The Human Stain

Recently I enjoyed a beautiful hike in a state park that was quite raw in the sense that fallen trees had not been cleared away (for the most part) and we did not see a single soul over the course of two hours.

And yet there were some visually arresting moments…of the bad kind:

HumanStain.3

Upon seeing garbage in the middle of otherwise pristine woods, I was reminded of The Human Stain, a novel by Philip Roth.The Human Stain

The books is an exposition of the ugliness of humankind and ends with a vivid description of a frozen lake and the way in which it was formed over thousands of years, juxtaposed with the image of a nefarious man ice-fishing in the middle of this lake (the human stain on nature, in other words).

HumanStain.1

I am not anti-human at all and on the contrary feel that humankind is something to be celebrated despite all its flaws. However, I do understand the disgust that fueled Roth’s narrative and I felt the same disgust upon seeing trash in the forest.

What do people think and feel when they visit a place and then leave their garbage behind to rot?  Perhaps it is a moment of childish rebellion.  Or perhaps, even worse, it is devoid of any thought or intention at all — literally mindless.

What a depressing notion, and not one I relate to at all.

HumanStain.2

Fixing unfinished older experiments.2

Here is another older painting that I’ve resurrected after abandoning it (in this case, I ruined it by getting too carried away with something that worked well for me in another painting).

As you can see on the right, I got crazy with paint splatter and overall created a mess, including some blotches around the eyes and face that really robbed the image of its continuity. The image on the left reflects my clean-up, with white paint, but also removal of color using water. Yes, the paper in this case is again the “wrong” kind — it is not ideal for water color, but interestingly I like some of the effects I get with it versus the expensive “correct” kind.

Hendrix.Vinchesi.Fixing older work.April 2019

As with most of my work, this is not yet a finished piece (I really need to commit to finishing several of these works in progress).

But I wanted to share a promising “fix / save” of a previous mistake.