Random Stuff

Teddy and I headed out to the Big Empty yesterday. Still a lot of people here looking at cranes. Teddy and I dealt with probably 20 cars even though it wasn’t an especially nice day. I put a good face on it, but a few of them are pretty inconsiderate and treat that holy place and its avatars like commodities. I don’t really understand them, but there they are. A guy with a huge lifted Dodge truck parked and left the driver door open blocking the way. He had a huge lens on his camera and it was all about the photograph for him. I guess it’s not for me to judge. Still, I couldn’t help but think that the cranes might have liked the spring of 2021 more than this spring. I know I saw much more of them that year and, while it might not be true, it seemed that the cranes were more relaxed. I can’t imagine they like all the traffic, either.

But Teddy was a good boy and, as far as we were concerned, a good time was had by both. A few cranes flew high above us, and many, many Canada geese. There is a pair of geese who’ve taken up occupancy on top of a muskrat house and right now, they are my favorites. They are always together and every time I see them, one is curled up with its head tucked in its feathers and the other is standing tall, the lord of all he/she surveys from about 18 inches above the water. The road is showing wear and tear from the recent traffic and where it was once a nice, smooth gravel road, it’s gone washboard.

“The great lessons from the true mystics, from the Zen monks, is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous. ~ Abraham H. Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

I think maybe the past few years might have turned me into a bit of a misanthrope…

I did something yesterday I have not done since I moved here and “decorated.” I took down a painting and hung a new one. I’ve painted a lot in the past several years, but nothing I wanted to hang, even though I love most of the work I’ve done. A couple paintings hang in the spare room, but that’s essentially storage. The snow painting is on the living room wall now where I can see it. I picked the frame because it is the color of the other plants growing out there, greasewood. The design cut into the white is evocative of greasewood in snow. There is no greasewood (Chico) in my painting, but it was there. I’d like to hang the big crane painting but someone would need to drill some holes and sink some mollies for that to happen. The Big Crane Painting is on my paintings page. 🙂

Otherwise, I’ve caught a cold — the first one in years. I don’t feel like a sturdy oak tree, and the timing couldn’t be worse, well, probably it could be worse, but this is pretty bad. OH well…

Resquiesat in Pace, White Box

Yesterday the heating element on my dryer died. Yep. After the usual post-mortem imprecations one offers large, expensive, appliances when they shrug off this mortal coil (literally) I began my search for a replacement. The Sears Hometown store — from which I procured my new fridge last spring when my old fridge died — has closed permanently. The easy solution gone — POOF! An appliance store in Alamosa is possible. Repair guy? Maybe I’ll find one. And then… Since I couldn’t take any action I had to (oh no!!!) think…

Wait a minute. I live in a windy desert. “Imprecation! I don’t have to do this right now!!!”

So I won’t. I lived an El Niño year in China without a dryer. Most of the people I’ve known in Europe don’t have a dryer — some have a cool machine that does both. After it washes the clothes, it extracts water from the wet clothes. All one machine. I want that. It was kind of a pain in Iceland where the humidity was 9,000,000%, but here? Where the weather is dry and it’s just me? And those machines aresmall. To use my back door (not the storm door) I have to move my dryer out of the way. That means, all winter for 8 years I’ve had to move my dryer back and forth whenever I wanted to close the door — that’s all winter and whenever I leave town. This house was built nearly a hundred years ago, long before appliances as I know them. Once upon a time, the kitchen had a wood stove.

So…since fixing my car’s hatch door is more important to me right now than the dryer, I’ll see how that goes before I jump into any financially burdensome appliance decisions. Anyway, what I really want is someone to take that thing out of my laundry room and haul it away.

In other news I framed the snow painting, and I love it. It’s not going anywhere. It’s going to hang above my table here, a reminder of the end of a strange time in my life and a beautiful walk with my much loved Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog. I don’t know what the frame is made from, but I think steel. 😉 It’s very hard wood and broke off the tips of two screw-eyes yesterday, so it’s still not hangable, but maybe today I will bring in Mr. Drill to have a chat with it. Whatever the wood is, it’s very pretty.

That’s the quotedium update for March 14, 2023.

Buon Fresco

In 2006 I went to Fresco School in LA. It was a wonderful weekend. I stayed in a hotel in Venice Beach and commuted to school. School wasn’t far, either. School was in one of Howard Hughes’ Hangars in what was once an airfield (and if I’m lucky I’ll remember the name of it…).

