Day Eleven Brings a Teachable Moment or Two

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Day Eleven is quiet, a gray day with a dusting of snow on the ground. Annie Taylor Gray drops by to pick up a sign Dan made for her Chamber of Commerce table at Winterfest.

I toy with the horse painting, darkening here, lightening there. I realize the bay horse is missing half his neck, so I paint it in.

I read an email from a friend in Washington. Donald Trump is being inaugurated. There was a huge demonstration in the streets. Protesters smashed windows and riot police used pepper spray on them, the story goes. “Donald Trump is president,” I say to Oscar.

“Well, here goes.”

Katy Helman sees the lights are on in the gallery and comes in to see how Oscar survived his first encounter with pickleball last night. She exclaims over his painting, a mélange of color and maritime images. “Oscar, you’re going wild.” He says it was time to do something different.

Katy goes over to the wall of paintings and slips into Teacher Mode. She looks at my Cadillac Mountain paintings – all five of them.

Cartoony

“Explain to me which ones you did and why,” she says. I tell her the first one was too stiff, so I tried to paint one in 30 minutes, then I did another, and another. She points to a figure in one of them and cautions me against making it too cartoony.

Day Eleven. Trite?

I point to a painting I made up of a man walking a dog in Acadia National Park. “This one I think is trite. I think it’s the red and blue,” I say. “I’m thinking about changing his shirt to white.”

Katy says no,  it’s right in the middle of the painting. “Maybe you could dull it with some orange.”

That triangular rock is trouble.

I point to the lighthouse painting. “I gotta get rid of this rock in the middle. Maybe make it smaller, lighten it.” Katy agrees.

She stands back. “You paint a lot with pink and green.”

“It’s because I love cerulean,” I say. “I mix it with the cadmiums a lot, red and yellow.”

We all have our favorites, she says.

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