In the last couple of weeks I started another painting that’s part of the Catch & Release series.  This one’s working title is Flint River Totem. It’s on a 48×24 canvas – big for me.

Here’s the beginning, when it was still as much a drawing than paint.

I did a couple of passes after this, and the best day was when I worked on canvas upside down. Moss and water confuse the hell out of me unless I turn them into a natural abstract. Painting shapes and values is a piece of cake.

Today I placed the titular totem, which I made out of tying antlers and a deer skull together with jute. The totem is really wet now, but there will be a spray of yellow wildflowers coming out of the eye socket, and, of course, all the twine.


Three things about this image called to me. First, the glimpse of the Flint River, the same river that’s in the background of Collateral Damage. I love the sky reflected on the water and how the bend in the river lets your eye travel away into the distance. I expect to see Huck and Jim float by on a raft at any moment. I have always loved the last line of the novel, “But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest…”

Second, the swags of Spanish moss, which we rarely see in Atlanta, but are all over south Georgia. It’s embedded in my childhood memories of the rural south in the summer. Right up there with red clay, chert roads, grape pop-cycles, the sound of cicadas, and the trickle of sweat.

Finally, the totem. It’s what makes it more than a generic landscape for me. It’s bound up with my memories of my father, and my idea of the protective spirit of the place, a genius loci.

In other art-related news, Collateral Damage was accepted in the Metro Montage show. It will be delivered July 2, the show opens July 11, and it will be there until September 9. They sent me two passes, otherwise it costs $8 to attend the opening. Never ever heard of charging to go to an art exhibition. It is the Marietta-Cobb Museum, not a gallery, so I guess they can do whatever they want.

Breaking for lunch. If I start again (vs nap which is very appealing on this humid, overcast day) it will be placing letters on typewriter keys.