Keeping me busy for the past couple of weeks: marbles on a crumpled sheet of foil. I had originally planned to paint marbles on a mirror, but obviously that was an exercise in futility as the marbles wouldn't stop rolling around. I thought the foil was a nice compromise: it was still mirror-like, but I was able to make little nests for each marble. The reflections were a lot more interesting than those on a flat mirror, and, of course, tougher to paint.
This painting is as large as I can go at 21"x29", and the individual marbles were so big that Jeff and I started to refer to them as planets. (There are indeed nine of them if you still count Pluto, and how can you not?) So instead of calling this Marbles and Foil, Jeff suggested I title it Planets and Foil. Good idea, Jeff!
Painting at the speed of one marble per day, I gloried in the weirdness of the marbles'/planets' swirls and sparkly bits. Jeff's daughter let me use some of her marbles for this, including the one I figured was Jupiter, the large orange and purple marble on the left side. This had an unusually reflective, almost metallic surface and took two and a half days to finish.
The mighty red one reminded me of a sneering Daffy Duck's beak. I started finding all kinds of things that reminded me of other things as I worked. You find yourself doing this when you stare at a single marble all day long.
I love this painting a lot, although it took some time before I felt like I really had something here. I finished all of the marbles first, and they seemed kind of flat until I added the foil. Once I painted the foil section directly to the right of the yellow marble and the hazy background shapes, the picture suddenly had some depth and different levels. The painting quickly went from ho-hum to(I think) one of the best paintings I've ever created.
A few days ago I used an iPhone photo of this painting to illustrate a blog post for my upcoming show. The great and powerful Roger Ebert tweeted about that post. As is always the case when he does something like that, new people came out of the woodwork and visited my blog, including my new friend Bob from Nashville. From here he landed on my art website, bought a painting, and in the email volley that followed, he bought Planets and Foil and commissioned me to paint a watercolor of his sailboat. Pretty sweet deal! I asked Roger what kind of percentage he expected to earn from this big windfall, and he said that he wanted Jeff and me to attend Ebertfest next month, kindly providing us with passes. Fantastic! Jeff is ecstatic that one of the movies is Joe Vs. the Volcano. I'm loving the fact that Patton Oswald volunteered to introduce and discuss Kind Hearts and Coronets the night before the festival proper begins. "What a mensch," said Roger of Patton.
You can buy prints of Planets and Foil (any size you like, from wee to mural) by clicking here.
In case you missed the post about my show in Jacksonville, Illinois, try this.
If you like to click bossy little banners, here you go!
And finally, please send good healing vibes to our sweet little cat Hypatia, a.k.a. Pache, a.k.a. Pache-Pache, seen here during a goofier time when she was wearing her "too-pay." We took her to the vet a while back because she had a nasty cold, and as her doctor was checking Pache out, she discovered two badly infected molars and many missing teeth. She told us that dental problems like this were surprisingly common with cats and that the molars were probably causing her pain and would have to come out.
After her cold was over, we took Pache back to have her dental work taken care of yesterday, and while she was "under" the vet noticed bad problems with the rest of her teeth. They all had to go! Poor baby Pache-Pache has no teeth now! We brought her home this morning, and after some understandable, brief freakouts with the other cats and an entire afternoon spent napping by a sunny window, she seems better. She's curled up next to me right now, enjoying the warm breeze of my laptop's fan. Pache's doctor said that she should still be able to eat with her Muppet-like mouth--plenty of cats do it. Still, what an ordeal for our tiny cross-eyed girl! I feel so bad for her!
Jeff thinks she looks like the Abominable Snowman.
Sigh. Here's the bossy banner one more time.