I'm on a texture phase in the studio. I can't get enough of putting all kinds of texture on a piece. I seem to have come full circle and am back to my "old walls". Perhaps it is my comfort zone and it has been a while since I have been working in the studio. Whatever the reason I find that this turn on the circle I'm applying tons of texture to pieces.
I thought I had finished this grouping of three wrapped canvases. They represented "Qijianglong", or the Dragon of Qijiang, a real thing. The oldest dinosaur bones were found in Qijiang. 160 million years old, it was a vegetable eating dinosaur. For some reason I got it in my head that "what if" question, what if dinosaurs didn't die out all at once. What if some or their biologically changed offspring lived on until the race of men could record them.
What if the "Dragons" of the stories were really true in some part, a kernel of truth in the size of the beast? Not knowing if the label given to this find in Qijiang was English given or what the locals had labeled it I decided that it was a local title.
The what if then turned into, "where would there have been a replica or picture of this dragon of Qijiang? A temple, of course. An old, old temple.
So, what if this picture of the dragon was painted on this old temple wall? What if this wall was repaired, poorly over the centuries? What would it look like?
You see why I am easily entertained. I can do this for just about anything which is why I work very hard sometimes to keep my focus on a dull project that I might be doing.
I worked on these three pieces for over three weeks. I applied layer after layer of paint, molding paste, plaster wrap, more paint, tissue paper, sanding, more layers and then selected areas of metallic paint.
Oh, I was quite in love with my dragon. What? You think it's dark, oh husband dearest? My sons replied to my emails of it's "finished" state with, "interesting" and one slightly delayed response, (probably trying to find the right words) "cool, very cool". Admittedly, Justin did go into more thought about the piece after his interesting statement.
I ponder their comments not at all. I was in love with my dragon. I stroked the finished pieces, rubbing my hands over the lumps and bumps, I turned the piece this way and that to catch the glimmer of the metallic shine. I hummed to myself as I gazed at it.
But, somehow I couldn't put that final coat of varnish on it.
In preparation for our trip to Florida I decided to get a pedicure. I go to a little shop near my favorite library branch. It's operated by an adorable husband and wife couple. She works on nails and he gets to do the feet.
I first met him when he started working at the old salon that I went to. When he and his wife decided to manage this salon I decided to move with them.
They are both Vietnamese and often the back of the shop is filled with older Vietnamese women looking after their two young sons. I can hear them chattering back there.
He knows I'm an artist, the give away was probably the paint on my nails and arms. We talk about painting. He wants to learn how to draw. We discuss photography. He shows me his used Canon camera that he got on Craig's list.
I tell him how to work it and he asks me questions and he is so excited about it that I can barely understand every other word. Time passes quickly during a pedi as I puzzle out his words and he puzzles out what I mean by Sports Setting on his camera.
When we do make a breakthrough there are big smiles all around.
I show him pictures that I take in black and white and he looks confused as to why I would take this picture or that one.
I explain that if he is taking a picture of his little son running he doesn't have to run with him if he is using the sports setting.
My time there is well spent. My guilt from our fiasco in their country is great. My quilt for their people, their land, our soldiers and their sacrifice great. As a people we don't talk about that war. We don't talk about how we treated our returning warriors. Many of us are ashamed of our leaders that pushed us into that situation.
So, I teach him what little I can while he cuts and trims my toenails. Both of us ignoring what he is doing. Creativity is more important right now. He does his job on rote while nodding his head as he grasps the concept of drawing the outline of the waiting room chair. He giggles when I tell him to ask where the sketchbooks are in Michael's. He finds the word sketchbook funny.
I tell him about the Qijiang piece and he nods his head then blurts out, "But, you know temple wall have color, right?"
Noooooooo, I had forgotten that layer. In my excitement over my layers and texture I completely forgot about those layers.
Yesterday, I sat drinking my tea and brooding over my "finished pieces".
Then I put down my tea, grabbed the painters tape, stretched it across the bottom third of the large piece and the smaller piece.
II grabbed a tube of red paint and mixed it with some brown and white and painted the entire bottom half of the paintings. I didn't think about it just did it. I wiped most of it off and then mixed another combination of those colors and painted it again and wiped most of it off again.
And, so the wall changes once again.