Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dying Is Easy; Watercolors Are Hard

Harold Printup is a prince of a guy.

I've only met him a few times, but he has a sort of gravitational pull of bonhomie about him. He and his wife Marilyn share a sunny disposition that is written right on their faces. A birthmark of happiness.

Harold, or Hal, if you will, paints watercolors. He is an amateur, in the true sense of the word. He does it for the love of the thing. But there isn't even a hint of visual karaoke about his work. There's no "crummy and blissfully unaware" in evidence in his work, and certainly no " crummy on purpose as a pose," either. He's good, and he's good.

He likes to go to Huntington Lake, apparently, and remember what he was looking at by painting it.

Now, I've seen a lot of plein air work in my day. I don't like most of it. It might be because I've fooled around with painting with every darn medium, bad at all of them, but watercolors are impossible. I see watercolors by people like John Singer Sargent and say bah! Get the oils.

Never mind me. I can't do it. Hal Printup can. Watercolors are immediate, and fast, and capture a scene and mood faster than any medium other than taking a picture. I take that back. The camera just gapes at everything. The photographer must capture with his method as surely as any artist. The end is just more immediate, especially since they've begun to rely on ones and zeroes and not silver and chemicals.

Hal and his brethren must go, and look, and see, and feel, and distill, and then inscribe. They are as contemplative as any philosopher, and as skilled as any lapidary.

It's hard to do, and I hate Harold Printup for his ability where I have none. I asked my brother, his son-in-law, to send me his latest, so I can hang it up next to the others I've saved for decades and execrate Hal every day of my life when I see it.

I figured I'd post it on the internet, so you can hate the guy, too. He's very pleasant, as I've said, and needs to be detested for his manifest ability by more people.

1 comment:

karen said...

Oh yeah, and tell him how much his work is ~hated~ too, for me- eh?

And just cause it's so darned ugly- if i promise to think myself very small, and promise to be perfectly quiet... can i please sit in his vibrant forest and feel the wind of it on my face?

Because green is my favourite colour.