Saturday, May 21, 2011

Roll It Up

When I signed off the last blog posting, I thought I was done with the painting but for a signature.

We lived with my creation stapled to the wood board for another couple of days due to a busy work schedule, but really, more so because I wanted to coexist with the painting without fussing over it. Just as I used to walk by the raw white canvas when it was stretched in the garage, I walked by this painted version with a casual glance, at times, and a more studied gaze at others. Something was missing.

The painting celebrated Chipper's life. I felt that strongly, but it lacked finality. For those who understand the painting, there is sentiment in every brush stroke. All that sentiment needed to add up to something. It needed to culminate in the final goodbye to my beast. I consulted with friends because the words I wanted to choose for this final tribute had to be the perfect expression of my feelings behind the creation of this memorial.

B'goaguim l'Chipper: Missing you, Chipper, painted in the sky, arching off toward the edge of the canvas, exiting the scene but existing somewhere out there.

I first painted the Hebrew letters above the desert mountains in white and then over-painted the white with silver 2 times to give the letters a shimmer.

The airplane in flight at the beginning of our story (remember, we read the canvas from right to left), the bow of the John Hancock building in the middle of our story...

... and the arc of the Hebrew letters at the end of our story all lean in the same direction taking the viewer, you, me and Chipper out of the scene, off the canvas and into eternity.

The one element in the painting that did not change from the very beginning is the abstraction of heaven or atmosphere or stratosphere - however you want to think of it - at the top of the painting. I liked this area from the moment I put it down and, while I may have touched it up here and there, it remains pretty much the same since those first strokes. It reminds me of William Blake.

Zeke helped me remove the canvases from the board and lay them flat. The last thing I had to do that involved paint was sign the painting. 

There. Finished.

All along I had planned to unite the two canvases by lacing cord through grommets, sort of like a shoelace. Some of this was out of necessity (the art store had only two remnants instead of one long canvas, so I was being inventive), and some of it was because the art festival where this piece will be exhibited has a stated theme this year - Point of Contact - or something like that. It did nothing to inspire me. But, should someone ask, "where is the point of contact in your painting?" it will be pretty obvious - it's in the lacing together of the two canvases. Works for me.

This next photo shows the lacing, however this is not the pattern of lacing I will use when the painting is displayed. Because it was difficult to reach behind the painting while it was pinned to the board, I just looped the cord through the grommets for effect. When the painting is displayed on the fence, it will be easier for me to reach behind and get a more attractive lacing pattern. But here's the idea...

My painting, entitled "Bringing You Home," is now complete and ready for its journey. My bags are packed and the painting is rolled and boxed up for the flight. Zeke even crafted a way for me to carry the box since I have to transport it from the airport to the train and from the train to the hotel in Israel. It's a very Zeke-like solution.

The last thing to do now is enjoy the late afternoon and evening with Zeke. That's always easy to do, but tonight it has more meaning. Tomorrow when we part at the airport, it will be like old times - Zeke back to his "bachelor ways" (yes, the refrigerator already contains a few of his old favorites and stand-bys) and me with the beast. Chipper is here, in the necklace around my neck, close to my heart.

Yes, that really is my chest - I never knew it could look so large. Yet another one of Zeke's talents.
I thought this might be the last blog entry because it is the end of the journey. I have conquered the canvas. Not only have I conquered it, I have enjoyed every moment of the process. I have pushed myself outside of my comfort-zone in terms of the medium I used, the size of the painting and even the subject matter. Every time I thought, "I can't do that," I pushed a little bit and found that yes, I can do that. I like to think that this is yet another gift Chipper has given me by being in my life. 

In many respects, the journey is just beginning because yes, I can do that.

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