It had been — and remains! — a dream to paint buon fresco — that’s painting onto wet plaster. My teacher was from Russia — Ilia Anossov — and while I give him a “C” as an instructor, I give him an A+ as a person and fresco enthusiast. He gets a C because he took my brush out of my hand and finished my fresco for me (grrrrrrrrrrrrrr). Still, I really like the guy and loved the class. I even understand his impulse. He is a big-hearted guy and he didn’t want me to fail. Sometimes it’s hard to believe a student is OK with failing, and I was.

Class was two long days over St. Patrick’s Day. My hotel room was really a small apartment with a kitchen. When I arrived the first afternoon a random bum-like homeless guy at the parking lot said he’d watch my car for me. I don’t know what his story was but he was splendid and possibly he did watch my car. Strangely, he didn’t want any money. There are a lot of mysterious interactions in our world and at this point I’m half-way convinced that some of them are not with humans but with some other kind of human-like form of something. That guy was one of them.

So…on my way home from my first class I stopped at a supermarket to get something for dinner. I’d completely forgotten it was St. Patrick’s day wrapped up as I was in the magic and wonder of painting fresco. As I stood in line, waiting my turn, I felt a sharp pinch on my arm. “Huh?”

I turned around. An older woman with gray hair under a headscarf was grinning at me. “Sure you’re Irish,” she asked with a lilt in her voice. “Where’s your green? Don’t tell me your underwear. I haven’t believed that since elementary school.”

I cracked up. I admitted to being Irish and apologized for my lack of awareness over what day it was. We chatted.

I bought some gross food I cooked in a skillet in my apartment and went to bed. During the night, I heard intriguing sounds coming from upstairs and felt surprised at the nature of my hotel.

Before class even began we had to do two sketches, a value drawing and a color sketch because, when the plaster is ready, the artist needs to know exactly what he/she is doing. There is a small window of opportunity to paint. It’s a real “carpe diem” thing with plaster.

The colored sketch I hd to prepare for class — if I’d been smart, I’d have chosen something simpler.

We painted our frescoes on the back of 14 x 14 inch tiles — a perfect surface. All of it was wonderful to me. My fresco turned out badly, though there are worse out there. My teacher painted the two top apples, and they don’t’ look like apples to me. OH well… To my eye, the best part is about three square inches in one corner, the wicker chair. Luckily it broke a month or so later so I have never had to move it or look at it. (Featured photo)

I love the medium, but it’s complicated and expensive and needs a lot of space. The most wonderful moment was when Ilia showed us an old coffee can filled with dry pigment for ultramarine blue. The pigment was left over from the Depression when so many fresco murals were commissioned by WPA for public buildings. I got to grind that paint and use it. That was the best part of everything.

WPA paint. 💙

Weird Shit I Think about while Walking the Dogs

Top: a photograph of the Refuge at sunset. Bottom: a painting I did two years before I moved here or saw the Refuge.

Writing about Goethe and the Marienbad Elegy the other day naturally drew some comments. One was “What 17 year old wouldn’t want to marry a 73 year old man? Kind of late-life midlife crisis.” I’ve thought some of the same thing, like “What was Goethe THINKING?” and “Shouldn’t he have seen reality for what it was, just let it go, saved himself some of this pain and all of his pride?” I didn’t particularly see the mid-life crisis aspect, but maybe. Still, his actions seemed absurd — and also totally expected.

One of the things Emerson had to say about Goethe was that as an artist he never aged, even having the courage to fall in love — and declare his love! — when he was an old man.

I definitely agree that love takes courage.

Goethe had a theory of personality and soul that I have always found very interesting and mysterious. Somewhere among my souvenirs is his essay, which, of course, I can’t find now. He wrote about the timelessness of an individual entelechy. An entelechy is defined generally as the soul, but for Goethe it was more than that; it was the motive power of the self. It is the force that drives a living thing to become what it is whether it is a plant or an animal. The entelechy pre-dates the birth of an individual organism and personality and survives the death of the biological organism that contains it. It does not exist in time.

