Richard Bledsoe “The Ghost of Slumber Mountain” oil on canvas 30″ x 24″
The second version
I have so many ideas for paintings, it is very rare that I would ever paint the same image more than once. In fact, there is only one occasion I can remember doing it. I was reminded of the circumstances recently while we were working on some home renovations, and I had to move 16 years worth of art.
I”ve written before of a troubled time in my artistic explorations, when for several years I made bad, unresolved paintings on wood panels. While most of these unsatisfactory works are exiled to my garage, while doing our rearrangements I found one stored in the house. It happens to be the only painting I ever explicitly repainted.
I am haunted by a story from the early days of film. In 1918 the stop motion animation pioneer Willis O’Brien made a movie called “The Ghost of Slumber Mountain.” Originally 40 minutes long, the distributors of the day cut the movie down to 19 minutes highlighting the dinosaur action O’Brien created.
Innovator: Willis H. O’Brien at work
The plot that remains features a supernatural visit to a hillbilly cabin and a time traveling telescope. It’s unclear exactly what got cut out. That version still survives, but the rest of the film is lost. Commercial pressures destroyed a rare representation of the birth of a new art form.
The title alone evoked a vision for me, and some time during the years 2004-2005 I tackled the painting, during the ebb of my artistic efforts. I wasn’t happy with the outcome.
But what I wanted that painting to be stayed with me, to the extent many years later, probably around 2008, I painted the image again. I was back in my artistic groove by then. The second version, depicted above, captures the eeriness I was after all along.
But what about the first version, which I did display in one art show before it was put safely out of sight?
Here it is, in all its dubious glory:
Richard Bledsoe “The Ghost of Slumber Mountain” oil on wood panel 36″ x 30″
Version One circa 2004-2005
Ugh. I can only put this out there because it is so securely in the past. I have to say, out of all my bad paintings from the time, this is one of the better ones. Even now, I like the body of the creature quite a bit, and the rocks and trees of the skyline. But overall, a swing and a miss.
Seeing this made me feel maybe I should revisit some of the other works I failed to execute the first time round. There are still visions there that deserve to be manifested.
“It is the Stuckist’s duty to explore his/her neurosis and innocence through the making of paintings and displaying them in public, thereby enriching society by giving shared form to individual experience and an individual form to shared experience.”
Everyone’s a critic
Our cat Motorhead passes it by without a glance