Posted: August 11, 2012 in painting adventures
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“No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.” John Ruskin

Woman and Fish 8, Charcoal and Conté crayon on gessoed paper, 36×51 cm (14×20)


Swim, swim, swim. The Women and Fish continue, up to number 8 now as I explore melding the concept of a woman’s emotion and concept of the fluid energy of goldfish.  It seems to be right. Not being a realist, the word “concept” defines the ongoing exploration without locking it into a genre. Thought I was finished with my women but perhaps I just needed to escape from them for a while and find another path to enable a return. Works in Blue opened that door.

It’s a few years now, and the faces have change, the emotions are stronger, the feelings more solidified.  Being a water sign it is rather appropriate for me to swim around in this genetic memory pond of how we once were, living in a liquid realm. I am working with soft charcoal and Conté crayon, hard and chalk-like, it feels good on my fingers as I blend the colors.  I have painted the paper first with a thin wash of burnt sienna and then applied a thin coat of gesso.  Once dry a light second coat of gesso is applied with a sheet rock knife to give a bit of texture and allow some of the underlying soft color to come though.

Swimming back to water again, looking at a rather simplistic comparison. The dangers here on dry land are probably worse than when we were aquatic. Then we swam in large groups for protection, death, when it came, was quick and I am sure quite painless.  Now we walk pretty much alone or with small groups who may or may not protect us depending on their state of mind; and real or imagined death can linger in our body, mind and souls for years.

When I was a child you could not keep me out of the water. In the sprinklers, in a pool, on the beach, on a boat, in the ocean, in a pond, swinging off trees into a stream with deep pools, sailing around the world, living on an island, always being, breathing, near water, absorbing the great kinetic energy.

Then I got married and to this day, with a few exceptions, I live in the high desert. A very passive energy; everything moving forward slowly with measured pace, definition, reflection and determination. It was only then, when I came to this land, that I really began to paint.

Perhaps becoming a serious painter required me to be more introspective, to delve down deep into the earth of my being and draw forth the remembered energy of water onto a dry land.  Hummmm…food for later thought. Perhaps working on these drawings is allowing me to feel the moist wind of the ocean once more and swim in the memory of that fluid energy.

Its fluid enough that my gallery ( having seen the first 5 drawings, has offered to put them in another 2-person show in February. I, of course, said Whoo Hoo! and Yes!  So I will continue until the pond is drained, then we will choose the best of the lot and ready them for a show.

Do not misunderstand; I do love it here, great depth of beauty everywhere, the big sky, the quiet, the magnificent light.  If there were a running steam outside my door, actual “live water” as they say, it would be perfect!

In the meantime I will just keep swimming in my mind and on paper.



  1. Well done, C! Yes, energy differs on land and sea. And those who tend toward dampness themselves (phlegm, cysts, candida) do not do well in damp environments (even basements). The desert is very good for them. Diana


  2. jav3d says:

    Wow! What incredible composition. Superb!


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