Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Playing with Crayons (Oil Pastels)

The Seer, oil pastel, 18x12, came from many parts of my brain, piles of magazines, and a big box of oil pastels.

For several weeks I have been looking through ten years of Art in America, cutting out photographs of paintings I admire--my choice was cut them up or be buried under them. I came across an intriguing 1970 painting by Picasso, Buste, from his Mosqueteros (Musketeers) and thought of the fun he must have had while painting--this might be my favorite Picasso work. It reminded me that art does not always have to be a serious undertaking; playing is a good way to learn.

The Seer began with a Time photograph of a soldier peering into a huge night vision machine. My work looks nothing like the photograph; I spent about 20 minutes looking at it, then closed the magazine--I remembered the green at the edge of the face. My Seer looks a bit like the X Files actor, and he has the bulging forehead vein I saw on a doctor's temple last month. When the Aztec appeared on his back, the Seer's hairstyle was changed to match. Is he looking into the future? I have no idea--the painting needed a vertical and something red.

The Seer looks nothing like the psychic my friend and I visited once a year--Mr. Whiz of G Street in Washington, D.C. He never peered into anything, sparks never came from his chest, and his predictions never made much sense. We visited other psychics, laughed, and swore we'd never spend another dime on something so stupid--but we did. My friend now thinks she's a psychic and was offended when her local police department declined her help in a murder case. I enjoy my off-plumb friends; they make me feel at home.

All these thoughts surfaced as I played with my beautiful wood box of 120 crayons (Sennelier oil pastels). Next week I hope to be using a new camera, a Canon G11, and I'll post a better photo--the G2 has served me well.

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