Let's follow the book's train of thought for a minute, shall we? Here I am, safe at home, stocked pantry, lights on and an AMAZING new love bringing me coffee and kisses in the shower each morning (yep, I said it), and yet if I pay attention to the world (news, social media, my neighbor) I feel like I should be filling my head with worries about all the things I can't do anything about...and then I feel guilty for NOT worrying enough and I wonder if something is wrong with me for not worrying more. Which makes me worry. Mission accomplished, news cycle.
Manson's argument is that we only have so much room for caring about stuff (fucks given, so he says) and should not rent that room for caring to the entire 350 million things a day we are bombarded with out there. Funny that he wrote this before the current Eggplant that Ate Chicago (see prior post) began taking over the world. Hmmmmm. If we have finite room for caring....then we should choose carefully what we care about. Rationing the number of fucks given, so to speak.
About the painting: beginning with a composition in gesso'd gray scale, then adding the requisite 800 million layers of acrylic and gesso mixed with acrylic paint. Care taken to isolate shapes using rubber wedge and small, flat brush. Finished with oil pastel.
About the painting: wood panel gesso'd in gray scale to define large shapes. Layers of thickly applied acrylic paint and acrylic paint mixed with gesso. Oil pastel to finish. Tools include rubber wedge, brush, paper towel and fingers.
Here in Portland (malarkey headquarters), we're feeling the sun on our faces as spring explodes all around us. We're feeling the warmth of community as our little neighborhood becomes a haven of dog walking smiling people who have slowed down their lives. We're feeling the glow of good citizens patronizing the local businesses at a safe distance (online and walk-up carry-out) and the occasional patron who leaves a $1000 tip to help keep the doors open (yep, that happened right here in the friendly PNW). The thoughts created by these feelings are pretty darn good, and a perfect healing balm of hope.
Which, when mixed with paint, creates a lovely glazing material. Just sayin'.
About the painting: Beginning with a grayscale underpainting with a lighter horizon and darker "saddle", adding progressively heavier layers of color. Primary tools used include the esteemed rubber wedge and a palette knife, with a smidgeon of paper towel and dry brush. Chopsticks used liberally throughout.
There was a wild rumpus of color in the studio. Time spent with Rutenberg's new book has color-bombed my brain. But it has also instilled some new painting principles, which we at Malarkey Central fondly call "Triangle (or V), Border Snake, Saddle and Rug." It is so easy to see them....not just in Rutenberg's work, but also in both classic and contemporary paintings at the Portland Art Museum recently. But not so instinctive to apply them in a composition. Unless you do it again
until something CLICKS and it's like oh, wow...now I get it and then you can't stop doing it. It is only a matter of time before meals are arranged on my plate in this compositional format with the eggplant, beets and kale in the saddle and saffron rice in the triangle. Maybe a kiwi sky? Or perhaps it is just time for lunch...
About the painting: 800 million layers of acrylic, gesso, paint pens, charcoal, art graf and crayon on wood panel. Well, it seems like that many layers. Beginning with a library of elements (ala Stan Kurth) and then bombs of color. The paint is thickly applied with the rubber wedge, spritzed, squeegeed, chopsticked (is that a verb?) and then applied again and lightly pulled in one direction or another. Are these instructions confusing? Perhaps because this piece was entirely intuitive, with exception of the Rutenbergian painting principles. But let's do it again anyway! WHAT FUN!
Here is an excerpt in Candis' own words:
I have a love story that brings me joy too. I met my husband when he was the new kid in school when we were in 4th grade. I told all my friends that I would marry him someday. I gave him all my best stickers that year we'd walk home from school together, mostly not talking. We grew up a little and a few years later began officially dating. We've been together since our junior year of high school and 13 years after I told my friends I would, I married him. We have now been married 23 years. It is a love that was meant to be and keeps getting better every year.
I wonder if they still have any of those stickers?
About the art:
This is the second collaboration of Jovan and Smith! Beginning with black and gold gesso on wood panel, heavily textured and carved with hearts. Posca paint pen rough sketch over top, finished with acrylic paint and acrylic paint mixed with gesso. Gelli plate printed papers collaged with matte medium for the clothing. Stamps used with paint to create the "stickers". Liberally sprinkled with smiles. :)
You know that pesky Universe...it provided me a small opportunity to practice just that.
A sudden heightened sensitivity to smoke (any kind at all - fires, cigarettes, sage, weed - all of which are plentiful here in the PNW) had me reaching into my toolbox to bring out the DNRS (dynamic neural retraining) techniques I had used for chemical sensitivity some years ago. In a nutshell, I was supposed to focus on happy thoughts (laughing babies, funny cat videos, outrageously hilarious jokes, beautiful sunsets, sweet memories) in the midst of a racing heartbeat and an adrenaline flood. It seemed overwhelmingly impossible in the moment...but I kept with it. And guess what? Like the meadowlark, I could find the beauty in the moment, And slowly, wonderfully, the storm passed.
Don't get me wrong (are you listening, Universe?), I wouldn't recommend suffering our way into joy as the main route to happiness. But if you have to suffer, you might as well sing.
About the painting - black gesso'd wood panel with an initial rough and wonky drawing made with Posca paint pens. Layers of acrylic and acrylic mixed with gesso. Blue painters tape to mask sections and create borders (later removed, of course). Layers of paper-toweled paint for Diana's hair, then mini-paint pen squiggles. Her clothes are collaged gelli plate printed paper, torn and attached with matte medium. The bird? Well, he kind of drew himself while I was out for coffee. Either that or the cats were into the paint again.
Since that day, these two love birds have perfected a long distance romance (United States to France) which now includes planning to spend their golden years together. A chance encounter at a crossroads where the future diverged - and suddenly became a love story!
Thank you, Cindy and Sami, for sharing your story, and for showing us all it is never too late for happily ever after. Awwwwwwww.
About the painting (the first collaboration of Jovan and Smith!) - a deeply saturated, textured background in acrylic paint (allowed to thoroughly dry) followed by acrylic mixed with white gesso to form the figures on top. The background comes forward again Sami's shirt and as the base layer of Cindy's top.
"How on earth did Alice go directly into the hole," I wonder as news of viruses and politics and gun violence prompt thoughts of becoming a modern day hermit. Our instincts to avoid dark holes might be appropriate in the physical world (I type this and then I recall my sister wanting to venture into a dark cave filled with the sound of trickling water when we were exploring a rural pathway in Italy a couple of years ago) and yet when it comes to our own human souls, Richo posits these dark holes might actually be the passageways to transformation and wholeness.
I'll be looking for opportunities to defy logic this week. And while that may result in a pile of paintings waiting to be smothered in black gesso, it might also land me in Wonderland. Want to come along?
Jen Jovan and her imaJENation