Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Large White Kettle

A Large White Kettle, 11" by 14", oil on linen board, October 2008
Private collection, Saskatchewan, Canada

Part of my time in art school was spent living in a large unheated warehouse, in the seedy North Avenue area of Baltimore. For three years the only heat I had was from a large upright woodstove. To keep the air from getting too dry, I'd keep a kettle of water simmering on top. For three winters I would stare at this kettle, waiting for the stove to warm up. Even during the warmer months, people would stand around the woodstove in the morning while talking, just by habit, and it was always a nice place to set a cup of coffee. Somehow I managed to hang onto this big white kettle, although 25 years later the bottom has a few rusty holes, and it would never hold water again. My painting teacher once told me I didn't have a good sense of middle grey, so I hammered away at a study of this kettle, and then presented it to the class. I learned a new appreciation of silence that day.

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