This documentary of Neil Welliver is so inspiring. I was so excited to learn that his work took place in Maine with my handful of visits there. Seeing the mountains, river, big blue sky and trees made me miss Tennessee, but that visit will come soon. I loved the process of his work as a trip, journey and experience. I loved hearing the car start. When he was climbing over and under branches and logs I wondered what if something happened to him, then he spoke to that and said he would be perfectly fine with that in being surrounded in such a beautiful place. He shared what he was thinking while he was painting and also shared what he thought Leonardo might be thinking while painting the Mona Lisa. Welliver’s words are so true, thoughts go from thinking of loved ones, not thinking anything at all, about something completely opposite or is this, this or is this, that. When he returned to his buildings to paint I appreciated seeing his small painting informing the charcoal drawing by hand. I have had a few wonderings about how I will use a matrix in going from small to large scale. Will there be need for projection? Should I go old school with transparency…etc. Once I anchor my drawing on a small scale using a matrix I should be able to enlarge a sketch by eyeballing. I could experiment with his process in having access to charcoal, kraft roll 36×48 for my large paintings.
When the documentary shows Welliver picking tomatoes and feeding the chickens, I become relieved in seeing he is not alone up there and has family. In that scene too he is wearing a sweater that reminded me of how good it feels on cool days to wear jeans, button down and sweater or sweatshirt in the sun. Can not wait. When the next video started I saw that it was his son, but I really wanted to know more about Neil Welliver. He has had so much loss, professional challenge and personal battle. This documentary has provided some needed thinking for my work this weekend: bring in the environment as the background, focus on the small imagery that can drive the narrative, secure a color palette that allows the experience to be repeated for self and engage others. I do love how one of his viewers said, “I could step right into that painting.”
The lazy susan feature of the dining room table in the cabin of the porch project could be a subject for one of the 5 paintings, but I envision the 5 in portrait position. We shall see. This image is of part of a school backdrop 8ft by 36ft created for the school play “Votes for Women” about the suffragettes. I share this because I simply do small sketches before outlining large imagery on muslin for the students and myself to paint. documentary . Also I do love the content of the suffragettes meeting together to create an action plan to secure votes for women. I also think of Welliver who had so much to overcome with personal loss. One might think the figure would play a larger role in his paintings, yet he is saying much about the survival of nature in his landscapes. After the death of his son, he went straight to the spot of a forest fire. Natural living things are constantly growing, enduring, suffering, thriving, dying and regenerating.