“The persistence of the individual and the fact that man rejects what does not agree with him, are proofs to me that such a thing as an entelechy exists…” 1830, Conversations with Eckermann

That idea has always explained to me WHY Goethe proposed marriage to this young woman. In his mind, it would seem, there was a recognition of a pre-life connection and maybe he thought she would see it, too. Goethe writes about this kind of thing in his novel, Elective Affinities which was made into a film — a strange film — but definitely watchable and entertaining starring Isabelle Huppert. Honestly, the film doesn’t have much energy but how could it when it is based on a very arcane theory of love? I liked it, and I’d watch it again, but I’d have to buy a $40 DVD, so…

I have no idea if my theory about WHY Goethe went ahead and proposed marriage to this young woman holds water at all, but the idea of entelechy captured my imagination a long time ago when I realized that most of the authentic things I do seem motivated by something that is not exactly my will. Strange coincidences have occurred throughout my life, such as writing about the members of my own family without even knowing it — well, I knew I was writing — I didn’t know the characters would turn out to be my ancestors, long story, not telling it here, but… Another one? Doing a painting of the Refuge before I’d ever seen it. Sometimes it feels to me that “I” just kind of walked into this body as a vessel for now. My earliest dream (that I remember) is me walking down a hospital corridor lined with doors and being pressured to choose one. I opened one to find a clown who took off one mask and then another. Well, that’s a good description of my mom. 🤣

I looked online to find the essay but found only essays about the essay, commentaries and analyses pertinent to whatever each writer cares about none of it really useful to me.

As I’ve hit the 7th decade of my own life something seems very clear. This body which has been a lot of fun and has done well by me is not “me.” I remember back when I reached an age when I thought I “looked like myself.” I was in my 40s and I distinctly thought, “This is the me I was meant to be” as I looked in the mirror one morning before school. The face was mine. The hair was mine. The clothes were mine. It was very strange. And THIS person? The inner person thinks she’s pretty awesome, fragile and funny, yet strong.

How did Goethe see his 73 year old self? Did he even see it or was it completely irrelevant to him? I don’t think I will ever know, but the little poem I posted the other day gives a big clue.

When I was still a youthful wight,
⁠So full of enjoyment and merry,
The painters used to assert, in spite,
⁠That my features were small—yes, very;
Yet then full many a beauteous child
With true affection upon me smiled.

Now as a graybeard I sit here in state,
⁠By street and by lane held in awe, sirs;
And may be seen, like old Frederick the Great,
⁠On pipebowls, on cups, and on saucers.
Yet the beauteous maidens, they keep afar;
Oh, vision of youth! Oh, golden star!

What does this entelechy take away from each of the lives it inhabits? Does it learn? Or is just a “creature” with a mission to be? Does it remember? I suspect it does, but memories are not all that accessible. Goethe’s explanation of what happens to the entelechy when a being dies sounds a lot like Einstein. The entelechy is energy, and energy cannot be lost in the universe.

Clearly our timeless entelechy is not the sum of ourselves. Within each life, a timeless entelechy will continue to create, experiment, imagine, and persist. It matters much more to me that Goethe NEVER stopped doing creative work. Maybe, ultimately, it mattered more to Goethe, too.

Today I walked Teddy. He was marginally good. We started in a calm, lovely afternoon but halfway into it, the front began to enter the San Luis Valley and the wind came up. It’s OK. We’re used to it. Many cranes and geese.

Sedges in Snow

I don’t know exactly what goes into a painting. Whatever my “process” is, it’s as mysterious to me as to anyone else. I do know that since July, painting has been all but impossible for me. Covid brain is a real thing. I found it very difficult to hold an idea. It was as if parts of my brain just wouldn’t connect to other parts. I did do a painting in there somewhere, sunflowers with acrylic using a palette knife. I did that painting to try out the knife (I only have one) and to have something to hang in the show at the museum. I liked it a lot, and it seemed to prevision something changed in Martha the Painter. I wasn’t sure I could paint at all which is why I used the knife. I knew I didn’t know how to use a palette knife. It’s a simple painting of a common scene; nothing fancy but friendly and likable. I could also paint this in a very short time so there wasn’t the challenge of maintaining the image in my mind.

Last Summer acrylic on panel, painted October, 2022

What makes a painting, for the painter, anyway, might be more than the result. For me it is.

I love painting more than anything else I do. It’s just a wonderful thing to me, engrossing, intriguing. All of my paintings have been experiments because each one changes me and moves me to a different place along whatever might be my personal painting trajectory. I like that journey. Paint is part of it — just that, paint itself — and the image in my mind is another part. Doing the work is a pathway I’ve never traveled. I’m not sure I can explain this clearly because it’s not a word thing.

