5th Entry, April 10th 2008

second set of photo's taken of the piece titled "Breathe" a work in progress as outlined in the previous entries of my blog

the piece is done with natural inks, stains and dyes made by me on mounted canvas 24 inches tall by 30 inches wide

nothing has been done to the photographs outside of adding sample txt, these were taken by the same exact camera without a flash of any kind in day to evening lighting

a side effect of using natural inks is that as in nature, when they are prepared correctly, the colors seem to change in different lighting

I often wonder how many times a person looks for the rewind button before they simply stay put for a second, and breathe. I suppose its become my nature to be grateful for the simplest of things. It's funny how almost losing your life can have that impact, and how contagious an attitude is between people.

I'm from a sleepy little place called Glenville that rests it's head on the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. Schenectady, the oldest part of New York State is literally, across the bridge and the rivers are still frozen. It was a hard season and now it's getting warmer and people here are also warming up, lit inside by their growing greener surroundings and longer days of sunshine. There are those days in this river wind town where a smiling face is hard to find and the work is hard.

I stopped by the local Hollywood Video Store located on 11 Saratoga Road to look again for a dvd I had been trying to rent for about a week every day since it's release. It's such a day denter when you expect something to be there that just isn't, even if it is a small thing to look forward to. Like that one ingredient, or not having sugar for your coffee.

Anyway, I had just left the store a bit disappointed yet again when one of the so many copies just happened to be returned. Both people behind the counter actually tried looking me up in the computer and couldn't remember my name (I never pulled out my card). I happened to call later that day and the girl told me what happened. She then made sure to take down my information so that maybe that evening the night staff would call to let me know it was there.

About a half hour later the phone rang and right now I am about to make some kettle corn and watch it. My point is (and Hollywood video staff if yer reading this EXCELLENT JOB IN CUSTOMER SERVICE YOU ALL DESERVE RAISES) they did not have to do that but they did. It reminds me of the reason why I choose to live here. The hope and kindness that seems to be a shared experience of this entire community.

The fact that there are those that see someone going through something that might even be a small ordeal but they take the time to make it easier for them just because they can. Strangers still hold doors open for one another here and say please and thank you. These are luxuries today, common old fashioned luxuries that don't cost a penny but are so very priceless. It impressed me to be kinder too throughout the day. Not that I'm a mean bastard, not at all, but I mean to actually go out of my way in departments of patience and courtesy. So if you think an attitude isn't contagious try holding open the door for a stranger and see if they don't do the very same thing for the person behind them.

The pictures were taken sometime last week, the date on the camera is wrong and I have no clue how to fix it lol. I wanted to give the idea of a self-portrait and my feelings of coming out of a hard winter into something fluid and cool the prime placement in this piece. I still wanted to combine a movement attribute as well as being surrounded by an element. So within the hair I used both a wind and water image to emphasise the fact that the figure simply is not paying attention to his physical being but is more focused on a feeling, a sensation, the act of one single breath.

I usually never show a piece in it's stages like this because I always get those people who are uncomfortable with change that say, "I liked it better before". I do try to explain to them "Well it wasn't this painting before - it was a background. This piece is supposed to look like this, and always has - it's just now you can see it better." Most times I don't think they get it though. Anyway, the inks used here are a henna and eucalyptus base. People tend to think that henna is black, it isn't. True henna powder can be light to dark olive green and when mixed it has a very dark deep burnt red brown that from a distance looks black.

When it is applied to blues and greens it appears very dark blue and black, when it is applied to flesh tones it almost looks brown. Like alot of natural hues it changes color depending on the colors around it and the lighting in which it is viewed. In this case the henna powder from India was sifted then mixed with the appropriate amount of lemon and honey. It produces a wonderful stain that worked well with the other colors in this piece.

As a side note, there is a thing out there called "black henna" (also known as PPD) but it is a very dangerous and caustic carcinogen; among some of its many nasty side effects is that it eats muscle tissue if consumed accidentally. Just a warning, in spite of it's much cheaper cost do not buy it and never use it.

Up close like this - at a magnification of approximately 150% you can better see some details. Hundreds of lines of color actually form the image where there can be up to 23 different shades found within a single square inch. It gives the illusion that it is one single color until viewers actually look into the work. Can you see some of the hidden images yet? I don't mean the text either lol. When I am completed there will be over fifty such hidden images. As I mentioned earlier it's my style to do that as a kind of reward for those who actually look at the piece.

I also mentioned that during my process I rely upon a mix of different inspirations to add in staying consistent within the painting. One of which is this song by Anna Nalick called "2am breathe", the chords and some of the message resonate well with what it is I am trying to express here.
If you'd like you can access it by clicking this link, just click back in your web browser to return here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPz3YaIJkjQ&feature=related

More than anything with this I want to express the feeling of hope, an important relief in one's self simply being for a split second, acceptance and gratefulness in ones own Independence - it is the celebration of that one single breath which is stretched out into a permanent memory forever in one's own skin and it is very much me. In a way it's a kind of love beyond the averages of melancholy and monotony, just being.


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