Maybe my best one! • • February 18, 2017


Well hey there!


I showed you a quick studio snapshot of this a couple of weeks ago – which did it no justice whatsoever. This scanned version is much better! I don’t know how I managed such gorgeous wings, because they were done in frantic mode. I was moving too fast to think!



Øyenstikkere (Dragonflies) #26

India ink, inked collage and surface alteration on paper – two sheets = 14″ x 21″



This painting started out as miserable attempt at a damsel fly. I was so disgusted I pitched in a corner. The next morning though, I picked it up again and with nothing to loose, decided to see just how far I could push scrubbing and sanding out the failed damselfly before slamming another round of ink down on top. The answer is WOW!


Even though my paper usually hangs on to some record of the marks I make (I frequently scrape and scar it), I can take away a lot more than I ever imagined, and the ghost-like remnants become wonderful, surprising textures in their own right.


Somehow, in the frenzy of brutalizing these sheets, incredible wings blossomed. They have more dimension, suggestion and texture than almost any passage I’ve ever managed – in any picture!




This was teetering on disaster painting at it’s most panicked! The big, black swipe of ink in the lowest wing actually hides most of the previous damselfly’s terrible body. Even as I slammed it down, I remember thinking, “S–t, that’s too much – now what’ll I do?”  Fingers and thumbs were ground into the sodden, buckling surface, horribly distorting it. Ink was pressed clean through and scrubbed back up again. Bits of paper were ripped up and glued back down. I even left holes that were later backed with blackened paper that shows through. All of it worked, and I don’t know why or how, at least not yet. But I suspect I may be headed towards a lot more of this kind of thing. Most of what I know, I’ve learned experientially, and it takes its own time to sink in.


Hey, just for fun, here’s a little diagram that shows you where the remnants of the lost damselfly are still visible!