“Pearl” 24 x 30 inches. Acrylic on canvas.
“Pearl” began life with the ocean in the background and a house beneath her feet, holding hands with her mother and the painting was to have been called “Pearl’s Mother.” One afternoon I was staring at the unfinished canvas knowing it was all wrong, but couldn’t figure out what to do about it. The parts worked separately, but all together they didn’t say anything. So I took a palette knife and began painting over most of the painting with white paint. The palette knife was a new experience, and I really liked how you could build layers of colors one on top of another! I painted “Pearl” fairly quickly with the palette knife then went back and added details and painted over with the palette knife again until I liked what was happening. The Great Blue Heron in the right upper corner I had already painted in and I left it, and the redwood trees beneath it.
She is holding a eucalyptus branch. I was thinking of the central coast of California, with the redwoods, the eucalyptus trees and the great blue herons, that are glimpsed only occasionally, these days. I used to see them flying very high like great long-legged angels moving across the blue skies.
I preferred Pearl without any hair. I did paint some in, but it took away from the intensity of her gaze and I covered it up. It summarizes her essence more this way. Her very human longing for some unspoken thing hidden behind her eyes. I’m not sure if Pearl is yet a child, or if she rests carefully on that cusp between woman and child.