Viet-Nam War 9 – Hell on Earth – Nearing Completion


I’m creating here the upper half’s background and layers of cloud detail. It is scary as can be. But then it works out okay. I kind of have to just dive into it, the painting, and hope for the best strokes I can muster. I filled in with some silver with a tiny round brush first, then dark gray mix, to the middle right. I did that so very carefully next to the jungle column.

I step back often, taking off my close up glasses every time, to the front door of the studio, of the farmhouse itself, to get a good distance view of the painting. I have to have this perspective on the piece, lest I get too lost in the details.

I also sit and stare, study the Getty foto of the atomic bomb cloud a lot, not the painting itself. If I sit and stare at the painting itself I go a little nuts. I don’t know why. I will have to do that at another time?

Not sure what that is about.

For now it is best from a distance to study the piece, unless I’m looking for details to complete, etc.

Then I added silver to the upper middle right, and that felt really, then dark gray mix over that in kind of wild cloud striping. I’ve learned to twist and regulate my brush strokes for really … unusual formations that I like … cloud- and vine and marble like lines. And to let go in them, to not worry so much, instead to watch the paint and be aware during the moment of the stroke, to fly in it, not sleep, to care, but not press it down, just hold it, just right. It is an awesome feeling.

I’ve learned how to handle a brush, am learning. There are more and more brushes and tools to try. Sometimes I even use my fingers on the canvas if I feel like it. I don’t see anything wrong at all with that. It’s only natural.

I decided all of that needed cream lines on top of it and needed to dry, so switched to the left. I wanted to pull the Raw Umber up the to left, but looked at the bomb foto and it is broken with pure light on the left so that the foto is overexposed there, right there in the upper middle left. So, although there are dark strains there as well, which I will place, it needs brightness instead of more color. I used the mid-sized bright brush to carefully place the gold pigment in the kind of triangle space left there, then went back with the tiny round brush to more thickly place paint in, because the gold paint is a bear. You really have to work with it, but then it begins to thicken and mold for you and it is like metal, and is really cool and reflective. Some of your strokes show so you have to be careful what you do.

But those two blocks of silver and gold on that side were two plain, so I went back when they had dried, with the dark gray mix, and to my surprise, did a free form stroke that reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright, and as I developed it, it has corners and codes and reminds me now of engineering in general. So, that’s cool. It may end up with a red dot. We shall see. For now it is a spatial forward, a plate coming forward there, which I like. That whole left side is very different from the right. There is part of a Western landscape, I suppose for nuclear testing, there, and it is deliberately left partially unfinished. We are unfinished in our journey, alas.

The code I’ve just created as well, the engineering code, is also unfinished. Of course.

I also painted in black, more on the lower section, and in red, in the direct center. 

I wanted to stop at this point before I painted further today, because the painting will change.

Who knows, but it seems as though I’m almost finished with this painting, and I wanted to check in with you all before I had done that. It is a somewhat delicious yet frightfully scary point. I have to be so very careful not to overpaint, to know when to step back from the piece. It is a push and pull of color, lightness and darkness, a balancing act of some delicacy. As I said before, it is almost a strategy as in wartime, the very act of peacemaking or diplomacy. Baby steps.

About amyjacksoncc

I am a professional artist, writer and musician creating from my home studio. To view my artwork, visit
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