The golden thread

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I finally finished the last Cultivation piece! As usual, I was stuck because I needed to take a step back: redo the background before finalizing the people. Once I did that, everything fit together nicely.

Now that I have all 15 Cultivation pieces done, I am focusing more on the All In panels, and I discovered the thread I was using before was a little too thin:

That gave me a nice excuse to run up to Mendel’s in the Haight yesterday and get some thicker thread for them. It was almost like an Olympic event trying to navigate the sidewalk, which was full of that special Haight Ashbury combination of homeless teenagers, their dogs, and tourists with their maps and cell phones out. All different shades of lost.

Needless to say, buying golden thread in this environment seemed appropriate if a bit blatantly mythological.

But I found my way through and have now started stringing the panels, which I am happy to discover is fun and pretty relaxing. Even though I did drop the spool on the carpet and then when I looked at it the thread came off the piece I was working on and tangled in the button on my sweater and then I had somehow tangled my foot in it and…you get the idea. Sometimes I am stringing the artwork, and sometimes the artwork is stringing me back. But I am winning so far!

I am also making an almost disturbing amount of progress on the larger Cultivation backgrounds.

Disturbing because once they’re done, I move into putting people on them, which is firmly in the high-energy and hard-to-do categories. So I need to have an easy, loose, warm-up-type activity in the wings. I think it is going to involve oil painting, and to stick with what I’ve learned from working on Cultivation, I’m going to mix up and use only a very limited palette, maybe just two colors and black and white.

I’m actually feeling a bit of joy just thinking about it. It turns out unfinished canvases are just like all other kinds of stuff sitting around, taking up psychic space and energy.

So this week, here’s to finding what weighs you down and getting rid of it…or transforming it. Just don’t get tangled up in the golden thread!

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