It took a while for Olivia to figure out what to do with these silky crayon markers that she got for her first birthday. After she showed interest in drawing with a pen in one of my notebooks, I decided to get them out. Previously she was only interested in taking the caps off of them all and pushing them around on the floor.
While on vacation I began to think that Olivia has grown so much mentally that she might be able to begin sitting for me for longer periods of time like she did before she began to sit up or walk. We were back from the States only a couple of days when I put her on the bed with an unopened box of toothpaste. It took her long enough to open that box that I was able to paint her, and when she stood up, she knew what "sit down" meant and humored my requests. Didn't take very long, this one. Just long enough.
Maurice Logan was a member of the Society of Six, a group of San Francisco artists who made a point of color, painting small and fast to capture the world surrounding the Bay in the early 20th century. Flipping through a book on this group on the Society of Six, my brother pointed out a painting made in Point Richmond a century ago when it was the end of the line for passenger trains coming to San Francisco. I completed a small group of paintings on the hills there in 2013 (right painting) and visited the area again in 2014 and then just a few weeks ago. No paintings. Maybe on my next return trip.
Several Society of Six paintings at the Museum of California in Oakland including this one. It's a great painting to study. I figure Gile went back to it and liked the changes in color in those hill shadows and repainted them from pink to teal. But who knows.
This painting hangs in my parent's home, about an hour's drive from where it was painted, at the top of Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas. I have a similar one on my wall here in Chongqing, a painting up on Highway 7 near Jasper. I think a lot about these paintings now. I had wished to complete a series of these overlook paintings, memories of Arkansas. Maybe one day I will.
I left this canvas at my parent's home during our 2014 visit. The canvas was meant for another Highway 7 painting that year, but poor weather squeezed out our time so that the painting was never started. My plan was to drive it up onto Petit Jean Mountain this year to paint a bend in the Arkansas river as it cut through that section of the Arkansas river valley. I found, however, that it wouldn't fit in my father's Honda Civic, which meant it wasn't going to be an outdoor painting unless it was painted in the neighborhood. As the last week of our stay began, I found myself glancing at the canvas there on the back patio. With each glance, I saw a yellow sock-like shape in the upper left-hand corner, though I resisted any thought of starting an abstract painting. A few days passed and then, when Olivia and her mother were sleeping and the house was quiet, I went out into the afternoon heat and began applying paint, starting with the yellow shape. The painting progressed until the sun was beginning to recede in the pines behind the house--until it was complete. Not deep, just beautiful.
It's been almost a year since this photo was taken. I can't remember being there in the Arkansas Arts Center, looking at Cezanne paintings, listening to Olivia screeching, fascinated by her echo. She's all grown up now...Two! Now she doodles or watches as I paint her, and then points and says "Baby!"