I haven’t finished the watercolor from yesterday’s sketch yet.  There is so much turbulence: 1) my wife and I are in one room of a cousin’s house. She was frequently here as a child, so she has fond memories. It is sad though, since her aunt who’s house it was died just a month ago. 2) there is upset about the circumstance of our leaving and there is upset at the house where we now live, due to grief; 3) we must delve into the housing market here in Silicon Valley, an overwhelming task; 4) I haven’t settled in to a morning routine where I can drink my coffee and read my books.

When one goes over turbulence in an aircraft, the captain often says, “Fasten your seatbelt.” I would do that if I knew to what I should fasten it.

As I mentioned to Liz, in a comment, it is difficult (for me at least) to make a coherent written narrative in the midst of an emotional situation. Time needs to elapse for the intense transient feelings to subside.  To put it in engineering terms, one must wait for the system to arrive in its steady state. Think of it in terms of our man with the hammer. When he strikes a bell, there is an immediate concussive clang, but (if he doesn’t keep beating it) the sound dissipates.  At that time one can collect and prioritize one’s thoughts about the incident and come up with meaningful work.

That is not to say that one cannot initiate an artistic response to an emotional incident while the bell is still clanging. One can start a poem (as Liz has done) or, with a brush in hand, it is possible to transfer one’s stress into a streak across the page; that streak would in turn inspire a splatter or another streak. Depending on the amount of thought that can be mustered during extreme stress, the results could be very interesting. Even if it turned out to be a brownish mass of streaks and spatters that no one else appreciated, the artist will have converted his or her stress into a visible manifestation (and possibly will have relieved some stress).

Today’s progress

I didn’t make too much progress in my tilted building painting, for some of the reasons stated above.  However I did want to show what I did today.  My self-imposed goal of presenting something different every day seems to keep me focused to some degree.

Here is today’s incremental step forward from yesterday’s sketch:

Watercolor Sketch - Tilted House in London - Start of Watercoloring

Tilted House in London – Start of Watercoloring

Very bland indeed. I used colors on the brown side of the spectrum. Strictly speaking, there is no ‘brown’ part of the spectrum. Brown is a combination of all primary colors, so different shades of brown contain different combinations of the primaries.  For the darkest brown in this iteration of my painting, I used Warm Sepia (from Sennelier). The reddish areas were made from burnt umber (the lighter reddish areas were lightened with titanium white). I used Buff Titanium (Dailer Rowney) for the concrete wall on top of the building on the left.  I used Hooker’s green for the leaves on the tree. Finally, I used either Payne’s gray or neutral tint, combined with white for the background buildings.

I hope that by the end of the day tomorrow, I’ll get some more detail into the painting (but not each and every brick!).

2 thoughts on “Turbulence

  1. I am sending you lots of warm thoughts Jack. We take our routines and steady state so much for granted – your mention of the morning coffee gave me sudden overwhelming empathy for you. Yes, I would miss that too. I know it’s a small thing but we need our anchors.

    Well, your ability to paint through this is wonderful. When I saw how you had worked on your sketch I found it optimistic; those green leaves represent growth and re-birth and the fact you added those instead of the brick detail is interesting. I hadn’t even noticed them in your photo – I saw only the mouth of the tunnel and gloomier features. I wouldn’t call it bland. I saw delicate greens and lemon yellow – though interesting it appears you didn’t use any yellow! I think it must be Buff Titanium which I saw as lemon?
    I kook forward to seeing where you take it next. Liz

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