The Artwork of

William Lathrop

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Artist in Residence - 2005
Entry Date: 10/02/2005 - Sunday

This afternoon I gessoed 7 small panels on the picnic table behind the residence. These panels are smaller than I've been working with - maybe 8 x 12 inches rather than the 12 x 16 I've been doing all my work on. I'm interested in trying the smaller shape to further abstract my work. Working smaller, I'll be forced to find more of the essence in each subject. This size is similar to the small panels used by Tom Thomson and my contemporary, Marc Bohne.

My gesso is in a 32 oz. squirt-bottle. To cover each panel, I squirt/pour some of the white paint onto the panel. Without exception, the patterns made by the falling/dripping paint were quite intriguing. Heck, with only a little more work on each piece I could sell these accidents more easily than what I deeply consider and toil over now. So why is that? Perhaps these more natural phenomenons have less of a human tough, more created by the laws of nature.

David Letterman has an occasional feature he titles "Art or Ape." In each segment he shows an abstract artwork, nicely framed and presented. All the works I've seen have been beautiful and sublime abstract works. And apes have done them all. Many are better than I see exhibited at art fairs and galleries.

So, if I were to further modify these drip panels, I might find a way to float a little color into them - the gesso creates a natural three-dimensional surface, a natural barrier. Perhaps I would float highly thinned pigment down a slightly inclined panel, with the gesso drippings presenting a barrier to accumulate and divert the flow.

There is a large plastic "X" (or is it a "+") in the back yard here. Perhaps this house sits next to the unpublicized positive terminal of some large, earthen battery. Or perhaps it is a helipad. Nonetheless, I steered clear just in case it was any kind of target.

I took the afternoon off to loll around the residence. Too many days of painting have left me feeling a little burnt out. I think the last couple of paintings have shown it - don't tell anyone.

This morning, I made way out to Kingston Lake, in accord with plan. Along the way I stopped to photo some maple in color - and by the time I got to the lake the early morning cloud cover was moving off - providing much the same light as I painted under last week. I finished Kingston Lake (sunny) by touching up the distant areas and filling in the foreground. Painting the "sky holes" in the foreground vegetation really made a difference.

From there, I started the long, bumpy ride back. On the section of road just south of the lake and before the intersection with Adams Trail, I found a small maple in nice color and nicely silhouetted. That was today's other painting. I started very abstractly, with thinned paint. I could have stopped with the under-painting and perhaps that is a good technique for starting studio works. I'm not sure any of the details made it a stronger piece - but it was a valuable exercise none-the-less.

Despite it being a warm day, lake effect winds should have been from the north, the afternoon's wind came from the south. Late, after 6, it started to cloud over - new weather coming in.

Today's wildlife sighting was a fox. Along the pavement portion of H-58 heading east, just after Melstrand, I saw a little fox start out into the road. It saw me and darted back. In my rear-view mirror, I saw it resume crossing as soon as I had passed, knowing I was no longer a threat - pretty smart.

Dinner, did I mention dinner? Once again - to use it all up - ocean perch fried in bacon fat, some oven fried potatoes - and broccoli.

All Materials Copyright © William Lathrop, 2007
Last Modified on June 05, 2007