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A Painter's Journal

A Painter's Journal
Daily painting, essays, journaling and etchings by Michael S. Parkes, artist and writer in Eastern Washington. Capturing a daily inspirational thought, reflecting on the process of life itself, expressing a new vision for human existence
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


An anarchistic stand against meaning-making
2008-06-06 19:52:00
I drove down Hays road around 5 or so yesterday, the early light was so soft and beautiful. Stopped at the junk car area and did a study looking across the ravine. I really enjoyed doing this painting, I wanted to just let the paint decay and grow tired and weak under my brush. ...
More About: Painting , Meaning , Stand
The street on acid
2008-06-05 05:39:00
So I painted this view on third today at lunch, and a young fellow ambles by and looks, passes by and comes back and says “Man, that’s the street on acid!” I smile at him in agreement. We connected there for the brief moment. Across generations and tides and years, we both understood that ...
More About: Painting , Street , Acid
A return of winter, almost
2008-06-04 15:24:00
I feel better this morning, after the misery of last night. And it is so solemn out this morning, the gray of winter almost returning. I look at my little panels from yesterday and think them not so bad after all. They were sincere, they were true enough for me and that moment. I think perhaps ...
More About: Winter , Return
Painting before work
2008-06-04 07:00:00
Managed to leave the house early enough to work in a painting on the way to work. Did a view looking up the road that I have seen probably a thousand times at least. Getting off the interstate 90, a view up one of the side streets. I think I actually work better when I ...
More About: Painting , Work
Making mud pies at Widman?s farm
2008-06-03 14:39:00
Didn’t have a chance to paint at noon as I had to leave work early to meet Joy at the school for Erin’s conference. Around 6:30 I went up to Widman’s farm and started a study looking across their fields. Took it a point where I was reasonable happy with it, took it home… ...
More About: Painting , Pies , Farm
A boat in Spangle
2008-06-02 15:35:00
Didn’t get a whole lot accomplished today. I had hopes of getting to Spokane this weekend to paint Third avenue, but it didn’t work out. Rained this morning, and then I had to cart the kids around for a birthday party and before that a trip to Spokane to buy a gift and to ...
More About: Painting , Boat , Spangle
Paintings since Friday
2008-06-01 15:15:00
Lunch on Friday , went back to that Conoco station on third avenue. Matt, the store manager came out and we talked while I painted, comparing notes on the art climate in Spokane compared to Portland. I always seem to find someone that will strike up a conversation while out in the streets. That evening, ...
More About: Painting , Paintings
3rd avenue cows
2008-05-30 20:07:00
This is another study on 3rd avenue. I really want to get back there with a larger panel and just spend the day painting this again. There is so much that delights the eye, I mean everywhere you look there is another detail to note, some odd line or edge or highlight or color. The ...
More About: Painting , Avenue , Cows
I guess I didn?t get the memo to give up
2008-05-29 07:30:00
I had a dentist appt this morning so that pretty much took care of my lunch hour painting. But I had to take Emily to ballet practice at 5:30 so was able to do this painting on 2nd ave (i think). A miserable effort, more of the thick crazy acrylic torture, I have no clue ...
More About: Painting , Give , Guess , Memo , Give up
Showroom models
2008-05-28 23:21:00
Had to stop by Spokane art to get paint and that takes a chunk out of the hour, so I just drove west from there looking. Painted this truck down on Sinto. Would have liked to have spent more time on it, there are always the little notes that you want to capture, but ...
More About: Models , Painting , Showroom
Desire is all that matters
2008-05-27 19:29:00
How deeply do you desire to create? To write, to paint, to sculpt, to dance? Or whatever it is that is in your heart to do? There is the source of your talent, your ability, your productivity. Talent is non existent. What we call “talent” is simply the aftermath of a person deeply in love ...
More About: Matters
The willows
2008-05-27 13:30:00
Did this painting yesterday, set up along Spangle Waverly road down at the Suksdorfs, where the willows are. I have looked into these trees hundreds of times, commuting. I think it is these places that we see over and over that build presence inside us, and the yearning to express them. It doesn’t matter ...
More About: Painting
Parks farm and blossoms
2008-05-26 16:22:00
Yesterday I went down to the Parks farm at the other end of Hays, and finally settled on a view of their barn. Painted this 36″ x 24″ study. I am starting to actually enjoy the larger work, it is wonderful to have the breathing room to allow the brush to roam freely. The paintings ...
More About: Painting , Farm
Saturday at Steptoe bridge
2008-05-25 18:11:00
Yesterday was fun, I went out in the morning and did this quick sketch along Hay with the sun rising. I love the textures you can get with the acrylics, I think this was an experiment to see where that takes you. Drove down yesterday and painted that old railroad bridge you see from ...
More About: Painting , Saturday , Bridge
Hays road sunset, two views
2008-05-23 18:03:00
  I went out this evening just to get out, not really feeling in the mood to do anything, but feeling that it is still needed somehow. Did two efforts looking along the road up the rise, the first ended up more abstracted, the second I decided to start over, same spot, same view just ...
