scene change

painting had gotten to be a less difficult recreation, i could sit down and do a painting in a relatively brief time, i was interested in what came out.

time is a theme here because time had become a burden, finding the energy to paint was hard.

no one had asked me to paint, no one expected me to, it wasn't something in the parental game plan or the career self image. i could stop any time and no one but me would care.

around this time i began working less, involuntarily: the desire to continue working evaporated. my enthusiasm for the massive collaborative anthill of the modern technological hemmorhage withered inside me. words slowed, my anger and confusion came to the surface.

the world groaned and began sliding apart like the creaking last scene in a baroque opera ... when the gods descend from paneled clouds and the dragon sinks smoking into the stage.

i was burning out big time.

but i kept painting. i sometimes had one big project going that would divide up into many small painting steps, one at a time, along with two or three smaller paintings, started but not finished. depending on time, mood and commitment, i might work a little on the big painting, or just finish off a sketch or small study.

sometimes the palette to an unfinished painting would dry out, so i would moisten it and do a little more; after four or five days the paints would go moldy, and i'd have to throw them out.

around this time my wife and i planned a vacation in italy. i had taken my field kit with me on trips before, but had only used it to paint in my hotel rooms. this time i wanted to paint out of doors, so i began practicing with the kit to complete a painting within a brief time, expecting either a crowded site or vacation tours would make a long paint session impractical.

the vase sketch was something i did just before the trip, with the field kit in less than an hour, sitting on my livingroom couch. this was one of those paintings i did without thinking — just working the paper as it dried, correcting colors as i went, balancing and adjusting after each big addition, until there wasn't anything more to do, and i stopped.

it was starting to feel as though that was pretty much how i'd gotten through life ... maybe why so many lives seem to have a remarkable esthetic wholeness ... without thinking, working and correcting as it dries, balancing and adjusting after each big addition.

i scanned the image and sent it to my parents in eureka. my father liked it well enough to insist i send it to him.

he made a wooden frame by hand and hung the picture in the guestroom of his home.

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