Sometimes you’re just painting to survive.
|My second painting, still untitled.|
I know there are painters who can work all day and never so much as dirty a fingertip. I don’t understand them and they don’t understand me. I’m usually covered with paint by the end of the day. When traveling, one of my greatest challenges is keeping paint off my rental car. To that end I have a large cardboard box lining the cargo bay, but that still leaves the doors and upholstery for me to ruin. I’ve tried taping plastic across the interior, but it inevitably comes loose and wraps itself around my stuff, making a further mess.
|My first painting, also untitled as of yet. I have a small change I'd like to make.|
I like baby wipes for getting paint off. “Huggies are the best,” Jeanne Echternach told me. I wish I’d listened. The house-brand from Albertson’s isn’t doing much. Of course, it might be the climate. It does weird stuff to paint, things you might not expect. My dry-time, for example, is far slower than I’d anticipated, and the brushes I accidentally left at room temperature didn’t dry out overnight. Considering how arid it is here, that’s odd.
Two weeks ago today I had surgery on my left foot. I’ve still got stitches and both feet are wrapped. I’m painting seated, but on a very limited schedule. Yesterday I managed 6.5 hours and had to come back to the ranch and elevate my feet.
|Drawing horses with Bill Rogers. Photo courtesy of Jane Chapin.|
That’s fine for this event, which only demands two or three paintings from us, depending on how you count. What I can’t do is get in my car and drive in search of red rocks in Abiquiú or elsewhere.
|The fine curs who have kept me company. Photo courtesy of Jane Chapin.|
Painter Jane Chapin shows me a little town in the mountains. It’s high, dusty and dry, and has fewer than a hundred people. There are no services. It can’t handle any kind of influx, so I’m not identifying it for you, but it’s a slice of old New Mexico. Old houses, old cars, and some fine mongrel dogs. The residents are friendly, but they’re not particularly interested in what we’re doing. That leaves me lots of time to do my thing. This may be the first show ever that I don’t hand out a single business card.
|Scout, by Carol L. Douglas. He's a beauty.|
On Sunday, William Rogers and I spent the morning drawing horses. Bill was interested in working them up as a painting; I was just messing around. It is usually too frenzied to draw for fun at these events, so it was a special opportunity. It was the first time I’ve ever drawn a donkey.
I have four paintings in various states of completion and I need to ponder them. Then back into the SUV and down the road again. I won't have human company, but I never feel alone with the dogs hanging around.