I think of the painters in the past, and I’m sure some of them must have loved painting. I think Turner must have. Kandinsky. Georgia O’Keefe definitely loved it. The jubilation in van Gogh’s work says to me he probably loved it, too. Back in the days when painting was a trade more than an ‘art’ those guys must have loved it, too, even though it meant a lot of hard work and the development of far more skills than painters today need to know.

I have an amazing book, On Divers Arts. That’s “diverse” not divers, but anyway. It’s by a guy, a priest, who’s writing under the name “Theophilus,” friend of God. His friendship with God is real. It’s not just that he is a priest, but also because of the way he regards all the material he works with. It would be a different blog post to go into that, so I won’t. But I share his feelings. Paint itself is a miracle.

Theophilus’ mission in writing the book was to pass down to the future all the things he knew about making art for a church and it’s practically everything — from pigments for the wall and manuscripts to the lead that holds stained glass in windows and the glass itself. It was written in the 13th century. I have found it very inspiring even though I don’t understand most of the technical instruction. The most inspiring part to me is the dedication where Theophilus explains to the person reading his instruction that the act of creating something is partaking in a little shred of the divine through physical gifts that have been passed to him through time. It feels that way to me.

For the past few days I’ve been really painting. It’s been the good stuff where I didn’t know where I was going and had to completely let go. All I had was a day week before last when Bear and I rushed out to the Refuge to catch the snow before it quit falling. We walked into a day unlike any I had ever seen. Bear and I wandered through a mystery.

Yesterday, when I finished this, I felt I’d painted that beautiful snowy afternoon.

FYI this is really just a painting of snow, fog and sedges. It’s not symbolic of anything. You’re welcome to see anything you want in the image, just don’t tell me 😀

It’s oil on acrylic primed linen canvas. The paint is Gamblin’s Flake White Replacement, a titanium based white designed to mimic lead white. Indian yellow, lapis ultramarine, and Gamblin Portland Gray. Gamblin is a paint company in Oregon. Most of their paint uses safflower oil rather than linseed oil because it doesn’t yellow over time but to make it true to the original paint, the flake white replacement uses linseed oil. The lapis ultramarine is from Daniel Smith. Indian yellow is very luminous, truly, and I chose it because there was no other color that day so the sedges seemed lit from the inside which, in a way, they were, holding summer’s sunlight in their persistent stems.

And Yet ANOTHER Walk With Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog

It’s alleged that the cranes will come earlier this year because of a lack of food down there at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico. If they do, they’ll be here a while as there is no open ground at their next stop. In advance of the influx of Crane Tourists and the 40th Anniversary Crane Festival of Song and Story, Bear and I headed out for a walk yesterday even though the wind blowing from the southwest did not demur, but blasted like a MOFO. It was blowing so hard it seemed to suck my breath away, but probably it was just blowing at me so hard I couldn’t exhale. I’ve been out there in heavy winds before, but yesterday was a little different.

As I fought the wind, I thought “Chinook.” My friend in Wyoming could use a wind like that with her sheep out in deep snow. The situation is dire. Deep snow has covered the ground so the sheeps’ usual winter grazing is inaccessible and food — for the sheep, the dogs and the men caring for them — has had to be trucked in. The road is dangerous in winter and there have been numerous wrecks. You can read about it on her blog, Ladder Ranch.

“The warm wind kept blowing
…like a low chant from the land
or like the flurry of far wings…
lapping up the snow…
until the whole body of earth
lay brown and breathing
except for the topknots of buttes
and, away and away,
the high float of mountains…
Promise of Spring.”

A.B. Guthrie, Jr., from These Thousand Hills.

As happens, when we turned around with our backs to the wind, the day felt completely different. Bear found a patch of snow with some appealing scents to roll in. I studied the light changing on distant Mt. Herard. The wind was blowing snow over the Sand Dunes at the base of the mountain. I tried a photograph (featured photo), but the phone does not really have a powerful telephoto lens so it looks like a paint by number painting but you might get the idea.

As I photographed Mt. Herard I saw my reflection in my phone screen. I very very very seldom take selfies because I prefer the illusion to the reality of my appearance, but yesterday it was just too funny.

