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Monday
Apr152019

How to make a painting 

I start by goofing around with shadows, the one I'm making and the one that's made naturally by the light coming through the window.

Then I start thinking of the things that don't mean anything to me anymore. Should I make a list of them? And if I make a list where should I start?

I've just gone through a phase where I go around looking at everyone as a 'circle'. This followed a long period in which I saw almost everyone as an animal--a wild boar, an armadillo, a racoon, an elephant and so on. I couldn't seem to shake it, seeing people this way, nor could I shake the sadness I felt for the animal having to be seen as a human being: I felt as if I was putting them in some sort of jail. 

My left hip seems tired of its life. I try talking to it like a basketball coach might talk to a team at halftime that's behind by 20 points, replacing the sound of tough love with the sound of gentle urgency.

I wish there were more people like my sons in the world. It would be a better world if there were. I also wish I was more interested in myself as a Muse, but I'm not: I don't like to be looked at, thought about, fussed over.

It surprises me to see I've written on a piece of scratch paper the words, Army, Language, Faith, noting these words are the slogan for the re-election campaign of Petro Poroshenko, the President of the Ukraine. What was it about this slogan that made he write it down? I can't remember.

Color is the great miracle of sight. Each color is a miracle, as are their names--ivory black, translucent white, portrait pink, cadmium yellow, brilliant blue, buff, middle green...I'm sure I read somewhere that every color is expressed somewhere in the planetary spheres. There may not be enough words for all the colors there are. Color may be as infinite as numbers are infinite.

Getting ready to take a long trip I begin to consider books I'd like to take along. As I'm travelling in a small RV I need to be thoughtful of space, and books take up space. I remember a Swedish friend who'd rip the pages out of a book and throw them away once she'd finished reading them. But she read paperbacks, mostly murder mysteries, disposable literature she called it. I don't read this way and I always have three books going, a book of poems, a novel, and non-fiction. I read a little of each every day, less and less than I once read but at least a little.

Often by the end of the day I'm tired. But what am I tired of? Could I be tired of my happiness? It's possible I suppose. Tired of being happy I go to bed.

In bed I come across this in the notebook I keep in the bedside table--"It does a man good to turn himself inside out once in awhile: to sort of turn the tables on himself: to look at himself through others eyes--especially skeptical eyes, if he can. It takes a good deal of resolution to do it: yet it should be done--" Walt Whitman.

The next painting, "Skyline of American Literature," is a portrait of downtown, any downtown, San Francisco I suppose, as a series of books I've written, both under my own name and a pseudonym or two. 


Petite Mondrians, a series of small paintings, collection of the author, 2019.

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