Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bugged


Bugged, watercolor on Arches, 13x14
Five years ago I dreamed I was at a party; a huge bug was attached to my back, and no one noticed.  I thought the dream was odd; I sketched it while half-asleep.

I found the sketch tucked in a drawer and began the painting three weeks ago in a playful mood.  I thought I'd try a bit of everything with watercolor--masking with torn painters' tape, washes, scrubbing, glazes, muddy colors.  As the painting progressed, however, I realized the subject wasn't really funny--that I was painting my life.  I'm always bugged by something but I smile or joke my way through--so how would anyone know I'm upset?

Art--cheaper than psychiatry.  Now I'm really bugged.

The woman looks a bit like Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke or Margaret Thatcher and has quite a long arm reaching for that wine.  I don't think wine will debug me--don't like the taste or the headache.  I'll just have to keep painting; it usually helps.
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39 comments:

  1. Your playfulness is obvious in this painting. I totally understand your smiling or joking as I often deal with things that bug me the same way. It works most of the time but I'm afraid that one day I might have to hit the little bug with a swatter!
    Art IS cheaper than therapy and probably way more fun too!

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  2. Ewwwwww! (Actually the bug has quite a cute face, lookin' at him). But let's hear it for creativity and experimentation!! Hear, hear! Hate to see what happened when you sat back in the car seat on your way home from the bar. Ewwwwww.

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  3. Hi Carole. And when we finally swat, it's messy.

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  4. Dan--Ewwwww is right. Luckily there are a couple of bars three blocks from my house so I have options: I could walk home, or I could catch a ride home in the back of someone's truck. (When I sketched the 3x5 card, I must have worried about the bug getting squashed--the stools are backless.)

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  5. It's FABULOUS Hallie! I agree with Dan that the bug looks friendly. Kafka would approve.

    I too am bugged by many things and it is why I cartoon. I read recently that humor is a form of complaining. Somehow that made perfect sense to me.

    I think women, particularly caregiving women will relate to your painting. It hits deep.

    I agree art is wonderful therapy. Sitting in the psychologist chair is really helpful too. Or at least get the DVD's of The Bob Newhart Show. (Jeff and I have watched them this winter- wonderful stuff.)

    Thanks Hallie for your honesty and your humor.

    Pamo

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  6. Pamo Art--Hello. I watched a movie once about Kafka's dreams: I was shocked--they were a bit like mine. I think humor is a form of complaining; I've probably done too much. I love the Bob Newhart show; just thinking about the characters in his group makes me laugh. His later innkeeper show was funny, too.

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  7. I have often thought that it would be very cool to paint a dream. I used to have dreams with complex plots...I'd write them down. I don't dream as much now (with memorable plots anyway). I am glad you brought this dream to life and also that you sorted out what it meant. I've had some realizations about some of my dreams too--it's so interesting to think that when we dream we are just trying to tell ourselves something! Love this painting. What is the person with the raised arm (in the background) doing?

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  8. Painting is a kind od therapy ...like gardening, you just forget about everything. I think the attitude of just showing a happy face is a good attitude, life is too short....This is great piece of art Hallie.

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  9. Loved Carol's comment but I can't think of a better way to deal with things that "bug" than by joking past it. I love the surreal feeling of this painting and the long arm just adds to it. It seems like an episode of the Time Zone with the crowd behind you not even aware of that big ol' bug!

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  10. Your art always makes me laugh, or wonder... and that's a good thing! The bug is more eye catching than any other element in the painting, her arm is almost alien-esque... fitting for the whole dream concept in my opinion. I love your honesty too, and what gets your creative juices flowing... makes your art mean more.

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  11. Well that was a very literal dream - don't need Freud to interepret that one! I like that you shared it with us and drew and painted it out :) Hopefully, when you are being bugged, you can think of this painting and laugh.

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  12. Little Miss Hallie,
    Sat on her pallet,
    Eating her cheese and whey,
    Along came a spider,
    Who sat down beside her,
    And frightened,
    Miss Hallie away.

    Everette McGill

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  13. Hi Celeste. I've actually painted quite a few dreams; I don't always identify them as such (the guys in the white coats might show up). I don't know what the person in the background is doing--maybe the chicken dance? When I began the painting, I just made a lot of marks behind the woman and bug; since I couldn't paint over the marks, I improvised as I went along.

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  14. Thank you Jane. I think of your paintings when I begin a watercolor--then I jump in and flounder. My neat Winsor Newton watercolor kit now looks like an abstract painting.

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  15. You're right, Crimson Leaves. No one at the party noticed that bug--they partied on.

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  16. Hi Robin. I do like the surreal--I just haven't figured out why I intentionally made the arm so long. If I were redoing it, I'd try to give the guy in the background an extra-long bent arm, too.

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  17. Hi Rhonda (RH Carpenter). I didn't think about the interpretation until I was half-through the painting. Now I'm bugged by it--this will probably get added to my upstairs, out-of-sight collection.

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  18. Anonymous Everette--surely, you realize that I'm not afraid of bugs. If I see one inside I actually carefully catch him (don't want to injure), take him outside, and say "Go towards the light."

