When one is accustomed to watercolor painting, experimenting with oil paints is initially frustrating. There are a lot of differences and one is that it’s a whole lot messier. There must be a method to your madness too, or the colors will quickly become muddy from careless mixing and intermingling of brushes. I set myself up with some Gamblin oil paints, which came with a handy 6″ x 12″ wooden panel. I used this panel as my first surface (seen below). It’s easy to see how (and why) one could spend a lifetime trying to master this. As with watercolor, however, there is a difference between somewhat heavy-handed applications of paint, and a lighter hand. It’s all going to require a lot more experimenting…
Illustration: “Canadian Geese on a Fountain”, Oil on 6″ x12″ panel by Black Elephant Blog author (2017)
As to this image, it sprang to mind when I faced off with the blank wooden panel. While out taking a walk recently, I noticed that a nearby fountain is currently undergoing maintenance and our ubiquitous Canadian geese were resting on it in the middle of the lake. This became my subject. But remembering what Canadian geese look like proved harder than it should be–given that there are so many in this area that groups of them waddle through parking lots in search of food. So I went out and looked at them again!
Illustration: Trying to make the Canadian geese more realistic!
A “touch up” later and the whole thing got still more complicated; (maybe this is like revising an already unacceptable healthcare bill). When I start over next time, I will try to stick with simple shapes, and see what happens. Anyway, this is welcome distraction from the just-announced “healthcare” bill which, if passed, will cause immense damage to this country, apparently intentionally so!
A brief break from the easel to check the news online… and what do I see? Video clips of U.S. Capitol Police trying to carry elderly and apparently disabled people out of the halls of the U.S. Capitol… This is not very positive imagery for the erstwhile “leader of the free world” clearly. Evidently these people had gathered there at considerable personal effort, in wheelchairs and on canes, to protest the secretly cobbled-together “healthcare” bill that will throw all of them out onto the street. Here they were being picked up off the floor to be carried out to the street…how symbolic of the new government approach to people in need. These are exactly the type of people who will be harmed the most if this bill passes, as major insurances companies warned again just today: The proposed bill will most hurt “74 million low-income, disabled and elderly Americans whose health care coverage through Medicaid” depends on Congress’s next moves. Right now, their obvious preferred option is to make the rich richer, and let the less fortunate fall through the widening cracks, come what may… What kind of policy-maker thinks this way?
Ironic that Canadian geese must have determined this is a better place to live when, at least for American people (except for the famous “1 %”), it will become much more difficult in the U.S. in the years ahead. That is, unless we suddenly see an outbreak of forward-thinking readiness to consider the public good among the people’s elected representatives–thinking that is not much in evidence, tragically. They cannot connect the dots between the public good and national and global security, obviously.
As I turn back to the easel, I think about what I just saw: U.S. Senators are embracing a bill that the U.S. President has described as “mean” even as he urges them to pass it without delay. It’s not making America great apparently that is the goal, but making America “mean”? How could this sort of thinking possibly prepare this great nation for the unprecedented challenges rushing headlong at us, irrespective of our political leanings, in the years just ahead? Clearly making sense of the news is harder than painting in oils. I’ll stick with the task at hand…for now.