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We went to the Caribbean on a cruise, my first time ever on a cruise or out of the country, to help my in-laws celebrate their 50th anniversary. Here's a picture of Tamara with her sisters and her parents.

We had a great time. I took the opportunity to paint again.

As I said in a recent post, my painting skills somehow meandered away. One day, I had found my way to into a San Juan midtown cafe.

The people there were fascinating. I watched one man chase his child around the town square playfully, adopting several different characters as he did. He would have made a great actor. His daughter giggled as she skipped away from him each time.

So I painted as I sat there. Normally in my day, I take and make myriad phone calls, write code, care for my dogs and the house, and life is generally busy. I haven't painted for a long time. It was obvious that I'm way out of practice.

I had to relearn it all. How to see what's really there, how to draw, how to mix paint, how to apply the brush... I came to it with many assumptions. I didn't paint in hued sections, but instead painted shutters and slats. It was a lazy effort.

In Margaritaville, I sat poolside and felt more like I was doing the right things. Not really happy with the result, but a step in the right direction. I painted from the back to the front, I studied the color before I mixed and applied it...

The effort was smarter.

Ironically, my best efforts were done on the ship itself, when I woke up in the morning and went to Lido deck. I sat at a table and painted the ketchup and mustard that were on the table. Different days, the ketchup first and the mustard on the last day of the cruise.

I did the ketchup with a 1" filbert brush and with Amsterdam (Van Gogh) acrylics. I didn't like the paints. Too watery for me. You can see that in the streaks of the lighter areas of the bottle. If you look at these areas, you can just about see the exact shape and form of the bristles on the brush.

Then the mustard. By this stage of the cruise, I no longer saw the subject of the painting as what I knew it to be, but as shapes and colors. As I worked it, I did it more like I should.

Still had problems, but the methods were sound.

I live as two different people. The artist in me is a more likable, more people-friendly guy. He's well aware of his flaws, doesn't really think about politics, and sees things in the world around him that exist in the moment.

The businessman / programmer in me is inward, driven, protective of his family. He's well aware of his strengths, connects remote dots together, intakes massive amounts of detail and facts, and doesn't really notice the immediate world around him.

The artist in me loved the cruise. It was nice to get some air. I'll work to see if I can paint more frequently, perhaps even daily. I'm better as a united whole.


by Brett Rogers, 12/31/2009 6:46:19 PM


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