Today is the first day I have felt fully human in a month. My stomach turned on me and took the entire system down. I could not eat for weeks. I was struggling with water and soup. I’ve had bad stomach problems for much of the last 8 years or more, so it’s not new to me. This time was different. It was much more aggressive and wiped my physical and mental strength away. I fell into the deepest depression. Check my Netflix history and you can see it. However, I am slowly getting back into the swing. I feel like I said that last Monday, so you get how slowly the swing sways.
I’ve been working on restoring this piece for my friends Martin. A few years ago I’d done a photoshoot with him in Mercado La Lagunilla (butchered spelling) en el central de Mexico City. It was an electric experience. I talk about it in the video below. When I moved back to DF and saw the piece hanging on his wall all the color had washed out. It was the first attempt at a different technique where I photograph the painting, print it on etching paper, and then use the base with oil pencils to recolor. Well the color was gone. It looked nothing like what I had left even though it was not in a sunny spot. My friend Martin is eternally patient with me and did not disagree when I took it off the wall and promised it’s return. The piece needed to be recolored and a varnish applied to hold it there. This past weekend, in an attempt to get beyond reading and writing about my art, I started with the oil pencils. I spent about 15 hours on this and I am hoping it has more staying power.
I think the most positive aspect of this was it was relatively mindless. I’d already mapped out the colors and really I needed to create washes with the pencils. I worked at returning the transparency effects to the dress, accenting the bangles across the chest plate, and redefining his face and hair. I fully remember why I don’t use this paper anymore. Getting a crisp line on it is impossible as it is meant to transfer from a wet plate to a wet paper. It gives a lovely impressionistic effect but is horrible for carpal tunnel.
It did help me feel like I was alive again. I woke up with energy and walked the 3 miles round trip to Panaderia Rosetta to grab a loaf of bread. I got a Rol de Canella and walked back home stopping to pick up a beet juice on the way. When I got home I finished my beet juice while I picked up oil pencils and worked away. It wasn’t until nearly 4pm I realized it was time to stop. I put down the pencils and started testing varnishes from different scraps. Ultimately ended up using two acrylic varnishes and applying them to both sides of the thick etching paper.