in rural Paris, Iowa, and Wordpress

Work in Progress

Have you ever been in this position? Somebody asks you the simple question, “Whatcha been doin’?” You don’t want to tell them what you have been doing. Not that you have been doing anything cruel or perverted. You simply do not want to go to the effort of explaining what you have been doing. So you say you have been doing some innocuous thing. You lie in other words.

So it is with this current project of mine now. The genesis of it was years and years ago in the main room of the old university art museum, the art museum that flooded in 2008. That main room was where the large paintings were hung. There were two or three of Mark Rothko’s color field paintings, a couple Barnett Newman paintings as I recall, and one Jackson Pollock. Large stuff.

Mural, 1943
Mural, 1943
95 5/8 x 237 3/4 in. (242.9 x 603.9 cm)

That particular Jackson Pollock painting had been donated to the university by Peggy Guggenheim. It had previously hung in the foyer of her own residence in New York City for years and years, and it was a dandy.

It’s a stampede… [of] every animal in the American West, cows and horses and antelopes and buffaloes. Everything is charging across that goddamn surface. —Jackson Pollock

That does not necessarily capture my impression of the painting, but I will say this. That painting was mesmerizing. I could stand in front of it and slowly get lost in it. Later, I happened upon a little documentary clip showing Jackson Pollock at work. It so happens that this very same clip is posted on youtube now:

So it was that I started to toy now and again with the idea of trying to do my own drip painting, or more properly speaking, “action painting.” Not that I expected to produce anything spectacular. Rather, I simply wanted to know how it felt as one is making such a thing. When I recently stumbled upon a large remnant piece of Masonite here on the farm, I decided that finally, finally, finally, I was going to get after this project.

Central Section

Here is where we are so far. This is a small section of the thing. And take it easy on me. This is only my first shot at the genre after all.

After putting three coats of primer on the Masonite and a coat of white paint, I made my first splatters with a color called “kona brown.” I shall follow up with some navy blue and then crowne hill yellow, a kind of yellow that the Mexican people would love. We shall see how all that looks then and go from there.

Right Section

I am dissatisfied with this section of the piece. It was a mistake. But who knows? It might turn out to be the central aspect of the whole deal.

I would not bother you with all this blather about the project were it not for the brilliant idea that came to me while I was working on it. That brilliant idea has to do with the ultimate use to which I shall put the piece should it turn out decently at all. More about that later. In the meantime if someone asks me, “Whatcha been doin’?,” I can refer them to this blog entry and tell them to get back to me with their questions later.

6 Responses to “Work in Progress”

  1. calitexan1949

    R&R Brass, Good luck with that “action painting” stuff. It’s harder than it looks. I once did a Jackson Pollack thing with the bathroom floor in my loft in downtown LA. Started around 9:00am thinking I’d be done by 10:00 and around noon my landlord stopped by to see if I wanted to go out for lunch… we both had a good laugh about it, and when we got back to the loft, I picked it up again and didn’t finish until around 9:00 that night. I redid it three times over the next fifteen years and every damn time it took me at least eight hours. James

    Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2014 21:47:11 +0000 To: jmac725@hotmail.com

    Reply
    • StephenBrassawe

      So right, James. This thing is taking me days. It has not taken a lot of thought up to this point, but now things are getting complicated. Not easy for sure.

      Reply
  2. Angeline M

    I won’t be hard on you at all. So far so good in my eyes. I really look forward to the addition of Crowne Hill Yellow. This has to be a very satisfying endeavor.

    Reply

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