evolution / by Philip Tarlow

1:48 PM: today is dentist day for mikela, so i’m writing this from our dentists office in salida. since i won’t be creating any new work in my studio today, i decided to create a comparative view showing the conncetion between my plein air creek studies and my latest oils. so on the left below, you see something that bears a striking resemblance to the small oil i made yesterday in the studio. what’s different is a certain hard to describe freedom. marks that are inspired by the the feeling, in the moment, of being phycially at the creek, with all of the associated sounds, sights & fragrances. the oil on the right is interesting in a different way. clearly, there’s more of my mind in it. yes, it too has an obvious spontaneity, it’s a spontaneity discovered after many failed attempts that were scraped away & painted over. in the plein air paintings, you have one shot. which is why i always bring more than 1 surface to paint on. if i’m painting in gouache, as i frequently do, i’ll have 3-4 pieces of paper taped to a board. that gives me a feeling of freedom. and usually, the 3rd one is better than the first. the first two are like warmups. but that’s not always true. there are so many variables: what’s the weather like?, where is the sun in the sky? how did i sleep? did i forget one of my important brushes? is it windy? (wind dries the gouache colors on my palette pretty quickly). is there a bear in the vicinity? more later; i’m going to talk to the dentist.