spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
—[in Just-] from Chansons Innocentes by e.e. cummings
Fooling around in my journal pages recently. I couldn’t think of what to paint after I’d done the striped clouds on this journal page, and slowly, out of my not-caring and my not-thinking of very much at all, came this cahracter. My queer little balloonman is neither lame nor ominously, sexually goat-footed; he’s a harmless giant three-toed sloth, sporting the greenish fur that many sloths develop during the rainy season, as a result of algae growing in special grooves in their fur. Sloths, like sly satyr balloonMen, communicate (far and wee) with whistle-like sounds.
Below, painting of a bunch of slightly sinister allium blooms that was really an experiment in laying down blocks of background color using a large square piece of foam, and the sort of rippled texture created when you pull the foam away from the wet, semi-translucent paint.
I find the subject of flowers—unless they are stylized into ornamental ones—very awkward to do…am not used to drawing or painting realistic ones at all. I’ve been asked to do a painting of flowers for an acquaintance’s mother, in exchange for the 6-meter roll of absolutely gorgeous Belgian linen painter’s canvas that he didn’t know what to do with and just gave to me. So I have been trying to get used to the idea of painting flowers, though I realize that these alien-looking spore-balls are not what he means. The guy is a local drunk and a grease-monkey off the oil rigs…i.e. very working class, and I’ll bet my money that his idea of a good painting of flowers is “like a photograph”. I can hear the echoes of countless old biddies at the art stalls in airports the world over: “Oh, my, now isn’t that clever?! They look so real, just like a photograph! So clever“. (Oh, hey, now there’s an idea. I could get a flower photograph blown up and printed on canvas, then shlop on some transparent textural acrylic medium to look like dimensional brush strokes. Dear old mum probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Just kidding. I may be a cynical person, but I have a little integrity. So I am thinking of Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, because I would be happier doing a large close-up of a flower than the usual “flowers-in-a-vase on a tablecloth” arrangement. But really, I don’t have an idea, yet…it could turn out completely different from anything he, or I, anticipate!