Bear is pretty well trained, but we’re doing a refresher course. Taking each dog out separately means Bear doesn’t get half a walk; she gets the whole thing to herself. I’m helping her understand that so she’s not in a rush to get to the scents. I don’t know if she understands the theory behind this, but it doesn’t matter. Theories might be for humans. For Bear the reality is we aren’t in a hurry any more because no over-enthusiastic, passionate, little land demon is pulling us. She’s getting it. I realized that yesterday when she stopped in front of me, leaned against me, and wouldn’t move. “OK Bear. We really do have all day.” I swear, she sighed.

I have had a couple of happy blips in my life as an artist. Last week a man in Tennessee did the research needed to find me. He’d bought notecards from my defunct Etsy shop two years ago and wanted more. Yesterday I learned that Colorado Central Magazine wants to run my painting of the Cranes on a Windy Day with the article instead of the photos I submitted from the festival’s media kit. 😊

Meandering Blog Post about My Dilettante Life

In an effort to overcome Covid brain I’ve been doing languages on Duolingo, a free online language program. I don’t like it, but 1) it’s free 2) I have to concentrate. Multi-tasking is (as far as I can tell) the big challenge right now, something highlighted (why not high lit?) by having written the same thing five separate times as I was trying to label my paintings at the museum the other day. Someone was talking to me as I was trying to write — well, print. We won’t mention that I’d already written the labels correctly only moments before, but couldn’t find them (18 inches away from my hand).

I started with Spanish, my best foreign language. It was kind of fun to move ahead from where I’ve been for 50 years. Then, to challenge myself, I turned to Chinese. That was strange. Chinese ideograms were always easy for me to recognize, but not on Duolingo. I have no way to know if it’s my brain or the way the program has decided to “write” them. Also, the program presents Chinese the way it presents alphabet languages which is a little strange, too. But I honestly can’t tell if it’s strange or my brain is strange. And, since my Chinese is primarily directly out of daily life, the practice conversations seemed strange. But then, I never lived in a place where people speak Mandarin, so I don’t really know. Most of the ambient Chinese in my life was in Cantonese — which I don’t speak or understand well. I spoke Mandarin in Guangzhou, but it wasn’t until I visited Hangzhou that I had an actual conversation in it.

It’s funny but even thought mosquitoes were ubiquitous, I never learned to say “mosquito” in any Chinese dialect. I like the word best in Italian, “zanzara.” It sounds like a mosquito sounds. Italian is my second best foreign language but practicing THAT on Duolingo is incredibly noisoso.

I’m a dilettante in everything, the kind of person who walks around in the shallow part of a lake and imagines she’s an Olympic swimmer.

As I was writing Christmas cards, I was contacted by a woman I met at a conference — the SISSI Conference– Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery — really fun, very eclectic, conference. SISSI is long gone. We met what, ten or eleven years ago? She was giving a paper on Goliardic poetry which was mostly sung and written in Latin in the Middle Ages. I guess that’s pretty obscure but it’s right up my alley. When I saw the write up in the program I really wanted to meet her. She’s a classics teacher at Purdue. We had so much to talk about — it was as if we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long time. She’s NOT a dilettante. She can speak and read several iterations of Greek and Latin. She has worked on many translation projects on manuscripts I dream of even just SEEING.

I was giving a paper on the Medieval Leper. I think we might have been the only two medieval topics in the whole show. Anyway, they scheduled us for the same session. I was sitting outside the session room, waiting for my session to begin, reviewing my stuff, and I saw her. She walked up to me, and asked if I were in the next session in that room. I said I was. Then I realized who she probably was, based on the program. I said, “Are you Liz Mercier? I really wanted to meet you!” She was so surprised and told me no one had ever really wanted to meet her. We struck up an instant friendship. I loved her paper and if I ever return to the story of Benedetto, Michele and Gaspar the donkey it’s all because of what I learned from her. Anyway, we both miss SISSI and our annual meet-ups and listening to each other expound on little-known and possibly irrelevant topics.

Anyway, I realized that Covid brain — which is either slowly receding or I’m getting used to it — is worse when I’m nervous, tired, or have been over-stimulated. Both were the case yesterday after all the events of Monday. I found myself struggling with many things that should not be a struggle.

Last night as I fought insomnia (thanks Covid brain), I was thinking that maybe the solution to the painting phobia might be small paintings like those I painted when I first got the natural pigments and didn’t know how they’d work or when I first started doing oil paintings again after not doing any during the forty years since high school.

