The Artwork of Michael Divine

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Live Painting Experience pt. #1

July 26th, 2009

Waking up too early but going to bed too late… my brain has this issue: once the light starts passing into them through the drawn blinds – once the field of color over my eyelids is no longer black but now varying shades of speckles of the movie screen coming to life – it awakens. And now even having gone to bed at, what, six o clock – enough time to see the sky over the rows of San Francisco streetlights down below, the park across the street, the occasional up-too-late or up-too-early car to be making it’s way onwards and upwards – all this was growing light and I’m trying to be the voice of reason – saying that I must get to bed and get some sleep (or I turn into a pumpkin dontchaknow.)

I’d say that ‘somehow’ I found the energy to keep going last night. To keep painting and moving and talking but I can safely say that the caffeine found me (with a bit of seeking on my part) and, well, it helps. Turns out that ‘live painting’ is sorta fun – having an easel, a canvas, the paints and just going for it and it’s much like when Im just painting anyhow but now the music is way loud. I’m dancing, I’m painting, moving, foot tapping, in a groove because the music is in a groove – at least when it’s good – and it’s just going and i’ve tuned everything else out – the voices, the people, the eyes, the dancing, the flashing lights, the lasers – and yet i’m quite aware and feeling it. Good times.

The first band was just not my thing being some kind of hip hop mcs with a live band in the back. Interesting but too much “Make some noise!” to end up being, at least to my non-hip-hop-tuned ears, a lot of noise. Second up however was the band Particle. It’s been, what, ten? twelve years? since I last heard them. That was at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT. I wasn’t all that into it at that time. It was just, sort of, meh. To say the least. So I had very few expectations. So they came out and really just powered through what was like an hour and a half of non stop jam rock electric intensity, took a breather, and then came back for another hour and a half and, for the most part, it was hard, electric, funky and rocking (they should relally just lose the sing song parts – or take some vocal lessons perhaps). And it was fun to paint to. What if I’d been there to see the band? Don’t know, couldn’t say. But it was a rocking soundtrack.

And at that moment, late into the night with little sleep the night before, having woken at 6:30 to get on a plane at 9 and then a long day of the travel situation and laboring through thef set up – art display, banners, etc etc… It was good not just to have some caffeine running through my blood and brain but also to have the music from wherever they were going.

And what did we paint you ask? An overly ambitious painting that is 38″ x 52″ and has some sort of mayan themes, spirals, lights, a galaxy, some leaves… It’s the Day out of Time Party after all and , while the origins of the concept of the Day are debatable – did Jose Arquelles (celebrated and sometimes questionable source of all things Mayan who, in his own words, claims to be the reincarnation of Pacal Votan. To each their own.) really just invent it based on his own counting of the calendar as many claim? Do the Mayans really have such a thing? Why this day in July? My loose internet research turned up a Wikipedia article on the Day out of Time that forwards to the entry for Jose Arquelles and then other articles that either reference Arquelles – either as a reputable source or a questionable historian – or are written by Arguelles and the discussion sort of ends there. I’d almost say ‘nuf said, but the debate goes on and I’m going to leave it to the debaters and instead I’d just like to focus on the fact that it was  rocking time in a super sweet venue – the Regency Center in San Francisco.

The Regency is seven floors of gorgeously hewn freemason architecture built in 1909. It was built as the Scottish Rite Temple – a freemason society gathering place. The level where the party was held was the freemason lodge with massive curving post and beam architecture reminiscent of a gothic cathedral, made from massive timbers, stained glass windows, red carpets and velvet walls – surrounded by deep rich wood everywhere. Pretty slick and magical. The stage itself has twenty different hand painted backdrops depicting a variety of scenes. The “tree grove” backdrop seems to be the one that was chosen. Some of the painted trees were cut out and a bit forward to provide a sense of depth. They were painted in a style reminiscent of Arthur Matthews, a Californian artist from the early 20th C. noteworthy for his soft use of color in an Arts and Crafts inspired romantic impressionism. Lovely stuff really and, with the lighting, the stage looked really quite elegant.

Violet and I were off to the left of the stage with an easel set up and some really bright lights that made it so that we could rally never quite tell what was going on behind us. This was the first live painting experience I/we’ve had so it was pretty epic, framed by a sweetly magical location.

The Artwork of Michael Divine

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