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    Replies
    1. Take time to smell the roses and sooner or later you will inhale a bug.

      Well done painting Hallie, what long arms you have, better to reach the wine I suppose. Keep up the good work.

      Everette McGill

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  19. I've recently been trying to remember my vivid dreams but often can't remember what they look like, only what they feel like. Therapy grist for sure but no literal bugs. Yet.

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  20. Hi SamArtDog. No bugs? Maybe your dreams are of sharks and piranha and surfboards. Dark rising water is often part of my dreams (my swimming lessons didn't really take).

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  21. Halli,this is wonderful and haven't we all felt bugged. Now I will always think of this image when I identify my buggedness! That and art surely helps keep us sane. Of course, I always say going to the gym with my girlfriends is cheaper than therapy. We've worked out way through death, divorce, surgery, young and adult children, disappointment, and anger. In return, we have laughed a lot and gotten the bug off our back, if ever so briefly.

    From an art standpoint, I love the vivid color of your dress, and the beautifully patterned bug (it's evident that you have a love for creatures). The repetition of curves is wonderful: the antennae, the breasts resting on the bar, the wine glass, and the stools. The man's straight arm pushes down on the woman adding to the emotional expression of being bugged.

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  22. Mary, Thank you. I was trying for repetition with the antennae and stools; after all, those boobs were just lying on the bar. I was looking at Latrec paintings before I started this one; he seemed to work with abandon. At first the woman was wearing a low-cut dress but the skin color was distracting--the color of her dress is many layers. You have a great eye; wish I could join one of your groups to discuss paintings (but it's a long way to CA).

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  23. Hi Hallie,

    (if this comment is coming for a second time, my apologies, not sure if the first went through)
    So...I said in the first:
    Do you have any Irish in you? Growing up in a large Irish family, we learned early on to laugh and have a light heart in many a situation. Lots of laughs!
    Dreams can be so revealing and literal. Love the painting!

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  24. Hi Indigomar. My best guess is Irish/English/Scottish I thought laughing might be the southern way--maybe it's the Irish way. I was surprised that I didn't "read" the dream until I painted it.

    Laugh on!

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  25. What a cool painting. I appreciate that you took us into one of your therapy sessions...

    A few years ago I wrote that "a smile is the perfect hiding place". What better place to hide your bugs than behind a smile? A smile can disarm and defuse, preventing others from seeing the bug on our back - or worse yet - adding their own bugs to our load.

    My first thought was that your arm was so long because you were stretching it to keep the bug away from your wine. He looks thirsty to me. As for the guy with his arms up in the background, I thought of him as a sleepwalker.

    -Don

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  26. Hi Don. My therapy sessions never quite work! You are so right about smiles--they do prevent others from adding their own bugs. I know you're a great art teacher (you know it all, really). Now I think you need another cat named Freud.

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  27. Well I'd say your in great shape...two brilliant and very funny guys (Bandler and Grindler) suggest that the three most deadly diseases of our culture are seriousness, certainty and importance (self importance being the most deadly they add)...so there you have it...bugged but so beautifully so...so that we, your happy viewers, get the gift of the uplift...cool beans.
    ooo lala on the turbin.
    I thought of Miss Kitty too...

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  28. hallie...
    There is something that "bugs" me about this!
    Could it be that your friend is looking at me funny?

    Yeah I've been to a few of those parties also, they always hurt more than they should the next day.

    nice work!!

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  29. Hi Donna and thank you. I'm never certain of anything and question those who are; importance is definitely not important. I think I started life being serious--a waste of childhood; I slip into it occasionally. I just walked in from my workshop--Happy Full Moon!

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  30. Hi JB. Maybe he's decided to bug you--I haven't seen a new painting from you recently. I hope all's going well since your move.

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  31. Very beautiful!!!
    Ciao from Italy.
    Evelin

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  32. Hallie, I don't know how this one got by me. It's fantastic! I was doing a fast scroll while waiting for the coffee, and there was this bug hugging a lady, very Alice in Wonderland. I am the slow one in the bunch. Dream on!

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  33. Evelin, Thank you.


    Hi Linda. One thing you're not is slow. I often miss entries, especially if I'm spending a lot of time in my workshop. I've been following your drawing of the child--it's looking good.

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  34. hey hallie..
    yeah things are always crazy with a move!
    I have one in the works..... I hope to have it finished soon, I hate to put a date on the finish, it would make me push, instead of letting it flow
    thanks

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  35. Hi JBkrost. I'm from the South--going with the flow is my method, too.

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  36. LOL! You certainly got my attention! One thing for sure a glass of wine would get rid of any bug of mine in a minute. Truth be know I've never been one to bite my tongue with or without a glass a wine and it has caused me a lot of problems. Fun painting that says so much.

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  37. Thanks Eva. I wish I had known you earlier; I might have learned a thing or two--probably too late to change now.

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  38. Hmm, dreams aren't as cryptic as they appear. You're into my territory with this painting heehee. Looks like the bug really wants your drink.

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