underpainting for magnolias / story


My life has been weird so far. I see a lot of strange things, people tell me strange things, weird stuff happens around me that leaves me thinking w.t.h. just happened. Normally I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to worry others, but this is too much. I’ll tell you what happened yesterday.

I was home working on my painting and taking a break to heat up some food in the microwave when I heard a LOUD bang! I looked around but had no idea where it came from. I was blaming the guy upstairs when I heard a knock at my door. It was a guy who looked scared so I opened the door. He asked me if I’m ok. I said yes I’m ok, what happened? He said he was cleaning his gun and it went off! (the idiot) I asked him where the shot went and he said about 5 feet behind me. I looked but didn’t see a bullet hole. He said it must have gone into a beam. The guy wanted to come in and talk to me. I said no. Then he offered me $500. He was afraid I’d call the cops. I don’t want to call the cops on my noisy neighbors, I think they’re soldiers and soldiers get a pass from me on the noise. The guy was very worried and kept apologizing over and over. He offered me the $500 three times. Normally I wouldn’t accept money but yesterday I said ok, I’ll take the money. It would probably be a $500 fine if I reported it and he would get in big trouble if he is in the navy, but I didn’t ask. So then he went back to his apt and got the $500 and brought it back up to me. He kept saying if there’s anything I need, to knock on his door any time.

Now this is only one story. Imagine if I told you hundreds of weird things like that. You’d think god was f—–g with me. I don’t know what to think. I’m not saying some supernatural power has any interest in me, but I certainly see a lot of coincidences and random flukes of the universe.

One funny thing about it was that when I was drinking my tea yesterday morning I was thinking about how there’s no need to worry about getting cancer from smoking. I’m smoking whenever I want to because there’s a million ways to die and I’m not afraid. I was giving myself a big pat on the back for being so fearless. Then my neighbor was probably worried I’d freak out.  I never freak out. I’m so calm it’s ridiculous. I should be a zen master.

This weird stuff that happens to me, I can’t keep it out of my paintings. There’s a dark and dangerous part of life that I stare straight at. I don’t try to put it in my paintings, but I can see it in there. I think the viewer can see it too but not identify it. It gives an interest to the shadows in my paintings. It’s not too scary for the viewer because they don’t know my weird life stories.

This is only a start on the painting. I’ve been packing to move in the end of March. I’d stay, but they’re making everyone move out one block at a time for renovations. Then the rent will go way up. I like the apt and no one is really bugging me, but the guy upstairs is noisy. It’s just not worth it to pay $200 more a month for the new appliances they’re putting in.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I can get back out to paint in plein air and finish this before I move. Or maybe I can paint it at home. I’ve made good progress on packing and still have plenty of time.

12 thoughts on “underpainting for magnolias / story”

  1. I LOVE this post. The opening line is perfect. And then the rest of it. Drawing it all into how it figures into your art. Very entertaining. I don’t think I would have taken the money. I’m definitely not as smart. ;)) Yes, there is a kind of organized chaos in the lines of this painting that seem to mirror the goings-on around your zen master centre.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that’s the perfect way of looking at it (that it makes him feel better, and you rich :)) – and someone wise once told me, never say no if someone offers you money as a gift. Seems to make sense in theory! :)))

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have turned down large gifts of cash recently. I can’t tell on that person, who got mad at me for not cashing the checks. My Dad told me to never accept money and I don’t like to but yesterday I knew it was a bribe and took it. It’s not a good idea to accept money, but if he’d have hit me it would have been a lot worse for him. That’s my logic.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Lord, who cleans a gun when it’s loaded??? At least he was properly freaked out about it. Not sure how I would have handled the “bribe”. In any case, carry on Chris! (no pun intended with the “carry” comment).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed your review of one of the things that have been strange in your life recently.

    And I appreciate everything that goes to make your painting process and your description of it and the final painting so interesting.

    I seem to have gotten at least part of the word on strangeness. Not the strangeness of people because there is never an end to that……….But the strangeness of the world itself.

    The arch-rationalist and neurosurgeon and atheist, Sam Harris, had a discussion recently with one of his colleagues about what we see and what the brain registers and what we think it is. Bottom line: our brains have evolved for only one reason: to keep our body in equilibrium in order to reproduce our species.

    So: in Australia they are phasing out a certain kind of shiny brown glass bottle because there is an insect which believes that these bottles are females of the species. The males mate with them and in short order this species will go extinct unless something is done about it. The brown shiny bottle has the exact characteristics to the male insect eye as the female of its species.

    Same with us. The reality of our world is far stranger than we register because we don’t register it unless we are under certain influences. And even then, what there ‘really’ is out there is more and stranger than we can take in, no matter how ‘high’ we get.

    Be that as it may……..looking forward to the magnolia, dark or bright as it is around it!

    As to money: money, sex and religion: I never touch any discussion about this with anyone because we can’t get to the bottom of these subjects, either, even with our nearest and dearest, it seems………..!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read an article about the bugs trying to mate with the bottles. Yes, reality is strange, and what I experience might be related to whatever influence I’m under on that day. I don’t know what to say about religion or politics either so I’m not going to fight about those things. I’ll let others tell me what they think. Thanks for the info!

      Liked by 1 person

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