Sorry I’ve been slack posting. I’ve been painting the house, which means building a deck around the portion that needs scraping and painting in order to have a level surface for the scaffolding and ladders, because I’m not terribly afraid of heights of about 24 ft. or less but I am also not a complete idiot, and having a few years ago experienced a fall of about four feet which threw my back out and made me drive my wife crazy with my whiny-ass tittybabyhood for about three months, I know how deeply averse I am to even moderate discomfort, let alone pain.

On my breaks to avoid heatstroke or death by tedium, I’ve been tying to finish up this picture of Barney the mule, done approximately in the looping fin-de-siecle style of the Nabis, and in the best Victorian tradition, trying to de-emphasize his blank gun.

Here’s the state of it now, almost done:

As I told Rosie, it needs a little more work on the legs and ears, but I’m nixing the idea of painting in his whorls of fur. I think he already has his essential muleyness.
I’m also not certain if I’m going to varnish this one. I have some unvarnished paintings that were painted very lean that have survived pretty well over a twenty year period.

I’ve also been working on an oil copy of a Blake tempera whose only salvation may be to apply a yellowing varnish, followed by a crackling varnish. Part of the charm of Blake’s small surviving set of temperas, in addition to their strong poetic character, is they are so time-ravaged they look like they accrued by geologic formation. We’ll see how that goes.

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