When the backyard is too green…..

Yesterday I painted two small oil sketches, the one shown here and one of the poppies in the back of the house.  When I looked at the grayscale versions of the paintings I felt the shapes were not puzzling together in any sort of interesting manner.  The choice was to either scrape them off or try a few possible solutions.  I’ve posted the reworked version of the coiled garden hose.  The poppy garden painting was scraped clean, leaving a much more interesting underpainting that might lead to something better.

As I worked diligently on Coiled Garden Hose I recalled a painting I did while in art school many years ago.  The students’ painting studios were on the third floor of the Vatco Building where automobile seats were manufactured on the first two floors.  The studio space was totally open from one end to the other, divided only by easels, canvases and garbage cans.

I was at a loss for a subject to paint.  I abhorred still life set ups.  The only object that interested me at all was a large, green, plastic bag filled with garbage, tied off, waiting to be carried away.  Sunlight poured through the wall of windows on the west side of the building and drenched the bag with yellow and orange highlights.  I grabbed a 30″ x 40″ canvas and devoted my attention to the lumpy form leaning against a paint splattered wall.  Turns out that I was the only one in the painting department that found it fascinating.  There was an uproar over my choice of  subject matter.  I thought that odd since it was the era of abstract expressionism.  I was painting shapes of colors and values.  What did it matter that the inspiration for the painting was a garbage bag?

Most likely, I would receive a similar response if I were to bring Coiled Garden Hose to one of the galleries that represents my work.  Taking a break from gallery work is liberating and refreshing.  I learn a lot by allowing a painting to be ugly.  I learn from the paintings I scrape clean.  And…… I totally enjoyed searching for solutions whether I find them or not.

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