getting started

i've always been an artistic kind of person ... museumgoer, art lover, musician. i can sketch ok, did art as a kid, worked in my 20's as a graphic artist in a print shop.

don't remember why i was wandering around in university arts of palo alto california, but i bought a pelikan watercolor box and a few richeson brushes and a big pad of strathmore paper. my wife was out of town on one of her field trips, and i was looking for a pastime.

i got the marian appellof watercolor book, too, figuring it would be enough to get me started.

i browsed it and didn't understand a thing. it was too much.

how do i get these little cakes wet? do i wet them all at once? why do my colors run together?

i did a few paintings: an abstract big sheet of all the hexagrams of the i ching (my very first painting), then some microcosmic universes, some landscapes, some abstract fantasies including two hands a heart and a snake.

i painted at night, the stereo going, mostly pictures from my head, rather than landscapes or still lifes.

then i stopped.

i didn't really understand what the point was, the delight in making one painting after another.

the paints were chalky and pale, the brushes blunt. the paper was OK, but the colors ran and bled and looked dull.

colors mixed together made new colors, i discovered, but this didn't seem practical because there were already so many colors in the set.

why would i mix colors?

i couldn't find the pleasure in it, so i stopped.

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