Painting is the one thing that keeps me from sinking into an abyss of anxiety caused by the current political/cultural/social/etc chaos. So, I paint as often as I can. That immersion has become more important than ever.

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The smoke from BC has changed the Puget Sound summer air, made it somehow thick. It's not humid here, exactly, but the air clings to the skin and the body reacts as though it were damp. The haze of smoke creates a filter that allows us to look directly at the sun, and photograph it without filling the lens with obscuring light

I painted this a few days ago, another view of Sinclair Inlet at sunset, perhaps a little more abstract than the other sunset picture. It's more about the sun than it is about the water or the land. 
I used an orange-red ground again, but this time I masked out the sun so that I could make it more intensely white. For a little while each evening, before it drops below the horizon, it blazes like this but you can still look at it. The BLP says it burns his retinas (the painting, not the actual sun). 

I posted it on FB as soon as it was done, and within hours I had an offer to purchase it. Since it will be wet for quite a while, and then will need to be varnished, I get to enjoy it for a bit before I send it off. I'm really pleased that someone wants it. I don't really have a hard time letting paintings go after the initial birthing process, but I don't have a pressing need to part with them, either. I’m thrilled that Looking At the Sun will go to someone who understands this piece. 

                           Looking At the Sun  © Rose Guastella 2017  Oils on canvas  16” x 20”

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Comment by greenheron on August 11, 2017 at 1:49pm

That feels true for me too, that the sixties are the best years.

And true about musicians. One of my favorite guitar players is Leo Kottke. I’ve seen him in concert many times at our various ages. When he was young, he was a monster on the frets, in terms of hand strength, of speed. He plays now at about half the speed he did when he was young, but with such mastery and soul and wow I don’t know how to describe the difference. Its like Monkey said, that one line, apparently simple, yet not. It’s muscle memory, maturity, not needing to impress. On the last note of one song, he lets it ring with sustain, then lowers it by simply turning the tuning peg. He turns the peg at the perfect moment because he knows exactly where that moment is and stops turning it at the perfect new note which has just enough sustain left to be heard before dying out. I would have paid the whole concert ticket price for that moment, to see it and hear it. It was the kind of detail a master would do. 

There was a Rodin exhibit here last summer, I ate up his late work. I also took photos. Here’s his old mistress Camille. I took this picture because she looks like me naked. He’s celebrating her and that body, and it felt like he was celebrating me too :)

 

Comment by Rosigami on August 11, 2017 at 2:00pm

What a lovely description of Kotke's musicianship and your response to it. I listened to him all the time as a kid, then stopped. I'm going to have to go listen again. 
My BLP is a musician, plays guitar...at 67 playing better than anytime in his life. He plays almost every single day, often for several hours. It energizes him like painting energizes me. We're in a band together, so a couple of times a week I give a few hours to practicing with him. (that is actually a bit stressful at times as we have different processes for learning music, but the end result is totally worth it)

Comment by greenheron on August 11, 2017 at 2:12pm

Rosi, he is so good now. He doesn't seem to play his beast of a twelve string as much, but a small bodied guitar. His strings are tuned really low, less tension maybe, easier on the hands. But man, he kicks it. It's like an watching the oldest lion in the pack. And when you see him in concert, it's all guys in the front left side, because they want a clear view of the fretboard and these days they are young whippersnappers mixed with other old lions! It's a good audience. I wonder if anyone goes to see him who is not a guitar player :) It's been a couple years since I last saw him, he might not be playing out as much now. Since we've had this chat, I'm going to check.

Comment by Rosigami on August 11, 2017 at 2:56pm

What a fun conversation, gh! Much appreciated. 

Comment by alsoknownas on August 11, 2017 at 3:23pm

Rosi,

Missed my chance to play w/Kottke in the way back. I had a gig that night and couldn't make it to the private party I'd been invited to attend to set in.

I heard it was good until he got too snockered to hang on to his guitar.

Grrr.

The old days...

Comment by Rosigami on August 11, 2017 at 4:06pm

alsoknownas, Musicians! Hard partyers, some of them. Back in the late '70s, my drummer boyfriend and I went to see Leon Redbone at a club called My Father's Place on Long Island. In between sets we sat with his upright bass player, who was trying to negotiate with BF to "borrow" me for a bit. BF, star struck, was into it. I was not. The guy was old! had to be at least 35!  but we did go backstage to meet Leon. who was drinking straight vodka from a water glass, no ice, filled to the brim. 
Let's just say his last set was a wee bit sloppy. He did get pretty funny though. 

Comment by Terry McKenna on August 31, 2017 at 6:58am

Came back to this post.  Different artists speak to one at different times.  When young I loved Turner and enjoyed seeing his works in a trip to London decades ago.  Much later I began to sour on him. Now I love his studies especially, less so the oils.  

Comment by Rosigami on August 31, 2017 at 8:11am

I'm glad you came back, Terry. 
Artist's studies are interesting to me. I remember seeing some of Van Gogh's studies and sketches when I was first an art student, and realizing that his marks were the same no matter what media he was using. That was fun. Of course he left a voluminous amount of such material behind. A few years ago I got to an exhibition of Michelangelo's studies. It was a small show because he was loathe to have anyone see his studies and had intentionally destroyed most of them. Ego! Somehow these survived. And they were incredibly beautiful. 

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