Man, I've been in a truly nasty funk since the last post. Yes, a funk for a solid week. Everything got turned on its head: I'd get up and try to work on the painting of Khnum for a few hours, only to be wishing to be anywhere but standing in front of this *^@!*%^ painting that isn't cooperating. By six p.m., I'd be dozing off in front of the TV, only to be raring to go back to the studio at two a.m. or three. I kept arguing with...Khnum? Myself? The Keebler Elf? that wouldn't accomplish much since there isn't any power down there at the moment and I absolutely refused to try painting by lantern light. Then, the insistent feeling to get myself to the studio would stay until I was just too exhausted to do anything else collapse in bed so I could oversleep and start all over again the next day. I did try to write about what was going on but the little bit that made into pixel form sounded like so much shiny, patent bullshit - which didn't help things any. I just could not figure out what the heck was going on. (Yeah, I know...I never said I was brilliant.)
Yes, people, I was getting really cranky. Today, I decided to get away from the whole sorry mess. My mom came by and we ended up leaving the state (that sounds sort of impressive until you realize the Kentucky state line is only about twenty or so minutes away.) I got to walk a little bit along the creek in the Franklin city park. The water was still way up but the thunderstorms over the weekend washed all kinds of mussel shells on shore - there were almost as many of them as rocks. I picked up a few, as well as a small bone I found. It looks like part of an animal skull. I started feeling almost normal after that. I really felt normal when we got back to Portland and discovered the library had a ton of sci-fi books for a quarter each. I walked away with Heinlein, McCaffrey and I don't remember what else.
Anyway, the bad thing about all this funk is most of it could have been avoided if I only listened and actually gone to the studio. I went down there tonight to feed Toby (who knew he'd become a studio/cemetery cat? That's my boy.) I lit a candle so I could see his bowl and turned around to see the shelf along the wall in the back of the studio. There it was - the answer why the painting wasn't working.
All this week, I'd been trying to make this painting exactly what it shouldn't be: a bright, shiny Ode to All Things Sacred and Boring. "Behold! Bright and Shiny Lord Khnum is forming another worthy soul on his wheel! See? It's sacred! It's bright! It's colorful!" It's sickening.
Standing there, watching the shadows flicker around the shelf, I realized this painting needs to be much, much darker. The stories say Khnum created himself before forming an egg that hatched the sun and earth. He then went on to form all other life. That's where this painting wants to go: Khnum, alone in the dark (except for a fire somewhere out of the frame), sitting at his potting wheel. Behind him, a suggestion of shelves lined with greenware - the egg, the gods, humans, etc. - waiting to be dry enough to go into the kiln.
Yeah, I like that...and it only took a week of misery for me to figure it out.