A Permanent Pause

A Permanent Pause


Drybrush study, first stage.

An oxymoron? Yes, how can a pause be permanent? Or in musical terms, perhaps its like a fermata — a note sustained — or the Italian lunga pausa, the long pause.

My intention in this small watercolor painting was to cover the whole paper. An idea for a small part to play in a larger painting. After bringing it to this stage, I stepped back to study it on the easel and consider my next move.  And then I paused.

Potential paintings are like dust motes floating in sunbeams. Elusive, indistinct images drifting in and out of the light. Beautiful paintings that may never be until brush touches canvas.

Because you can’t plant a field by turning it over in your mind, nor can I process an idea until I see visible evidence of it.

I’ve learned over the years the value of making studies before enthusiastically charging into a large work, naively thinking I will figure it out as I go along. Maybe its because I might have less years before than behind me and want to know the general direction I’m headed. Don’t want to waste time, spending weeks on a painting, than realizing, the brilliant adrenaline fueled idea I began with has lost its luster.

Its a fascinating process — creative work. Beginning with an idea, imagining the finished work, then in its manifestation, often becoming entirely something else. Something more beautiful than we imagined. They mystery of creation is spellbinding.

Expect to see more studies.

Meanwhile, this one rests on my easel . . . the long pause . . .

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