Monday, March 05, 2012

Memories Lost In The Canals Of Mars

Lost in the metonymy of puppets and painting
and songs moving, somehow, something like from east to west,
is this real, too, down here, this working, craft, quest to find
the illusion of pain, the grace of endless beauty?

I keep my good watercolor paints in an old crayon box. These are Winsor and Newton artist quality colors. I have a simple spectrum-based selection of colors. Winsor Red, Winsor Orange, Winsor Yellow, Winsor Green (blue shade), Winsor Blue (red shade) and Winsor Violet. I don’t have a Payne’s Gray. I do have both Indigo and Sepia, for mixed cool and warm grays. I also have an Ivory Black so I can mix other simple grays. And, just because I like the single pigment brown, I have a Raw Umber.

One reason I picked these particular colors is that the same, or very similar, pigments are available under one or another name in the Winsor and Newton student line of watercolors called “Cotman” watercolors. I have those as well simply because I get less nervous using the inexpensive paints than I do using the “artist” quality paints. And since I have almost identical pigments in both ranges, if I do something I like using the Cotman range, I know I will be able to do something similar with the more expensive artist-quality paints.

I’ve been thinking about watercolors a lot recently for a roundabout kind of reason—

A few years ago, I wrote a song for a woman. Back then I couldn’t play keyboards at all and I wrote the song on guitar.

Recently I was practicing on a keyboard and I realized that as I’ve been practicing various chord voicings on keyboard I have learned enough, and practiced enough, so that I can now play that song on keyboards. I mean the guitar song I had written for the woman.

It made me really happy to realize that. And to play it. I still can’t play it as fluently on keyboard as on guitar, but on keyboard I can play it differently, with harmony and melody, or with piano harmony and flute melody.

So I was thinking that kind of thing makes me really happy, having this song that brings back all my memories of someone.

But I’ve never been tempted to make sketches of people I know.

And I’ve been interested in photography for almost as long as I can remember and I have never had any urge at all to photograph people I know. In fact, in some obscure way, I’ve always felt something like the opposite urge—I’ve felt some kind of imperative not to photograph people I know, not to draw people I know.

I wonder why I like having songs that remind me of people, but not images?

I’ve never been tempted to draw or paint a self-portrait, but I don’t mind doing videos of me playing guitar and even trying to sing.

Anyway, so I’ve been wondering if I would feel more comfortable working with images of people I know if I put some kind of artificial construct around the person in the image. Maybe something like, “person X making a Vampirella face” or “person Y posing as the entomologist from ‘Them!’”

I don’t know. I had a lot of fun doing that “Vicki Over Her Shoulder” sketch, but I don’t really enjoy acrylics as much as watercolors. Or as much as just plain drawing for that matter. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a serious drawing or watercolor. I miss it.

And I’d really like somehow to discover a way to become as comfortable working with images of people as I am working with songs about people.

I feel I have some kind of mental block here. And writing about it, I’m hoping, will help me start to break through the mental block. Having songs that remind me of a person or a time or an event is a great source of pleasure to me. But it has always seemed to me that watercolors are the most thoughtful of all media. If songs are fun, it seems to me I should have even more fun, more satisfaction, from watercolor.

But when I introspect on this—or try to—I get this sense that there is something I’m not thinking of, some aspect of this that I haven’t yet been able to put into words, or into thoughts.

Anyway—again—so this post doesn’t have a lot of content to it. But this is something that is on my mind a lot.

I was just so happy over the weekend sitting around playing that song on keyboard that I had originally written on guitar.

I don’t know why I can’t do similar stuff with drawing and painting—making memories, enjoying memories.

I can do it with music, and writing. But I can’t do it with images. I don’t know why. I want to know why.

I’m working on this.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This Woman From The Canals Of Mars

The Lost World Of Stacy And The Llama

An Unclear Story About Walking To Mars

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