Saturday, October 23, 2010

Multiple design possibilities from the same scene

Here's our tired old 9 by 12 again. Below I am going to show some variations on the scene.
Remember when you got your first apartment? With the Murphy bed and the mildewed harvest gold Pullman kitchen? You went to the grocery and got some stuff to eat, and maybe a highly rated, yet surprisingly affordable malt liquor you had recently seen advertised in a gentleman's magazine? After putting the groceries away you grabbed that box of Rice-a-Roni and looked at the picture on the front with swollen, hungry eyes. There was that delicious rice (and vermicelli!) and there beside it, sat a sprig of parsley and a peculiarly moist tomato wedge. You washed out a cheap aluminum saucepan from the sinkful of dirty dishes and started to read the directions, the malt liquor makes em fuzzy.

While smoking a handrolled Bugler from the can on the yellow plastic rattan nightstand, you add the two cups of water, actually the same Dixie cup twice, then emptying in the stupid little seasoning packet you discover that there is no little sprig of parsley and no tomato wedge either.
Knocking over the malt liquor onto the cat as you grab the Rice-a-Roni box to see the cover again, you see the minuscule print at the bottom of the deceptive picture, which says "serving suggestion". You put the cigarette out in the Rice-a-Roni and throw the whole show, saucepan and all into a leaking paper garbage bag under the sink.

Well, nature is like that, the scene before you is a "serving suggestion". It is up to you to make the thing interesting. You could make a dozen different treatments of the same scene. What if you decided it was about the water, it might look like this..................................

Or you might want your painting to be about the trees that are in the middle of the tableau, and maybe cast the whole thing into a color scheme based on a sullen tabby cat moistened with about a half a 16 once can of malt liquor.
That might look like this...............................

The point is, you can set your easel up and look straight down the middle and paint the usual descriptive picture, the one everybody makes, or you can bring some kind of personal treatment to it. Ask yourself not "what does it look like" but "what can I do to it?


Chris said...

Wow, just when I thought you were reaching the end with this painting / design thing you went and hit the turbo button! One day my feeble art mind will really appreciate what you are saying, for now I just know this is good for me.

Mr T might say, 'I pity the fool who misses this post'.

Thank you sir.

barbara b. land of boz said...

Thank you Stape, the trip down memory lane was great. Now pass the salt please....

Judy P. said...

Enlightening and inspiring- I'm off to 'do the trip'!

CM said...

Your creativity knows no bounds!!!

billspaintingmn said...

Ah yes the San Fransisco treat. Bugler was the teal colored tobacco
can, and the malt liquor was either
a bull or a horse shoe.
Do they still make "fissy"?
Fun post Stape! Now I'm due for a monster movie.

Deb said...

I just have one question: when is the book coming out, and where can I get one??? I hope this chapter is in it.
Alternatively, you could come up with one of those tear-off daily calendars and include all these little vignettes.
Or maybe a daily devotional booklet:
"Day by Day with Stapleton Kearns".
(that way you could include pictures too)

willek said...

I think, StapeK has a novel in him somewhere. Just great at word pictures, too!

Marian Fortunati said...

I love your allegory, Stape... But yes!! That is the whole issue and that is why 4 painters can paint the same scene totally differently.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Turbot button?

Stapleton Kearns said...


It made a story that illustrated the point though.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gotta do the trip.

Stapleton Kearns said...

and no remorse either.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I believe it was the Velvet Glove.

Stapleton Kearns said...

How can I write a book and keep this up? Someday, I am writing as much as I can now.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't do fiction intentionally.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Allegory, there's a big word, parable maybe sounds smaller, the parable of the Rice-a-Roni.

Jesse said...

Ahh yes, I remember smoking Bugler when the money was plentiful. Normally though, a can of Top had to do the trick.