A few more certainly redundant notes from the cabin in early Aug:
..The only way for me to learn how to use oil paint is to just use it my own way and figure out how I can work with it. Oil paint moves. There is nothing for it but to force myself to walk away, wait until layers dry, go in again. This is its magic and its misery. It stays wet, and it stays wet. I must put it aside, I think about it, I start something else, I try not to mind too terribly that it seems so far from what I thought I envisioned myself painting. How to make the art god laugh? Tell him your painting plan. And if I think I know from the start exactly how a painting is going to turn out, then maybe I'm not pushing myself, and I need at least some resistance so I have something to push against.
..It's not that I think I'll get to really 'know' something definitively if I paint it, but if I don't try I'll never know either way. I'll think I'm familiar with something, that drawing it won't teach me anything new, but then it does. If only to assure me how little I know.
..A week of using an outhouse with a composting toilet reminds me how much water we waste. Being just one person, it's easy to feel streamlined and superior, getting by in the kitchen with a few jugs of water. Thinking of faucets gushing water, toilets endlessly filling and refilling, showers flowing. I love showers, I do, and I like cooking & baking, which means I have lots of dishes to wash sometimes, and so on. But this week I bathed in the cold clear pool at the base of a waterfall and I felt so clean. I ate simply and efficiently and produced only a small bag of trash.
..On a similar note, however, I'm not sure I could so easily go for a week without electricity, and I remembered to appreciate it here. That and a gas stove to easily heat water or food.
..There are a million different kinds of plants and shapes of leaves out there, that pass before my sight a thousand leaves a second, and it takes me all day to draw a half-dozen. Each painstaking pencil line, each jagged or smooth contour drawn and redrawn, it's almost a joke that I should even attempt it. But ever since I began to draw, I've been drawing plants and flowers for the exercise of training my eye to see and then convey it to my pencil-wielding hand. Drawing the human form helps with that too. But plants are always around. Being here, they are really around. I thought, where better a place to just put other objects aside and draw the leaves if I want to.
..I like to see the tiny darting orange salamanders.