Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Week of Painting

Cloud Spinner by J. Binford-Bell
29 x 20 Mixed Media on Canvas $1300

I realized when I set down to write this weekly blog that it has been more than a week since I wrote a blog for here. It raises the question of what have I been doing with my life lately. Painting. Cloud Spinner was at last completed this week though I will always think of it as January's painting. Some compositions just take longer. And it was not just the detail in Cloud Spinner which ate up time but that the image was not totally formed in my mind, but seemed to develop through the month.

Sacrifice, however, was begun this week and will probably be finished today. I had been giving half my mind to it while finishing Cloud Spinner. The photo below is of it not totally finished but close. It seemed to almost jump onto the canvas. Especially the Raven in the opening for the celestial window. Through the drawing and painting of Sacrifice that window was empty. There is empty as nothing but sky and empty as there should be something other than just sky.

Almost finished Sacrifice
36 x 21 mixed media
Sacrifice is based on the ruins of Las Mesitas San Isadore Church. It has no roof and no windows. When I first discovered it on a photographic expedition with my friend during a fantastic aspen fall I took more pictures of it than aspens I think. There is something haunting about it. Church ruins often make me wish to see it as it was before it fell into disrepair. San Isadore did not.

Obviously the Catholic Church had been "retired" and striped of its bells and its windows and even it roof but to me it looked more whole as it was. It seemed to be a gateway to another world. Or gateways. So many openings to beyond it. I love the photographs I created in my dry darkroom but they are also a bit empty like that celestial window before the Raven flew in.

Yes, I think the Raven put himself there. So us artists are a bit crazy? But I was at the stage of waiting for the paint to dry (with oil sticks that is necessary before adding pen and ink details) and when away from my studio I kept seeing a Raven in the painting. Maybe on top of the wall? But after a trip to Taos yesterday to swim laps in the indoor pool I knew it had to be the window. And it had to be the Raven I met at the Petrified Forest with the shiny rock in its beak. I did mention us artists are crazy, didn't I?

The Raven is perfect because he brings the beliefs of the native peoples into the painting. They that sacrificed in the building of the churches to the will of Spanish masters and priests.

Have already walked into the studio this morning and added some detail work to the glow of the candles. And my mind has already been working on my next painting.

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