collection of j. shainin

crumpled pieces of paper are like snowflakes: no two are alike.  two days ago, when i was exasperated in search of subject matter, i resigned to a tiny piece of crumpled brown paper towel on my table easel.  because i was feeling particularly crumpled myself, it seemed entirely appropriate.  that day, in doing that painting, i felt as if i made a miraculous discovery.  somehow, the deceptively simple subject matter of a crumpled piece of paper was one of the most challenging subjects i've ever attempted to paint realistically.  faceted like a diamond, as intricate as a mountain topography with its many peaks, valleys, and crevasses, the paper was a maze of detail and an endless exploration of shadow, light, line, and color.  who knew?  and now, i'm kind of obsessed.  i want to be that painter who paints crumpled pieces of paper.  sure, it's probably been done lots, but who cares.  crumpled pieces of paper are like snowflakes: one is a surprise, but it takes tons and tons to make any kind dent in the landscape.  so tonight, in preparation for my painting, james and i went straight to the recycling bin.  we sat and crumpled paper, experimenting with all kinds of different techniques, the loose crumple and the tight crumple, large pages and small, with  pictures of faces and pages of text,  newsprint ads and  glossy junk mail ads... just to see the aesthetics or expressions or effects each one produces.

i feel fortunate to have made this discovery.  sometimes it seems like the most obvious moments of beauty are so close under our noses that we don't even notice them.  like today: i finally noticed the ducks.  today when i was outside, i noticed their collective quacking, ecstatic in the marshy distances.  and driving the dusky roads home, i noticed them by the thousands, tiny black dots, barely visible as V formations in the sky, then swarming, swift tornadoes of black dust, spinning collectively in a lyrical dance to land in the fallow fields.  miraculous beauty, every day.

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