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3 New Paintings for MILLION MILE ROAD TRIP

I’m moving along on my next novel, Million Mile Roadtrip. I’m maybe 20% done, which feels like it’s enough so that I can act like I’m actually going to write the whole book. I already posted about the book on January, 11, 2015, talking about how I was thinking of this as a YA book, as my characters are 13, 17, and 18.

I’ve done three new paintings for the novel recently.

“Deep Space Saucers” oil on canvas, January, 2015, 24” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

This is, in a way, an abstract painting. An exercise in composition and hue. I was thinking of the painter Larry Poons, who flourished in the ’60s with compositions of ovals scattered across a large canvas. Of course I’d rather draw 3D saucers than 2D ovals. So I started out with the saucers, then found a nice background color that makes me think of deep space, very far from any nearby stars. Over several days layering hues onto the saucers, I slowly homed in on the colors for them. I was thinking of the colors of Populuxe ’50s cars. I see those ovals on the undersides of the saucers as being eyes.

This isn’t a direct prefiguring of anything in the novel—but I am in fact thinking about having a bunch of flying saucers in there. I’m seeing the saucers as organic living beings who are in a sense like vampires. They glom onto people and suck their blood. And if you get bitten often enough by a saucer-thing, you may turn into one yourself. Yeeek!

“Tree of Life” oil on canvas, February, 2015, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

For this one, I started out by putting a lot of paint and gel medium in the top half of the canvas and finger painting with it. Doing that made my finger hurt—and Paul Mavrides was quick to tell me that paint is poisonous. So next time I fingerpaint on a canvas, I’ll wear a rubber glove.

Anyway, I decided this would be the foliage a tree, and that I’d put cool aliens under it—I needed mental images of aliens for Million Mile Road Trip. My characters were just driving into a night market in the alternate world where they’re gonna do their big drive. I used variations on a Picasso-style face that Jasper Johns included in his 1990 painting called, unhelpfully, Untitled. And then I put a little one of these guys in the tree with an umbilical cord. I think of this painting as showing parents awaiting the birth of their baby.

I didn’t much use the baby in the chapter I ended up writing, but one of those bobbly heads joined my characters and will go along on the road trip. She calls herself Meatball.

“Saucer Hall” acrylic on canvas with oil paint glaze, February, 2015, 30” x 24”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I started this more or less at random, playing with the paint, using acrylic for a change. I was out in my back yard, painting with my twin granddaughters, each of us with their own canvas. And then the triangle made me think of the Supreme Court building, which suggested a “Saucer Hall” where UFOs gather. We ran out of yellow acrylic paint, so the painting was a little greener and bluer than I wanted, even after I worked on it the next day.

So the day after the next day (Feb 25, 2015) I did another session on the painting. Turns out its okay to glaze on oil paint layers on top of an acrylic painting, once the acrylic is good and dry, and with the proviso that the acrylic isn’t super glossy. So I didn’t have to go out for a tube of yellow acrylic paint. So I layered on some glazes and now the final version looks good/

Before I added the final oil-paint glaze layers, the painting had that dreaded “art school hallway” look, with all the color areas flat and monochromatic and raw. Nice and rich now. And in the final touchup, I had the idea of putting a sun/star/wormhole/eye in the middle of the triangle. The saucers have a hypertunnel inside of Saucer Hall, you understand…

And now I’m gonna put a Saucer Hall into my novel. All those nasty saucer-beings are gathering there, and if a human wanders in, they are in big trouble.

As always, these paintings are for sale. You can find more info on my Paintings page.

What else is new? I rode my bike 24 miles to Santa Cruz on Saturday, that was kind of awesome. Not the the ride was that stupendous—it was a foggy day, and the traffic was kind of heavy. But the fact that I could do this ride and not fall over dead made me feel pretty optimistic.

Synchronistically enough, when I rolled into downtown Cruz, I saw a street rod that looked like—a rolling coffin. But not for me, not this month.

And in the evening Sylvia and I went to see the Santa Cruz Derby Girls at the Cruz Civic Auditorium, a cozy old place, a good time.

One more derby girls shot. It was a round robin among the three SC teams: Redwood Rebels, Steamer Janes, and Organic Panic.

4 Responses to “3 New Paintings for MILLION MILE ROAD TRIP”

  1. Ian Says:

    I am torn with the roller derby(or darby as my Brit pals say), photos. First impression is hearing Dr John’s Right Place Wrong Time and then get smacked with Cheech and Chong’s, Remember, you heard it here first on roller derby!

    Regardless, I love my wetware.

  2. Tom Fool Says:

    “What else is new? I rode my bike 24 miles to Santa Cruz on Saturday, that was kind of awesome.”

    Rudy, come on. That wasn’t ‘awesome’.

    It was fricken stupendous! Highway 17? Jeepers! You give the rest of us something to live for. That coffin wagon must have been just a bit loud with those cut-off pipes.

    Once again, you set the pace. We just try to keep up.

  3. Steve H Says:

    STATIONS OF THE NIGHTMARE by PJ Farmer had a guy hit and knocked down by a flying saucer he thought was huge until he saw it up close. His cuts fester, he runs a fever, and he turns into an organic flying saucer like the one that hit him and flies away looking for it.

    24 miles is a damn long way, even on a bike! Way to go! and as usual the pictures as gorgeous and organic and colorful.

  4. Rudy Ch. Garcia Says:

    I too have switched to YA and children’s, Rudy. Still need to learn much about the genres, but, as you note, there’s a lot o’ mugre out there. I did a YA novella and two books–1 YA, 1 children’s–in the last 2 years. Perhaps we’ll both sit on the same shelf one day. I mean our books, not our urns.

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