The other day I propped up an unfinished canvas on the easel and decided to start a painting over it without giving the whole endeavor much thought. You never know, I said to myself.
The clown standing in the corner would do for a subject. The clown was an impulse purchase from the local CVS. It was a Halloween “greeter” standing three feet tall. If you press the button on its wrist it begins to reach out its arms, swivels its head and the recording starts. The eyes flash bright red. With the head swiveling and the arms reaching, it plays carousel music and sings out “Welcome to the Halloween Circus! I can make you HAAAPPY! I can make you SAAAADDD! Ha, ha, ha, HA, ha!”
I picked him up and pressed the button. The head swiveled. The arms reached. The eyes flashed red…..the carousel music began. “Welcome to the Halloweee……” it sang before I pressed the button again, abruptly cutting it off. Pleased that the head stopped, cocked at an interesting slant for a pose; I stood him up on a cardboard box near the easel.
I got to work with a beat up paintbrush, drawing over the unfinished canvas — a mostly grey underpainting — with white paint. When the drawing was finished, I squeezed red, yellow, blue, and burnt umber blobs of paint out onto a palette. For better and faster coverage, I squeezed some of the paint directly on the canvas blending some with a paper towel and picking up smaller blobs with the brush, transferring them to other areas of the painting. There was a haphazard mess on the palette as I mentally juggled painting ideas and techniques. From the palette to the canvas, a tap here, swipe there…..think, blend, paint, think, more paint, move the brush…..decide……not there, here and lower, blend that….cover this…
My clown seems to want to cut an imposing figure, but he’s been perched rather precariously on the cardboard box and a fan has been blowing the hair up past his hears. He’s standing there looking a bit as if he’s swaying in the wind and not too sure of himself. A suitor come calling perhaps, for his lady clown love. For that reason, I name the painting “The Suitor. ” The painting is 24″ x 30″ inches, acrylic on canvas.