A Swell Field of Rye

Okay, so here’s a new painting. It’s called. Don’t Wait Up. It’s only 12 x 12 inches. (Oil on birch panel.)


But I haven’t been painting. I finished that like two weeks ago. Or something like that. I started it in the summer, if you can believe it.

I’ve been inundated with books. That chapbook. Houses. Then the one I’m working on now: Carol Es une Monographie de Lignes, which has become a lot more work than I had originally planned.

I originally planned 12 drawings for the first chapter, 29 for the second, eight for the third, and 10 for the fourth. That’s not the case at all anymore. I already have 16 and going for the first,  35 for the second, and hopefully I won’t go over on the last two. I may have to edit.

The thing is, I haven’t drawn all the drawings yet. I start them in pencil, then I go over them in black ink, then I try as hard as possible to erase whatever pencil is still there (but that’s impossible). Then, I have to scan them in and bring em into Photoshop, bring them up to 400% and go over every millimeter to make sure there are no spots, hairs, or light pencil marks on them. Whew!

Many of you Photoshop geeks probably think I should just use the magic wand on them, but as you know, that fucks up the edges of the natural line and makes them weird. I don’t like how that magic wand handles that, even if I contract them by 1 pixel, so I don’t like to use it. So there. Bleh.

So… I do it the hard way and go over it with my eye, and, very carefully, take a paintbrush and white out the specs of dust, and NO, I don’t have one of those mouse pen tablets. I do it with a plain old mouse, like some kind of savage!

Each drawing takes forever is what I’m telling you. Some take more time than others. For instance, editing this:


takes a lot less time than, say, something like this:



That’s just an example of the sorts of drawings that will be in the Invention and Preliminaries chapter – because they represent two different stages of my work over the years.

I may not even use that particular angel. I might use a different one. Or I might use another one, or even a few! I mean, I painted angels for a good 10 years.

Oh, you didn’t know that? Good! I’m not all that proud of it. It’s like hearing the music you played with your band from when you were a teenager. It’s a little embarrassing, although a lot of people liked them. I sold a lot of angel paintings. I must of made a few dozen at least.


Breaking away from that was weird. For years I could have sworn I was creating them under the idea, or feeling, of lament for a lost lover. Someone I couldn’t get over for years and years – but then – one day – I realized…

Aaalll those paintings; all that paint; all that creativity, time, planning, emotion, tears and sadness; my guts splattered all over every canvas wasn’t about him at all. It was about me. I was the angel. Not him.

So I think that’s what made me stop painting angels. I’m pretty sure. Oh…that, and I fell in love with mjp.

Anyway, so off track. I sat down here to write because I wanted to vent. I wanted to get my feelings out. Ever need to just do that? Well I’m super-dooper in need of that right now!

You know what I remember most about Catcher in the Rye? It’s probably what everybody remembers for all I know, but it’s the end when he steps off the curb. I read it such a long time ago, so I don’t remember where he was going, but he was somewhere in Manhattan and he’s walking and he steps off the curb, and it was like he entered into the other side right then and there in that one step – out of reality. And in that moment, he goes into a dissociative state that he never returns from. Translation: he goes insane.

And it hits you that this is the point in the book where he goes crazy, yet it also hits you, that you’ve been on his side the entire time – he’s the protagonist after all – but it occurs to you that he has been crazy the entire time, but neither you nor he knew it.

When people said he was practically yelling, speaking too loudly, asking him to lower his voice – you realize now that he was in a manic state, not just passionate. It wasn’t the other people like he thought were weird. It was him! I don’t know about you, but right at that brilliant ending, all I wanted to do was flip back to the first page and read it all over again, having this new epiphany and a completely different point of view on Holden Caulfield at that new moment…

My point in all this really was not to talk about one of my favorite books of all time, no.


Lately – I am walking and I am feeling like the next step will be the one that goes on forever off the curb.

And I’m not sure what to do about it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I have a good friend coming over tomorrow after I see my doctor (my Lupus doc) and she is going to help me get a grip on my ultra awesome sewing machine that I’ve had for a long time (years) but really don’t know how to work. Maybe that will make me feel better?


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