Monday, January 25, 2010

If it's worth painting, It's worth painting RED!

One of the Butterflies

by W. S. Merwin

The trouble with pleasure is the timing
it can overtake me without warning
and be gone before I know it is here
it can stand facing me unrecognized
while I am remembering somewhere else
in another age or someone not seen
for years and never to be seen again
in this world and it seems that I cherish
only now a joy I was not aware of
when it was here although it remains
out of reach and will not be caught or named
or called back and if I could make it stay
as I want to it would turn to pain.

"One of the Butterflies" by W. S. Merwin, from The Shadow of Sirius. © Copper Canyon Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission.

Isn't it so? Pleasure, it can overtake you without warning and be gone before you know it's here! I love this poem by W.S. Merwin. To admonition in beautiful music of words to "stay in the present" as much as is possible and recognize the joy of life moment by moment. Painting for me...captures moments of pleasure or contemplation.

The saying about the "color red" is a statement I have written several times inside my art sketchbooks. I am a Diane Maxey groupie! Do you know her work? She is out of Scotsdale, AZ and for many years she taught in the midwest circuit and I was able to "catch" her at least half a dozen times. If you go to her website you'll see a plethora of red red red. She loves it. When I painted "Madeline Island Ferry" I was thinking of her.

It took me about 5 layers to get that red just right and glowing. (Madleline Island is part of the Apostle Islands at the northern most border of Wisconsin in Lake Superior.) So it is that looking at this painting not only recalls the beautiful windy ferry boat ride to the island on a warm August afternoon...but my favorite watercolor teacher and the joyous hours I spent with her learning about color, shape, and composition. What an amazing teacher! If you ever have the's a great experience to paint with her.

Diane is teaching in Mrytle Beach, SC next November.


  1. Love the painting, Ginny. I also like Diane's work and am a fan of red but it can be overpowering - not so on your bench!

  2. Ginny,

    I have been following your blog for a while now, and this painting stands out to me as among the best. Glad you are having some teaching opportunities.

  3. Thanks Mary and Deb!
    I do like this painting too...but it is very realistic and sometimes I like to move off from that style. Somewhere between abstract and impressionism and realism is me...I am still working on it. Sometimes it is purely mood! For me, Mossy Cottage (former post) is better than this painting. But I think it is because it met the goals I am currently working toward...warmer darks, moody atmosphere, southern ambiance. Ferry to Madeline Island was "crisp, hard edged, bright, cheery, full of lake wind, and hard shadows". That was the goal for that painting. That was the mood I was in then!

  4. That poem okay, but this one better:

    Zibbity dibbity smack,
    I've a hunger for some Big Mac!
    French fries and a Coke.
    The piggy in the poke.
    Just throw it all in the sack!

    The Hamburglar, 2002

  5. Ginny - I think the reds are great, but I am very impressed with your lights and shadows which work so well in this painting.