Tonight after dinner, I wanted nothing more than to stay exactly where I was on the couch to watch a recorded episode of Medium and/or hockey. But I knew I had to get up and make something. I know it’s hard to believe I could already be complaining less than 2 weeks into this thing, but I am. I have a hard time building habits and I’m lazy. When I thought about the inevitable, I got that twitch in the base of my spine that signaled my internal desire to throw a temper tantrum. Sure, you may not see adults sprawled out on their bellies, flailing limbs and screaming “I don’t wanna!”, but you sure as hell do it in your brain. Probably multiple times in a day, too. Adulthood is 99% shit that you don’t want to do, and it’s amazing that adults resist telling this to children for so long, because that one sure as hell took me by surprise. When I was a kid, I thought adulthood was all dessert before dinner and staying up late. Now I’m tired at 8 and can’t consume any sugary snack food without thinking of my arteries. Woohoo.
So I got up to go to the studio. Rob stopped me and played a clip he’d recorded onto his iPhone from NPR. It was an author speaking on how necessary it is for artists today to reconnect us with things we no longer appreciate. He was talking about how we have no understanding or gratitude for the many practices and processes, both manufacturing and commerce-related, that make life possible for us. He even mentioned “the salesperson in an office”. It was an interesting moment of clarity. Every day, when I call business owners with a real, valid product from a real, recognized company that could really help them become more profitable, they are irritated and uncomfortable and can’t wait to get me off of the phone. I understand that, but it was nice to hear a different perspective. It made me think of the current handmade movement on sites like Etsy, which is essentially a “take two” version of the original Arts & Crafts movement, which was largely inspired by the artist community’s concern that industrialism and machines would take the quality out of products and the humanity out of design.
I decided one color was all I could handle tonight. Pandora put Radiohead on first. I feel like Radiohead always helps me paint better. It makes me more patient and less cranky. Tonight it felt yellow. I decided to go with yellow- maybe because of Radiohead, maybe because the first painting on canvas I ever sold was a stunning yellow color field that made my professor exclaim, “it makes me want to go out and get religion!”, or maybe because Chester’s puppy pee pads are really near the studio.
I set out all my yellows, golds and siennas. First I put them on with a brush, then with the palette knife, then I dragged ribbons and twine through the impasto parts and sprayed it with vinegar water, lifting off the wetness with a crinkly napkin for texture. Finally, the painting looked at me and said, “Okay, I’m done.” And I replied, “Thank God!”