of writing. UNDERpaintings are kind of like that for me – like a first draft with all the vibrancy of impressions or tentative marks which help me to hold the essence of the work as I see it through to completion.”
Now I GET it! Thank you for taking the time to explain, and thank you, too, for the link to Paul Ruiz’ “Night Stand” — that was a cool visit!
You are welcome Laurie:) I’m glad my ramblings made sense. And isn’t Paul Ruiz’s work amazing?
The painting (both UNDER and OVER) remind me of Summit Lake, a lake I spent a lot of time at as a teenager. I was so overwhelmed by memories, that I did not see tee pees or crystal mountains. Instead I could picture me and my friends swimming at midnight squealing because the fish were sucking on our toes.
When the power goes out – I find a peace that seems to exist only at my grandparents. I play guitar and visit with whomever is around.
This last time the power went out, it was so enjoyable, that I am contemplating having scheduled “power outage” days, maybe monthly.
Thank you Josie… I can see that. I still have a tendency to paint the ocean with similar shades of northern lakes and rivers. And sometimes they are close to the same but the smell of the salt water tells me where the differences are. Oh, and when you are scheduling those power outages, can you schedule ours as well? This randomness is for the birds.
Okay readers you may notice some interesting overlaps of content and tone on the comments of Sue, Josie and myself for this post. Just so you are not left wondering…. we are of the same family. Sue is my sister, and Josie my daughter. Now how cool is that to have your family share your creativity with you!?
I remember posting your Arbutus Tree
on the feature back on the old Gaia. I can only imagine them causing mischief just to have that recognition.
I look forward to your new masterpieces. It’s great to be a part of the process.
During our last power outage… it happened for about 18 hours right in the middle of trying to copy/paste some of the joys of old gaia. We went shopping in an area that wasn’t out here in LA & then went to a restaurant to eat. It was nice as we spent quality family time and it was a reminder to balance things out and appreciate what we have.
Kathy thank you for linking to the arbutus tree in the fog. It is still the most viewed of my photos on redbubble.
I find it a little unnerving sharing my work in progress but it does help me to stay focused and I know readers enjoy seeing “what is happening.”
Your shopping during a power outage made me smile because that is hardly an option even if the power is on here on Mayne Island. We have slightly more than the essentials – a post office, gas station, grocery story, convenience store with combined liquor store a hardware store, health food store, bakery, two restaurants, a place to get your hair cut and your nails done and a few combination stores with clothing and art kind of things. When the power is out we don’t usually think about shopping much:) But the quality time with family… ah yes we do think of that and it does seem to come to the surface with a power outage.
From past to present or present to past….well done even in its rough draft.
I just love your choice of colors and the way you blend them together…very uplifting.
Bob Ross had his own t.v. show…remember him? I was always so blown away at how he turned a few brush strokes into a master piece all within a half hour.
Thunderstorms usually take out the power for hours around here as well and finally (thank god) invested in a small generator to keep the fridge and heat on and yes, even the d.v.d player. Candles are used and the phone still works, so…”he–llo, guess who?”
Mumstheword thank you and I think I remember Bob Ross but I don’t have TV and haven’t most of my life so not sure. I too will phone people to chat when the power is out. We have thought of a generator but our hot water heat would require a big unit to operate it. We keep thinking and discarding various options and then it all melts away until the next time the power goes out:)
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