That painting happened because my stepson and his wife gave me a canvas for Christmas. I loved that present, and the painting was surprisingly successful so I kept at it. Here it is.

A herd of red Angus cattle lived across the street from me and they liked to bunch up against the fence and watch me and the dogs. Their pasture was grass and oak trees with a few boulders interspersed. I liked them a lot.

I kept at it, doing small paintings because paint is expensive and surfaces are also expensive and we won’t talk about frames. The first oil painting I ever sold was one of the cows. It’s the featured photo, 5 x 7. My next door neighbors came to the little art and craft fair at the townhall and bought it, well my neighbor’s wife bought it for her husband for Christmas. I guess the moral of the story is just go try, dammit, Martha.

WordPress’ daily prompt is “Do you have a favorite place you have visited? Where is it?” Here’s my answer. Zürich. It’s in Switzerland.


Yesterday was a sterling day.

First, it snowed, a really pretty soft snow that I would have loved to watch fall, but it was in the wee hours and I was sleeping. It’s wonderful to wake up to a surprise. I hurried through my coffee and blog post, found Bear looking at me wistfully in the kitchen, closed the back door to keep Teddy the Incorrigible inside, leashed my dog and headed out. This wasn’t going to be a dog walk, but a snow communion with Bear. I think Teddy understood that because he just shrugged and jumped up on the sofa.

Fog was lifting from the road as the sun heated it. Fog still hung low over the mountains — fog or clouds. More like clouds to me, beautiful clouds touching the earth. A Great Horned Owl was watching from the higher branches of a cottonwood beside a farm house.

We arrived to find a paradise of untouched snow (except for some tracks of foxes, deer and scurrying creatures). The clouds were lifting slowly, their shadows dragged gently across the frozen, snow-covered pond.

I have never smelled clouds before, that I know of, anyway, but as they lifted, I did, clouds and fresh snow.

Bear and I never hurry and we took the little trail Bear loves in real slow motion. There were very few tracks yet. Even the hunters and hunted had not been out. A red tail hawk was perched in a tree, watching, hoping for breakfast. I hadn’t had any either, but mine was waiting at home in the refrigerator.

Once on the main road, there were more tracks, deer and fox. I had to explain to Bear that we couldn’t go after them. I wished we could, in a way, remembering a time when my dogs and I felt free to track things, but this place is not those places and I’m glad of it. It wouldn’t be this place if people could trample around in it. It’s a small sanctuary from, well, us.

Some disturbing/interesting tracks in the snow were my footprints. Wow.

And THEN….. When we got home I had to face the next thing. I had started a painting,and I was going at least try to paint it. I wanted to try the palette knife, but when I looked at what I have of those tools I saw I don’t have a selection. I I’m not even sure where they came from. I have inherited tools and paint from friends. Were they Michael’s? Sally’s? Alex’? I don’t know, only that I never bought one.

I had to do research into WTF they are. Most of them are (as I thought by looking at them) essentially putty knives used for mixing paint. Only two were meant for painting. I don’t mix paint on my palette. I “mix” it on the painting, so the putty knife ones are pretty useless to me (right now). The two painting knives were/are very dirty with dried paint. I did what I could to clean the cleaner of the two because (I learned) I needed paint with the edges. I managed to get the tip cleaned off and the edges to some extent. It was good enough for an experiment, so I went at it. I haven’t looked at it this morning, but yesterday it was…

So much fun!!!!!

Here We Go!!!

Here’s my first real painting attempt with a palette knife. Here’s what I’ve learned. Knives are easier to clean than brushes. I’m using acrylic and with acrylic — and the knife — I have to work very fast.

The painting I’m working on will have something MORE to it, but I can’t paint it until all of this is completely dry. I may use a brush for the main subject, I don’t know, but this palette knife is wonderful and a LOT of fun.

I decided to use a palette knife since I don’t know how to use one and I can’t possibly get hung up on detail or doing well. If I do well, it’ll be luck as much as skill. This was a choice since I’m unsure of myself right now. My brain hasn’t worked to paint since Covid, but I think it is starting to. Using a tool I don’t know anything about is really helpful. 

I’ve painted a similar painting before — another iteration, a different place, a different subject, a long time ago, a small oil painting. Not these plants, but similar, along a stream in the Cuyamaca Mountains in CA.

The thing about nature is it is ONE thing adapting the species to the land.