In late November I started a new series of paintings based on photographs of the sky as day opens or closes, This is the first one, from a reference photo taken some years ago as I stepped out into the driveway to fetch the morning newspaper.
In 1997-1998 I worked on a series of 24” x 16” paintings under the heading “Pacific,” though in reality I referred to them as my Fog Rothkos. Each day on leaving the house I would look west to Ocean Beach and memorize three colors: sky, fog, water.
When I was deciding on small pieces to make for my Open Studio, the little 5” x 2.5 - 3” Claybord samples I had recalled the dimensions of the Pacific series. These are two of the tiny paintings I made. They were a lot of fun!
I’ll be doing my first Open Studio since moving to Ukiah, on Saturday November 10, from 11 AM to 4 PM. It’s very exciting. There are lots of recent paintings to show, a selection of older landscapes from around the area that many folks have not seen before, and now I’m making a batch of very small decorative pieces. It also means the carpets get cleaned, the house gets cleaned….
This is from a “selfy” I took one evening. I was fascinated by the repeating stripe motifs, the oddness of the space and composition, and the overall feel of the photograph.
Besides being fun to paint (yes, especially the socks!) this marks a return of my interest in figure painting, an area I’ve neglected since…um….about 1992?
Acrylic on Canvas, 28” x 16”, copyright 2018.
From a photograph by Anna L. Conti, with her gracious permission: an intense sun creates a totally backlit scene.
Acrylic on Canvas, 20" x 20"
This was to have been the fourth of the four Lakeville Highway N... paintings, but the underpainting stopped me dead in my tracks and said You Are Done Here.
It happens that this occurred in the first days of the mass forcible separations at our southern border. I found myself transfixed by the sheer willful power of the image on the canvas before me and essentially asked it was it is.
And the Woody Guthrie song "Deportee" was the next thing in my head and that was that.
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"
My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.
Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?