More About: Views , Painting , Sunset , Road
Piggy Mart
2008-05-23 06:31:00
 (I will post these paintings tomorrow morning… right now I need some sleep) Went out at lunch and did this painting of a street corner, third and something. Piggy Mart is there. I pass this every day on my way to work and keep thinking I have to paint this. The confusing collection of signs and ...
More About: Painting
Bail bonds
2008-05-22 15:24:00
Painted this at lunch yesterday. Corner of Monroe and whatever street it is that runs east-west by REI. I had to run an errand to swap out some sax reeds for Emily that I had bought at Hoffman’s. On the way back I just decided to stop here and paint as there wasn’t time ...
More About: Painting , Bonds
Field corner
2008-05-21 15:55:00
Painted this late yesterday, windy and around 50. Weather has bounced back and forth lately. Near Kentuck Trails road, not far from my home. I am starting to like these fields, the patterns and lines they project. Obscure and empty, I think they are the perfect foil to my tendency to think “subject” as important. Subject ...
More About: Painting , Corner , Field
The regurgitation of truth
2008-05-20 15:37:00
Painted this view looking down the Spokane river from Washington. And late yesterday, walked down our driveway and worked on a view looking west, with one of the cropdusters in the distance. I intentionally made the horizon too high just for fun, just to see what it felt like. Sometimes I think it’s good to ...
More About: Truth , Painting
Everything around you is waiting to be noticed
2008-05-19 21:48:00
I did these three paintings yesterday. The farmers were out over weekend plowing the fields around here, and with the high winds the dust is blowing like crazy. I drove down to corner from our home and tried to do a study looking across the fields with the machine… but he is moving so ...
More About: Painting , Waiting
Paintings are pages in a book
2008-05-18 15:31:00
Painting Friday evening, a view in the woods near here. Back to basics I guess, straightforward and not trying to “make art”. Yesterday morning, a painting down in that valley area along Hays. Late in the day, the barn that is on Spangle Waverly road on the way to Waverly from here. Late, a study looking across the ...
More About: Painting , Book , Paintings , Pages
The loss of remembrance
2008-05-16 15:27:00
It occurs to me that what a painter is really doing is stripping the self-assumed veneer of meaning from life. I went out at lunch yesterday and did this painting looking across a parking lot… the cars and reflections were compelling. Unfortunately none of that made it into the painting. Yesterday late, these two studies ...
More About: Painting , Remembrance , Loss
Uphill climb
2008-05-16 13:02:00
I did this painting today at lunch, back at that desolate area just east of Spokane art along some old railroad tracks. I really didn’t see anything here that I wanted to paint… but forced myself to just start looking uphill at this foot path and so this was the result. I had the best ...
More About: Painting , Climb
The mists that surround your heart
2008-05-15 15:08:00
A painting of a condo and bushes in Spokane. Late day yesterday, at the turn on Hays road. It is obvious enough that trying to paint from a place of sincere feeling is a mistake. We leverage so much meaning into these sad poems, but the truth is, no one is looking for it. It is the perfect ...
More About: Painting , Heart , Surround
What are we afraid of? Honesty? Sadness? Sincerity?
2008-05-14 01:39:00
Tuesday evening - I didn’t have much time today at lunch, too many errands and such, but found a parking space along Third ave which allowed me to dash this off before the rain started. I think I am learning to just relax and let the scene speak to me in the little ways, so ...
More About: Painting , Sadness , Honesty , Sincerity
Her sweet, deadly whispers
2008-05-13 18:36:00
I went out at lunch today and did this study of some road in downtown. Looking towards that god forsaken condo that juts over the skyline like some overlord demanding payment for dreams smashed. I felt so heartbroken, I had no interest in painting the nice little street scene. Still, its just paint, watching what ...
More About: Painting , Sweet , Deadly
I pray to God I never become an ?artist?
2008-05-12 05:26:00
I am learning to loathe that term. Artist , art, and all it conjures. Self centered, egotistical excrement. Later today I got it into my head to work on something larger, so gessoed a 24 x 36 or so panel and worked in the field down near the bridge. I don’t know why I am doing ...
More About: Pray
More bushes
2008-05-11 06:34:00
Todsy was a day of just painting the bushes. Not so much by choice, circumstances this morning dictated that I stay close to ther house as Jared had to be carted down to the school for a band trip. Laster today I had intended to paint something down on Hays road, down from the low ...
How can you not express your heart exactly as you feel?
2008-05-10 16:34:00
“Namrata”,9″ x 12″, acrylic on masonite, May 9, 2008 “High point, Hays road”, 12″ x 9″, acrylic on masonite, May 9 2008 More paint does not equate to more truth. A feeling that you want to see reflected in the paint, a certain weariness, age, decay… hard to reconcile that with the nature you see with your ...
More About: Painting , Heart , Feel , Express
Night of the Living Dead
2008-05-09 20:10:00
“William”, 9″ x 12″, acrylic on masonite, May 8, 2008 “Hay’s Fenceline”, 9″ x 12″, acrylic on masonite, May 8, 2008 I think it is comical the struggles and frustrations that seem to hound you when you paint. You imagine you are seeking some divine expression, attempting to uncover the marrow of life, revealing the ...
More About: Living , Painting , Night , Dead , Night of the Living Dead
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