"Earth’s distant orb appeared the smallest light that twinkles in the heaven; whilst round the chariot’s way innumerable systems rolled and countless spheres diffused an ever-varying glory. It was a sight of wonder: some were hornèd like the crescent moon; some shed a mild and silver beam like Hesperus o'er the western sea; some dashed athwart with trains of flame, like worlds to death and ruin driven; some shone like suns, and as the chariot passed, eclipsed all other light." From "Queen Mab" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1813)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Folk Art Of Cactus County #14

Three more pieces completed this week. It’s funny how some pictures I can do really quickly and others take weeks before I find the final image or background to finally finish them off. Let’s start with the deer painting.
Mrs Kitsch said last week why don’t you paint a deer? As ever she proved to be my inspiration. I like deer and we’ve got loads of kitsch deer ornaments at home but I hadn’t thought if painting one, at least not one that wasn’t just a skull. So, grabbing the deer by the horns so to speak I gave it a go and the result is the picture above. I did this in just a day. It’s 17cm x 21.5cm including the frame which I deliberately left bare to enhance the wood/forest feel of the piece. I did the grass/leaves last as the piece was meant to be just shades of brown but I thought about the forest paintings of Rousseau and thought, what the heck I’ll add some grass/leaves.
This next one (above) I’ve had hanging around for ages, I just couldn’t think how to finish it. I had the cattle skull, the cactus and the yellow/black boarder but there was a lot of red space which needed something, I just couldn’t figure out what. It’s been sitting over to one side where I could see it while I was working but out of the way. Then last night I thought about the dots thing again and decided to try that. It’s another small picture, just 10cm x10cm.
And finally for the moment another scorpion picture called “Evolution: Fact of Life”. It is also 17cm x 21.5cm including the frame, which I did paint on this one. The three flowers at the top of the painting each have slight variations from one another and represent both the process of evolution and the three towns of Cactus County. I tried to make the “Fact of Life” bit like an official stamp. This one I started a few weeks ago but stalled with the top of the picture after I had done the scorpion, chillis, blue flower and pineapples.

I usually have a rough idea of the main thing I want in the picture but not always the finer details like what words I’ll use, if I use any at all. A partially finished picture sometimes suggests itself what needs doing next, or I just sit there looking at it for ages trying to think something up. It’s hard when you restrict yourself to certain themes or in my case avoiding certain themes; I will not paint anything that promotes religion or belief in the supernatural. As most Day of the Dead art works are full of religious symbols this means I have to really think about what to include.

Also my lack of skill doesn’t help; I keep putting off painting things as I don’t think I can do it, then I have a go and it kind of works. So what if it doesn’t look anatomically correct, it’s naive art and being correct isn’t as important as what the painting has to say. Anyway, like the large eagle I am doing at the moment, I am spreading my artistic wings a bit and so far I’m happy with the results.

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