A few excerpts about painting from some of my fiction:

     Once, I was painting a pile of onions that I had heaped on a drying rack. All yellow onions with one red, their stems in various shades of green to yellow. I had most of it done and was in a state of disbelief at how good, how right, how beautiful it was. The only flaw that kept grabbing my eye was a reflection on the side of a shiny yellow onion, the central one. The reflection I'd painted looked wrong. It looked like a dab of paint. I took it off and tried another mixture of white and light cadmium lemon, darkened and warmed with a touch of transparent red oxide. No good. I did it again changing the mixture. It still looked like paint. Maybe, it was occurring to me, reflections are like that, residing outside of a painter's capacity. I tried again, again, and again. Paint, paint, paint. And then suddenly, it was light. I gaped at it. I looked at it on the end of my brush. There, on the brush, it could have been the half dried sludge on the spout of a cream pitcher. I looked at the painting again, at the very same off-colored cream, where it had become August sunlight ricocheting off the side of a Spanish yellow onion.

     …She’s isolating the essential elements of new cottonwood leaves. Green, richer using the same transparent red oxide that describes the pitch, brighten and warm it with yellow. She gazes deeper into the wet, shivering darkness of the tree. There are as many greens as there are leaves, itinerant overlays of blue and yellow and red. She sees in parts now, couldn’t stop from it if she wanted. The reflex extracts colors and shades, pulls them apart from one another in a kind of merciless reduction, whereupon she layers them back together in place, so that in re-creating she has a hand in their origin, becomes part owner of their beauty. The yellow sun and a blue sky, blood flowing through her pale retina, it takes all three before a leaf exists.

     Some edges are perfect when there aren’t any at all, when they vanish and then reappear so that part of the subject merges completely with the background, affirms their unity, the surroundings as progenitor and fate. Other edges could be messy looking strips of accidental transparency, where a thin layer of paint from the subject overlapped the background, or contrarily, where the background slopped a thin gauzy veil atop the subject, the kind of crayon carelessness that would make a fourth grader wince. Occasionally, the edge might even break open, the dike giving way to let the background spill in. And like the schoolgirl, the painter with her nose to the canvas might cringe as well, until she steps back, catches at her breath at the accidental sense enforced. Ribbonlike edges of transparency made for a shimmering, the way water reflections disrobed the mountains, or the riverbank trees stripped of their stately rigidity revealed leafier hearts. That same sort of edge did something similar for a portrait, seemed to invest a face with an intrinsic light.
     Edges were where the eye explored, where it contended with the shifting and relenting, where the color of plum resisted that of apricot, where the entire struggle could be prolonged and convoluted or sudden. An edge was a plot, a negotiation, a composition in itself. In their making, she experimented, wiped away the failures, dabbed, stroked, stepped away again, twisted her head to see her way to the right, the most perfect merging.

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