Paint Schoodic

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What is the lesson here?

Underpainting of lime tailings in Rockport. I was a little confused about what I intended to do with those rocks at the bottom; that's the problem with having your work so rudely interrupted.
Every day I get up wondering how much I can work. It’s been a stop-and-start recovery, and I haven’t enjoyed my enforced inertia.

So perhaps that’s lesson #1: revel in the opportunity to work, because you don’t know when it will be taken away from you again.

It's an amazing feeling to not be able to open a can of paint, lift anything much heavier than your brush, or adjust your easel. I couldn't be painting at all if Sandy weren't doing all the heavy lifting.
I have a show opening on March 24 at Roberts Wesleyan College, and these large works are what I want to show. Back in December the gallery director gave me a chance to opt out and I didn’t take it; I was certain I could meet my commitment. At the time, it seemed like this was a cut-and-recover cancer.

So I’m doing something I’ve never done before: letting my studio assistant (the wonderful Sandy Quang) do some of my gridding. After all, why train a wonderful painter if you don’t let her paint? I realize this is historically acceptable, and you will never see her brushstrokes, but it’s still taken me a lot to let someone else touch my canvases.

Sandy gridding. The kid sure can paint. I take credit for it, of course, but I have to admit Pratt probably had some part to play.
So that’s lesson #2 of this round of cancer: stop being such a control freak.

A visitor to my studio saw the red peeking out from the snow in an underpainting and said, “I kind of like that. It looks like your recent past.” That has gotten me thinking that I won’t polish these paintings to death.

So that’s lesson #3: I don’t need to overwork everything in life.

And me, in a rolling office chair, actually painting. Maybe next week I can work standing for a little bit at a time.
Lastly, I’m kind of amazed at how rough things are around the edges right now. Mostly these are minor things like shoveling the walk or sweeping the floors. (I can’t bend or lift at all.) I’ve spent so many years acknowledging that my husband is unique because he does so much housework and makes it possible for me to travel that I’ve come to see myself as superfluous to my own life.

And that’s lesson #4: Son-of-a-gun! I am actually useful.


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