The thumbnail that is the icon for my museum is a detail of Mud on a Stick, a self-portrait I painted looking in the mirror in 1999 (no, I’m not left-handed). The work stand is the one I’ve used for nearly twenty years, with my softer brushes sticking up from a holder I made by drilling holes in a board. The bristle brushes lie horizontally on a grooved stand, next to the medium and turpentine bottles. My palette is small, and the actual space I use on it to mix paints is only about two inches square. That everything comes out of that tiny space may be the most remarkable thing about my process. Don’t ask me how I do it, because I’ve no clue.
The title Mud on a Stick is inscribed on the anatomical drawing taped to the side of the work stand. In an age when advanced technology rules, and artists work on computers or manufacture their work through industrial processes, I find it magical to be able to capture a viewers mind with paint applied to a surface, essentially colored mud applied with a stick. As the anatomical head also implies, we humans are built of muscle and bone, nothing more than animated mud on a stick.
I immediately felt a gut attraction to this painting; and it keeps getting better! The way you show the painting being painted at a severe angle and still make it look so convincing is very impressive to me. I’ve always had the same feeling about paint- being able to make something beautiful with just colors.
I’ve always liked this one. It’s funny to think that we might not have met if you didn’t send it out.
Marc, I’m really bad at remembering how I met people (my wife excluded, as it was such a metaphorical event). I’m guessing it was something sent out for Hackett-Freedman Gallery? Michael Hackett snatched that painting up instantly, before I realized that it was probably the one painting from them all that I should keep. He later resold it. It’s not as if I ever have the choice to really save pieces I want. The kids have to eat, unfortunately.
I enjoy your introspective expression with just a touch of restrained contempt. And the expression in this painting is good too.
Mud on a Stick
F. Scott Hess (b. 1955)
Mud on a Stick
oil on panel