At the beginning of May a painter friend called to say that he and his classmates would be getting together for a painting excursion. My friendís in his 50ís and, along with a lot of talented people was sent to the countryside throughout the years of the Cultural Revolution. It wasnít that bad for him. He did a lot of paintings, mostly opaque watercolor on paper. He burned most of them, and has never explained why, and the ones that remain are really amazing. Anyway, when China opened up and educational reforms were put into place, most of these talented folks were invited to take part in formal education to become art teachers. So they all attended art classes in the city and graduated together in 1985.
Anyway, so my friend called me up to say that he and his former classmates were getting together at a place called Five Cloud Mountain Hamlet, a warlord fortress on the top of a small mountain located in the middle of countryside. It just so happened that this place was only an hour away from us, so my wife and I grabbed the toothpaste and toothbrushes and I grabbed two canvases and my painting pack and we headed off.
We got there first and walked around the top of the wall that encircled the top of the mountain. I spotted the scene in the green painting below and couldnít get it out of my mind, even after we had retired to our cabin room. My wife layed down for a nap and I stole off. After a couple of hours she found me and my first painting.
The next day at about 11 in the morning the sun came out! We were due to eat lunch at noon and then leave immediately afterwards. I decide to go ahead and see what damage I could do in an hour and started painting. I put the water lily in the middle of the canvas because it was already a symmetrical shape, and then offset the balance by arranging my composition so that the other lily was over on the left almost off the canvas. Then I started filling in shapes with paint.
I should note that the first painting had a lime green base and the second painting had a coral red base. My wife hates the first painting, but my painter friends think itís ok. Everyone likes the second one, and so Iím going to try to do some more with this kind of spontanaety (spelling?). Iíll also experiment with colored bases. (The impressionists often began with terra cotta grounds.) I guess it depends on what you expect to be painting. Worth experimenting with.
That's all from me...although I would like to say that there are plenty of Alan Watts audio recordings to be downloaded from www.Kazaa.com
if you're into living in the present, etc.
Wish you all a happy summer painting. And remember, Van Gogh might not have cut his ear off and shot himself in a wheat field if he had been able to keep those lead laden brushes out of his mouth! So, learn from Van Gogh.