Paint! Red paint! Red, melting, honey-scented wax on a hot sheet of metal, on a smooth sheet of wood, on a soft goat-hair brush. Could anything be more delicious?
The images above are wildly in-progress. I have been enticed to make them as companions to a set of six white paintings I made a couple of years ago. Ever since I finished those spacious & restrained works, I knew there would be a set of red ones to accompany them & complete the cycle, but until now, I didn't have Red firmly, deliciously enough in the body to approach that project. Today, things are moving.
I show up at the local hardware store with my intricate map of how to chop a 4x8' sheet of plywood into 48 bits. It's worked for me before, twice, on occasions when I needed a big store of panels for teaching & for my own work. My experience as a lady-artist has been: if I do my math right, and am sure of what I am asking for, the Hardware Guardians will smile on even the most baroque plan. This time, though, I don't really need the 48 bits: just the 6 panels for Red. So the Hardware Guardians, who don't mess around, aren't budging: 3/4" birch ply comes in full sheets, period. OK. Also, Larry the Saw Master is not at all enthused about my map. Taking stock, sniffing around the saw room, I see a part-sheet of something leaning against the wall. How about this? Oh, that? That's Red Oak. I thought you wanted White Birch. Nope. No, as it turns out, I want Red Oak. By the square foot. Right now.
Larry asks me about what I'm going to be doing with the wood. I tell him a bit, about the wax, and the heat & color. He's a real craftsman, so he gets it, but he's also honor-bound to poke some fun. You went to school for this? Larry asks, smiling from behind his Odysseus eyes. Yes. Luckily, it wasn't so expensive. What a lie! What a truth! $33.76 later, with Larry's able help, I am off to the studio, heart brimming.
Mad love always,
PS: Thanks, Himalayan Art Resources, for the image below, of Red Kurukulla - the goddess who turns the energy of desire towards enlightenment. You're the best, and so is She, and so is Larry, and so am I, and so are we all.
Julie Püttgen is an artist and meditation teacher.
108 Names of now