Sunday, January 17, 2010
Back At It
Here I am back at it again, trying to make real a commitment I made to myself and the world, via the T. Scot Halpin Memorial Blog. Sunday night. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s real birthday. What can be said about such a man. Uncompromising. I made a commitment about two years ago to put up one piece of Scot's music and one piece of his art for one year. A little story became an intregal part of the effort--our narrative loving natures, I have observed.
But here I am less than one month shy of my fulfilling my commitment, ragged and tattered in my performance as of late, feeling overwhelmed and scratchy in my commitment. I remember this feeling once before in my life. For ten years, I kissed the sky when it came to painting. But then, after so much experience and so many refinements, I lost the joy of the thing. I started out throwing paint from buckets and ended trying to paint with a brush with six hairs. The final straw was portraits.
Bad portraits are as easy as bad poetry. I decided to create two portraits of Scot--Scot the artist and Scot the musician. I actually made Scot model for these paintings so that I would have visual references. I still have the photos from the session. I had very specific poses in mind for each identity, down to every detail of the tools he used in the pursuit of each identity. There were moments when I released myself from bounds of logic and expectation and came up with some jewelish tidbits--like Scot's printmaker hands, all abstract and blobby, with green blood veins, but perfect in its representation of Scot's own beautiful hands and wrists. I am the only "wrist person" I know. Scot's wrists were thin and graceful. Scot was a large man, but if you noticed his wrists, it was clear, he was fine boned--actually delicate in frame. It was strictly his upolstery that appeared so opulent.
Here's the deal, I still have both those portraits. One of them is a little worse for wear. I actually put my foot through the face of the musician Scot, one night during a bad fight. Unfortunately, I can recall every detail of this sad occasion. I have no doubt that this was a reaction to Scot's tendency toward the ego-driven and moody temprement of the rock star persona. Especially under certain influences, Scot could certainly could certainly inhabit that role.
What would drive an artist to drive their foot through the face represented in a portrait they had spent countless hours creating? I admit, this sadly, it was a lamentable expression of my frustration both with Scot at these moments, who any one who knew him would agree, could certainly fall prey to ego-terrorism. I am sure it was also an expression with my own frustration of being a technically unequipped painter in search of the mystery wave that is the basis of a good painting. I stopped painting after those portraits. My son was born and I dove into a whole new medium.
Back to commitment though. I did feel a deep commitment to my painting for a about ten years, but at some point I realized I was making myself do it--pumping up an inflatable image of myself that had ceased to be real. I knew this blog would be difficult, but not how difficult. I have had moments, like I did with my painting when I asked myself, why am I doing this? Why am I setting myself up for a situation that is about as much fun as a ball and chain? Well, the short answer is this. I was lucky enough that I got to keep my commitment to Scot in life, even though there were some really dark moments for us, and so in keeping, dear blogmates, I move forward this day's entry, and filling in the missing pieces as I can.