― Walt Whitman
Sure, Walt. Now try getting away with this this while painting a familiar face. Better still, a canoe.
No dice, huh? I was reminded of this, as usual, the hard way. Back in the underpainting stage, I decided to tilt our lovely old cedar-strip canoe so that the viewer could spy its deep red body; well, didn’t this turn out to be an act of wilful self-injury. By the time the painting and I were into final glazes, that canoe and I were in a fight to the death. No matter what gunnel lines I adjusted, our beloved canoe just looked more and more drunk. My “vagueness - ignorance, credulity” didn’t do one good thing for a watercraft which was increasingly resembling Farley Mowat’s famous “boat who wouldn’t float.”
Well, I’m the painter so occasionally I remember to exert some control. Now the canoe sits as straight as a prim Victorian miss, only its decking visible. And because you no longer ”know” that it is a splendid red, I shall have to settle for telling you. (My favourite 18th century novel was Tristram Shandy; Sterne was the first novelist to allow the reader to imagine something for himself.) So please imagine a deep rich singing red.
Come to think of it, you probably would have assumed that anyway..… Okay, then. The game is on. What if I tell you that this canoe is deep forest green?
Stay tuned. There’s lots of layers still to come.