Monday, October 27, 2014

Bouquet - and the Smartest Dog

Oil on black canvas, 16x16

I post my paintings fairly regularly on the Zest of Orange, a blog started by Middletown, NY, Times Herald-Record staffers whose jobs had been eliminated. The coterie of contributors has changed, but the blog chugs along with good writing and thinking, art and cartoons, and I'm always happy to be a part of it. 

Jeff Page, another contributor, wrote to tell me how much he liked my October Morning painting, and it got me thinking about the past few months. I've been in a period of vague dissatisfaction with my painting since about the middle of the summer.  

I'm at a point in my painting life where I recognize this feeling as a presage of a breakthrough, and so I've been riding it. I know you all have been reading and watching the evolution here, and I am beginning to feel that I'm finding my way in this new phase. This painting is one of the touchstones, I think. 

This new phase often involves the black canvas showing through. It seems to involve brighter colors, fewer strokes, and, within the boundaries of these stained-glass-like shapes I'm ingraining into the paintings, a new sort of freedom and looseness in the strokes. 

At least that's what it seems to me! 

I am really, really excited about these new paintings, and I am so hoping that other people will like them, love them, buy them, and delight in them as I do. 

I'VE LONG BEEN bothered by perfume and perfumey scents. They make my sinuses swell, give me headaches, make me sneeze and upset my stomach. For years, I could barely make it down the laundry-soap aisle in the grocery store. Being around teenage boys, who have a weird propensity for wearing gallons of super-smelly Axe, was torment. When I was the top dog in newsrooms, I set down strict rules against the wearing of scents. Otherwise, I griped and moaned and begged people to not wear perfume and cologne. 

I've grown out of much of my sensitivity, though someone doused in particular perfumes or cologne s can still cause me pain. So I was mystified when I came home one day and found my husband in the back hallway, smelling of cologne. 

We tried to figure it out, but couldn't. He wasn't using any new shampoo or deodorant. We were still using the same laundry soap. He hadn't been anywhere where he would have come into contact with anyone swimming in cologne. 

A week or so later, Peter figured it out. The trash bags we use are suddenly, stupidly, perfumed. I can't tell you how much I object to this. First of all, it's just plain stupid, at least in my opinion. It certainly doesn't kill the smell of rotting trash, just mixes it with the smell of perfume. It gives me a headache, makes my sinuses swell, and when I put a new trash bag in, it gets all over my hands. 

I wish manufacturers would just Cut This Out! 

Dog of the Day 

WE SHARE OUR home with five dogs. One is a hunting dog with a great nose. Two are total food hounds. A couple of them are so smart, it's scary. And four of them can see and hear. 

Zoe, a lhasa apso, is the oldest of the five. She's the smallest of the five. She is mostly deaf and nearly totally blind. 

And clearly, she is the smartest of the whole bunch. 

Peter had left the empty dog food bag in the back hallway. It had been there all day. After supper, he called to me, and pointed into the back hall. And there, next to the wire rack with the smelly trash bags, was Zoe, with just her hind end sticking out of the bag. She licked out the entire inside, scarfed up whatever crumbs were left, and had herself a great time. 

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