Father Daughter, 2005

Immediately upon finishing Drinking Cappuccino, and because of that amazing experience, I had to paint another picture. Plus, I have always wanted to know why I felt the way I did and maybe painting could help me understand more. Maybe if I found a photo from when I was a child, I could sort out those feelings that have been with me forever. Painting just might help.

I went to look for the envelope of old black and white photos tucked away in a bottom drawer. Flipping through a few, instantly I found the right one. I sat crossed-legged on the floor with a large piece of watercolor paper before me and looked at the photo of my father and me. My smiling face was a surprise. I could sense my body squirming. Maybe if I allowed my feelings about him to pour out onto my paper, our relationship could improve?

With a pencil, I started abstracting our features. Overlapping and enlarging the eyes, mouths, noses, ears, and hands. Once several lines covered the surface, it was time to do the base painting. Metallic copper and gold with purples and blues intuitively became my color palette. I painted light washes of color to decide which color went where. The blending and layering of colors pulled out my feelings. I don’t remember what I was thinking, but I know I became more aware of my thoughts. For several days, I layered more colors, pushing purple and gold into copper and blue into gold. It was so refreshing to just push around my paint without being concerned about the subject looking realistic. My painting was so abstracted, I recognized only a few features. My reddish brown hairline is at the upper left corner. One of his eyes is to the left of my golden squinty eyes in the center. The rest of the painting is so obscure. But that doesn’t matter. What mattered most was that I felt relief, tremendous relief, as I let my feelings out through my brush.

Tomorrow I’ll look through my envelope of black and white photos to select another one for my next painting.