Jumping off the cliff

"You could paint with a toothbrush," someone once said. 

It was a compliment, not a suggestion.  They were commenting on my ability to adapt to the tools that I had in front of me.  I think it might have been in reference to the time in Cuba when I started using coffee as a way of adding texture and colour to the drawings that I was doing, like the one above of Che and Fidel.

I adapt every time I do a live painting.  Each room, each situation offers its own challenges that have to be overcome:  time, humidity, light, etc.  No situation offers the same set of circumstances that I have become comfortable with in Birdsong Studio.

In Cambodia, I had to figure things out using unfamiliar paint, primitive canvas, and no easel. I used a discarded wall from Mern's old shelter to prop up the canvas.  My pallet was a old piece of mahogany board that I found in the field.

Jumping in and doing the knife painting of Waylon Jennings found me needing to adapt in my own space.  At first, I had no idea how to use the tools.  I just kept at it, learning what angle was best to apply the paint in broad strokes or to paint a line or curve. 

Paint was everywhere, including my head, as Heather pointed out to me when I came in the house.

I do my best to photograph my paintings so that when you see them on your computer screen you get a fair representation of them.  This 24" x 36" commission portrait of Waylon is an example of when a photograph just doesn't do it justice.  It needs to be seen in person, hanging on a wall, illuminated by a feature light.


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