Bokusho-Sam, 10x10, 2006
We attended a delightful surprise party this past weekend, given by the two sons of long time good friends. It wasn't hard to come up with ideas for appropriate gifts, a baseball hat decorated with jokes for him, and a painting for her.
A painting??? Well, this gal was very influential in boosting my career back when my fledgling career really needed a boost. She's the kind of person that doesn't just say, "I like it," she buys it! And not through me, but through my first important gallery, thereby impressing my gallery director in the process. And she didn't just buy a few, she is probably the largest collector of my early work, in particular my serigraphs. Their home is a virtual museum of art and artifacts from around the world as they have traveled extensively, courtesy of the USAF, which is how we came to be friends with them many years ago.
Well, due to continued moving around, we parted ways and became Xmas card friends until we happened to move near them five years ago. Frequent lunch dates have helped us catch up and resume our friendship, but they have as much art as they really need and my career did, indeed, catch a breeze and I've priced myself out of the reach of even the most devoted friends. So... yes indeedy, a painting as a gift was in order.
Funny thing though, the painting I'd planned to give was not coming together and I began to get a little panicky about it as the day drew close. The night before the party, I was having one of my restless nights so got up and spent a little time on the computer... then back to bed and still couldn't sleep. The painting kept stirring around in my mind so I got up again, grabbed a small painting I had thought to use as a back up gift, and took it downstairs to the studio. Using it as underpainting, I started arranging, gluing and glazing... would then work on a different piece until it was dry enough to handle again and this back and forth business went on for several hours. The next day I continued the process, using various gels and mediums, some faintly tinted white in order to give a waxy look. I was working with a hairdryer at this time, trying to hurry the drying process. Something was missing, it wasn't holding together compositionally. Thinking about a Jasper Johns work I'd seen on the web earlier, I added a thin red line which made a square. It was just what the piece needed and I could call it finished... about an hour before leaving for the party.
Sam, if you're reading... now you know "the rest of the story!"