I arrived for a week at Thornbush with three pale yellow panels. My assignment: to attend the chickens and Suzie the poodle while Anita and Roger were on vacation. My goal: to work on the triptych that Anita commissioned from me over a year ago inspired by a small Moon Mandala painting I’d done. It’s been taking me a very long time. My first efforts ended with sandpaper and gesso. But this week at Thornbush, with a little time off from The Whale Museum, it finally came together. A triptych is a different sort of beast than a lone painting. Painting a triptych is like juggling with three balls in the air.
Painting at Thornbush
I stuck pretty close to the Moon Mandala inspiration but unlike the original Moon Mandala, three moons imply the passage of time. I wanted the circular shapes to generate movement. Another inspiration for this project was the medieval illuminated manuscript, a Book of Hours called Très Riches Heures (Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry), where a blue arc divides the sky, again suggesting the passage of time. That is why I call the Triptych, The Very Rich Hours of Anita Barreca.
Work in Progress
One more inspiration is something Anita said, I think from a poem, about beautiful days, one after the other, strung together like a string of pearls. Day after day, moon after pearly moon these Mandalas are meant as an affirmation of the beauty of the seasons of Anita Barreca and her life at Thornbush.
The Very Rich Hours of Anita Barreca, Oil on Board, 2011