"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Stormy metaphors

"Storm at sea," 5 x 7 Fabriano rough press
I'm reading about the deadly Galveston hurricane of 1900, where human ineptitude and ignorance cost thousands of lives.  
Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson details the disaster with meticulous research, understanding of science, and compelling narrative storytelling.
Though it's hard to put down, I have to stop and breathe once in a while because of the building  sense of inevitable doom, and anxiety.
In fact, it occurs to me that the anxiety is adding to my anxiety over our health hurricane, the pandemic.
Metaphors of a disaster, fitting today--ignorance, denying science, inept leadership, politics, individual heroes fighting odds against death.
That's where this little painting came from this afternoon, trying something new.
I bought a 22 x 30 sheet of Fabriano rough press paper from the estate of Paseo artist Regina Murphy last year. It's just been sitting in the closet since, until I got the courage and inspiration to experiment with an appropriate subject.
Reading about the hurricane prompted these thoughts and this little test watercolor. I'm not an expert on water, but my quick paintings of stormy water seem to work--witness the Viking ship from last week.
Taking a 5 x 7 sample of the paper, I painted quickly after wetting the entire surface. Few brushstrokes, few colors, and motion. Storms seem to be surging in me at the moment--more metaphors.
Rough paper (note the texture of that paper),  rough water.

(Next step, a larger effort. I bought the book from Edmond Best of Books. Larson's most recent book is the astounding The Splendid and the Vile, about Churchill in the Blitz.)

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