December 30th, 2014

dance hall

Snow and a handful of Will-o-the-Wisps

It's snowing here in Berlin today. Last winter we hardly got any snow at all, so a little snow is very welcome. It feels cozy to be inside watching it come down.

Since returning from Munich I've been working in my studio on a new painting, Experiments and Observations on Different Types of Air, and of course I feel conflicted about it.

On the one hand I love it. And on the other hand I hate it.

The bottles look all wrong to me. The glowing wisp in the scientist's hand looks bland, like an afterthough. The colors are flat and at the same time obnoxious. I need to find a way to add some depth. Of course, then I run the risk of overworking it if I futz around too much, although that's never stopped me before.


I feel like I should explain the piece, because it's a little random. The name 'Experiments and Observations on Different Types of Air' comes from the title of a book written by Joseph Priestly (1733–1804), who is credited with the discovery of oxygen. What I find most interesting about his study of air, however, is the work he did trying to explain the Will-o-the-Wisp phenomenon. And so in this painting I have him doing experiments on Will-o-the-Wisps, or what I imagine Will-o-the-Wisps to look like, although I don't think it comes across very well, although maybe it doesn't have to, and yes, this is a run on sentence. So there you have it.

I am glad to see this year wind down and come to an end. It was difficult, lonely and frustrating, especially the latter half, when trying to imagine the future was like looking into a gaping black hole. I can't see what 2015 has to bring either, but hopefully it will have something better to offer, maybe a silver lining. Life can't be bad all the time, there have to be pockets of happiness thrown in from time to time, right?

Wow, the snow is really pretty.
dance hall

Depth perception

I added some shadow to the table and boxes, and tidied up another glass canister. Just one more canister to go... the one that's sitting on the table. Then it's on to building up mor dimension on the figure – he's little more than an outline at present. I also did a million little things not worth mentioning – little dabs here and there – that probably only I would ever notice, but which I think make for a better piece overall. Feeling a little better about the whole thing.