Today I’m going to go to my shelf of 8×10 inch paintings, pull one down, take a look at it, and write something about it. A little bit of a look at my past work. According to my calendar I haven’t made any of these small paintings in about six years. It really has been a while. Let’s see what I can find.

I pulled down a painting named “Sand Storm” that I painted on July 25, 2007. It’s July 31, 2022 as I write that so the painting is almost exactly fifteen years old. This painting looks more familiar than most so I may have actually written about it before but I don’t want to look up if I did or not. I think it could be fun to write about the same painting years apart.

After I pulled down the painting the thought came to mind to look up on my calendar what I was doing on that day, as I do with my “Friends” walkthrough blogs, but then it occurred to me that this painting was what I was doing on this day. But I often did paintings in batches of four so I could have done three other paintings at the same time as this one.

The first thing that jumps out at me about this painting is that it’s horizontal. I’d say that only about one in five of my paintings are horizontal. I generally prefer vertical works and I don’t even know why. Maybe that’s just artistic tradition. I think there are more rectangular vertical paintings out there than any other shape and orientation.

The second thing that jumps out at me is that it’s a landscape painting. That’s also a reason that it’s vertical but in general I don’t do many landscape paintings. I like face and figures most. I love imagery and making images that haven’t been seen before. Such images usually include people. I have less success coming up with landscapes and buildings that are new and striking. But occasionally I do.

The third thing that strikes me is the orange sky. I also painted the sides of these canvases and they are also orange too. The first step I took was to paint the front of the canvas and all four sides with that orange and then all the other paint went on top of it.

The orange paint itself looks to me to be a paint that they stopped making. I think it was a Windsor Newton paint and it may have been some kind of Cadmium Orange. I can’t remember the name but I do remember that they stopped making it and replaced it with a similar orange. I have a memory of not liking the similar orange as much but I’ve been using it ever since. After all that’s what the sell now.

As are a lot of people I’m a fan of spirals. They’re not always easy to make but I have a few different types of them. “Perfect” spirals are the hardest. Getting the twist of the spiral just right with the line even all around takes practice. I usually do these type of spirals in an ink drawing when there are just a few of them. In the end the spiral looks like one line but I make it with many brush strokes and build up the thickness of the line over time.

Another type of spiral is the “Wall of Spirals.” This is when I fill a large are with a lot of small spirals. With these it’s not important to get them perfect. It’s better to have the imperfections so that there are many different variations of spirals in the mass of them. Each individual spiral is made with one hand motion with the brush or pen. Sometimes I go back and clean a few of them up but mostly I get it in one shot.

This painting has a third type of spiral. It’s a painted spiral that shows off the brush stokes of how it’s made. It’s sort of made the same way as the “Perfect” spiral but without the line being opaque the colors show through one and other. These spirals are made with a bright yellow, dark brown, and a yellow ochre. You can see the three colors mixing together as the brush drags them around. There is also something Van Gogh-ish about spirals in paint.

Sometimes seeing the brush strokes in a painting gives me a sense of time. I can see the artist’s hand as he or she makes the brush strokes and I can see the time it takes to make them in my imagination. I like that. It can humanize a painting for me.

As an aside I keep calling these spirals but it is really a line with two spirals. One on each end of the line. I wonder if there is a name for that shape? It may have been called a scroll back in my Junior High metal shop. I’m not sure. Junior High was long time ago.

Now for the buildings and fence. I like the way they came out. I’ve done buildings like this other times and I haven’t liked the way they came out but this time it really works for me. I drew them first in black paint (the only black paint in the painting) and then painted in two colors of blue over the black. The blue strokes take on volume and make the building solid. It comes to three dimensional life for me. It’s not a building technique I’ve come to master. I think, in part, because the weird shape of the building is very important to the technique. Unfortunately I can’t draw that same weird shape every time.

The last thing in this painting is the solid ground. It’s made with a brown/red with darker and lighter lines on top of it. It’s sort of a burnt orange so it fits in and enhances the orange of the sky. I like it

One final note is the name of this painting. “Sand Storm.” That looks like a pretty literal name. That’s unusual for me. I more often name things by thinking of word pairs that pop into my head and they rarely have a literal connection with the drawing. This painting looks like a sand storm. How odd.

I finally looked and I did indeed write about this painting back in 2017. Here it is! Sand Storm Blog Post #1