Friday, June 20

Mister Black and Those Orchid Lights!

Mister Black with Black Olives
16 x 13"
oil on textured board

Ahhh! The orchid lights continue to haunt Mister Black and me! The more I paint them, the more I seem to notice them. They are very anti-depressant so I guess I am hoarding them up for the winter. Instead of nuts, I squirrel away orchid lights.

I have been working on this painting for a week in between a few others. There are several things I did differently.

First of all I have been preparing the boards with the texture paint that I mentioned in the previous blog. Then for my undercoat color I used a color a bit darker than the maroon-mahogany color you see in the lower right. And the paint was a mixture of water-based oil paint and acrylic. The combo of the texture topped with the oil/acrylic created a very different surface to paint on than either the canvas board or the wood board. The paint went on more effortlessly and I didn't have to fight it so hard so it looks creamier.

Secondly I spent more time allowing the image and composition to come together and I made sure I was really drawn to it before I began to paint. I used an Alexander concept called "inhibiting". The thing that got inhibited was the urge to forge ahead and start dabbing paint on the canvas without first having something I was passionate to paint about. Sometimes I feel so like "DUH!" with myself!

Another thing I waited for was the colors. It is so tempting to try to please other people and do objects and colors that I know they like. But the voices in my head or rather the colors behind my eyeballs are calling out "Orchid Lights! Orchid Lights"

When I was in art school, actually my first painting class with David Conn, both Harry's and my beloved mentor, I found a tube of "cobalt violet light oil", or "orchid light" paint, took it back to the studio and began lavishing it all over a large canvas. I had no clue what to paint, I just loved this color! It was one of those pigments that has a tendency to disappear quickly into the other colors and I used up the entire tube on this one canvas.

In the thirty years since I always notice that color wherever I am. I look for it to magically appear scattering itself across a windowsill or land suddenly on a random object in a sunlit room. It is kind of like my own personal fairy godmother I guess. And I think that might be a clue as to the dots that keep making me paint them everywhere. They are also like cartoon bubbles with a message saying, "Now don't forget, this is not a narrative scene. This is a flat canvas with paint on it." Yeah, right. This is a story if ever I saw one.

Mister Black loves to taste my food. He and Doodle will play in the sugar bowl if I leave it uncovered. And they will roll fruit off the table, and yes, olives. I liked how the olives took on the same rich mix of primaries to make black. Even tho they are not furry, they are pretty similar to Mr. B. Flat, black, rolly. Haha.

So what was I saying? Oh yes, the colors. I spent a couple hours just mixing colors that I liked. Occasionally I would mix a color for a specific object, other times I would just mix a color and hope I could find a nice place for it in the painting. Funny thing is, when I do color this way, all the ones I like do seem to find a nesting spot.

That's all I have to say about that. I am showing my paintings tonight at our church fellowship hall. I am going to give a brief statement about them but I want to keep it short so I am doing all my talking here. If you really want to know what is going on in my head you will read this blog. See? Mister Black seems to be laughing at this.

Go buy him @Etsy!


  1. Anonymous6/20/2008

    Aaaahhh... I love this one. It's so peaceful. Genevieve

  2. I love these colors! I think you may be broadening my color vocabulary....

  3. Suzy,
    For some reason I like the fact that I can't tell exactly which direction Mr. Black is facing. It reminds me of that rotating cube that is up during Christmas that looks like it changes directions (in spin) as you pass by.

    I'm bummed I'll miss your show and tell tonight. I'm goin camping. Are you showing "Mr. Black Takes A Nap"? That one is my favorite at the moment. So sleepy and comfy.

  4. WIOW!
    I guess it goes to show you how much better it is to go with your true instincts! Thanx for the love, Blogees!

    Luke - you have to come see it in person - I think in person it will dissolve the xmas spinner magic, however the colors are even better in person.