I had trouble falling asleep as I’m wont to do the night before a full moon or two. Something about the pull of gravity I suspect. I fell asleep finally about 3 am which is not that unusual as I frequently work until past midnight or 2 am. I woke up at 6 am from a vivid dream, or at least I could recall it.
There was a group of us artists. We were loosely acquainted as if we had taken painting classes with the same instructors over the years. In fact one was hanging out with a bunch of his students who all had home made easels from some supply store.
We were in this place, a small old community or town near a fresh water river or a tidal narrows with a current. The buildings were historical and charming but way past their heyday juxtaposed with newer more modern technology like the automobile. Charming, nonetheless.
There was an old building that had been a grand dame or hotel or who knows, a house of ill repute, but on the historic register, and like some old wooden roller coaster amusement park, it had suffered a fire, maybe an elevator fire that had been extinguished but the structure and most of the interior was intact.
Someone was doing some kind of art community project out of it and artists had been juried into the project. Artists were in motion around town buying materials from the supply store to build things like easels and to procure paint, etc. I would pass them coming this way or going that and they were showing me their deals with their purchases and gesticulating and explanations. I would listen intently with no attachment to whatever scaffolding or device that they had planned, but clearly they had put a lot of energy and thought into it and for savings.
We had to paint something in the elevator shaft, some kind of story like an interior mural. Like any dream there was weird shit too like having to grab a tarp and swim down this river a piece carrying it and worrying it would pull me under. And there was the part about a bunch of us artists in a long wooden boat like an old fishing boat pushing it across the grass and down a steep embankment into the water. “Hold On!” We were headed to the supply store maybe. On a mission.
Then there was the bit about walking down a road to a buzz of activity about some National foot race that was about to go down with organizers flitting about and shoving small corrugated plastic placards onto tomato wire frames and sticking them into the ground. Everyone was wearing polyester uniforms like white spanks and bicycle shirts with light red and blue racing stripes on the arms and shoulders. Someone’s idea of theme.
Oh and the guy trying to flip around the car lift jukebox device with multiple car sized platforms that was like 3 story’s tall so it would go up in a certain direction. He was barking orders and way stressed out like he was working for the man and on a deadline. I’m like what difference does it make the thing’s motors rotate in either direction. Controllers! He was being right about it, though.
I remember being in one of the rooms in the old building with a few of my painted canvas and someone asking me to show them my works. The man had some decision responsibility about who would paint what or was the producer, and of course, all of my canvas were just loosely sketched or under performed in some way the belied my true ability, in my disappointed opinion.
The person was deciding who would paint the foot tall or so golden egg of the story. I had visions of realism and little details that would make the dull yellow white and purple paint tints sing like the sun reflecting off windshields driving down the highway in the late afternoon. The sun always seems so bright on hot days.
I was walking down a hall and someone was glazing a second coat of cobalt blue over an underpainting where the figures were all white line work like a bistré method or something. The effect grand and gorgeous. I thought how creative and cool.
I woke up and went to pee and burn a cigarette and thought about the painting workshop going on down at Tilghman Island this weekend. The weather is perfect in the 70’s after weeks of August rain, damp, and 90 degree humidity. I thought about painting a big ol’ nocturne; because, it’s a blue moon and I imagined how you do… being in dogwood harbor with the headlamp on and the skipjacks at night. You gotta be facing east to catch it in the moonrise like lovers moon over Walnut Point. Wondering if there will be any other pole lights to paint and how to leave out a circle for the lights like Carl Metzke says, or what color will I use for the night sky… ultramarine blue and orange or burnt Sienna like Sorolla might, or Pthalo green and transparent red oxide, or some inky mix of dioxazine purple and chrome oxide green for the olive dark water. I thought about painting a wash with real turpentine outdoors and maybe adding some oil to the mud in the bottom of my turps can to mix the dull grays of the night. Developing the painting loosely and covering the whole canvas with large brushes quickly and then developing the effect of light on the scene slowly adding details and opaque passages of paint last.
I wondered if I had the stamina to work all day and then drive the bay bridge this evening laden with painting supplies and which easel should I bring. Could I pull off the silvery moon bokeh with a blurry spot and would it be pale greenish with a hint of yellow and white opaque hard edge like the golden egg.