Yes, we will be painting together in this post just like olde tymes. But first: YAAAAAA-HOOOOOOOO!!!!! No More Damn DOMA!!!! Slowly, slowly, this country will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into Enlightenment. And to the Christian lady from Philadelphia on NPR who said that the Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman and truth doesn’t change...
…um, didn’t the “truth” change in that very same Bible, with a so-called “new” testament? I’m just asking.
The truth is that “truth” changes all the time and if we hold on to “truth” then we’d all still believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth and that cancer is caused by demons. Let’s get with it! Let’s commit to never searching for the real truth! And let’s get enlightened!
There. I got that out of my system. Now, where were we? I believe we were headed towards Paris…
I admit, I am slow. It wasn’t until I had completely disgusted myself with my first two attempts to portray London architecture that I REMEMBERED that I have already faced this challenge before. Since I am not gifted in understanding buildings I paint around that shortcoming by doing what I AM good at: linear drawing, like I did here, for my book Le Road Trip (this, above, is the publisher’s proof of pages 190 – 191 for those reading along). All I have to do is paint the buildings in silhouette. Problem solved.
In fact, I suddenly remembered that I’d already solved this problem once before in my ow Damn Garden Book:
This is the title page for the Edinburgh chapter. Note the city skyline in the background. Duh.
So I sketched out the buildings that surround the Chelsea Physic Garden in London…
…and all I have to do is keep it away from my helper kitties who love nothing more than getting their paws on my works-in-progress…
The next several pictures will be of my renewed attempt to paint the Chelsea Physic Garden but I’ll tell you right now (spoiler alert) that it doesn’t turn out right:
Unfortunately, this (see above) is not how the Chelsea Physic Garden is laid out. Those of you who have been to this lovely 4-acre walled garden founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries as a teaching garden where medicinal plants were cultivated will know that I’m trying to paint the quadrant known as the Systematic Order Beds, which actually look more like this:
There still isn’t something quite right. So let’s have one more go at it:
I finally got the Chelsea Physic Garden that I wanted. This picture only took about four hours to paint, not counting the four previous attempts that cost me about 20 hours of my life. Fact is, I’m a better miniaturist when it comes to painting gardens…
I prefer to tell visual stories in little bits at a time…
I write the same way I paint. I keep at it, hacking away again and again and again until I finally manage to say what I’ve been trying to say all along. The same way that I tend to re-paint, I don’t write as much as I re-write. I finally ditched the Pages word processing program that I bought for my new Apple computer last Summer and installed good old Microsft Word last month and I AN IM HEAVEN! I have been happily, happily re-writing everything I wrote on Pages and after a year and a half I have, at last, a first chapter that I’m actually going to let Top Cat read. Nine more chapters and I have the book DONE!
Writing and painting are similar in that to get anything done, you have to be very sensitive to your shortcomings and avoid any picture or paragraph that lets those shortcomings hang out. By painting or writing to your strong points, you develop a style that is uniquely your own. The next series of pictures is of me painting a typical London view, but painting it in a way that highlights my strong points (and hides my weaknesses). Notice how I work front-to-back in this one:
By the way, I later added people walking on the sidewalk to give a sense of scale. This is the actual view from my friend Wendy’s brother’s flat in Knightsbridge:
Since I already know that I can’t paint architecture, I’m going to leave those buildings white. Voila: a style.
This tactic seems to work well for London…I wonder how it will work for Giverny? Because I have my heart set on painting this view:
It might even be my nest Triscuit. Which reminds me! We have a Triscuit to give away!!
WOW! I had to ask Top Cat to pick a number between 1 and 56…56!!! Your Comments were just great last week and I’m still re-reading them (a Van Gogh Triscuit must be in my future) so thank you, thank you, thank you to all who left a word or two. And just to show you how unpredictable Top Cat can be, when I asked him to chose that number of which he had 56 to choose from, he chose…Number One. So this Monet Triscuit goes to Carol Wall of Vancouver! (Carol please send me your mailing info to vivianswift at yahoo before this Comment section closes at midnight Tuesday, July 2/3!!)
Next week, we head out on another road trip. We’re going to see this garden:
It’s time to go to Marrakech!