Sunday, February 16, 2014

Palette People—A Rorschach Roundup

Once in a while, you get shown the light / in the strangest of places, if you look at it right.
"Scarlet Begonias," The Grateful Dead

When I visit schools, I talk to students about learning to see stories in the world around them.  Everything can be imagined into something else.  You've just got to start noticing.

Sometimes it happens when you don't expect it.

While I work on the final paintings for a book, the glass palette to the left of my drawing board fills up with blobs of dried acrylic paint.  I scrape them off, and mix new colors for whatever I'm working on.

Over the years, I've noticed that some of the blobs take on the features of people.  Huh!  That one looks like a ------!  And then they're gone, scraped into the waste basket.

But because I was thinking about this blog while while working on the final paintings for Bats in the Band (coming in August this year), I finally decided I wanted to do something about these characters I saw in the paint.

So this time, I took photos when I thought I saw something in the paint, before I scraped it off.  From time to time, I'll post a paint blob, and the character I saw within it.

Here's the first one.  The paint blob:
That black/gray blob with the blue cloud above it?  Someone's there.
And here's the character I saw within it.  He's got a faintly Bill Gaines look (late of MAD magazine).

Wonder what he's thinking about?


  1. Very cool. I love looking at stains and paint blobs and such. Though I invariably see monsters. I'm kind of a monster girl. And I'm liking the monster in the slightly larger black/grey blob with tiny blue bits next to Bill. In him, I see a monster with a long chin and a yawning maw. I also like the bright yellow fae llama above the monster.

  2. Brian--So glad you are sharing your musings and art with us!

    This entry struck a resonant chord for me. As I learned while researching Leonardo da Vinci's writings for a long-ago project, da Vinci recommended that artists try to see images within the stains on walls. That sort of flexing of the imagination just happened to be one of my favorite day-dreamy activities when I was a child. (We had stucco walls; a landscape rich with interesting blobs and patterns was always nearby!)

    So, how come I never turned into a magnificent artist of the da Vinci and Lies ilk?