Thursday, September 14, 2006

a world of difference

I have two canvases drying right now and I have to pick up my youngest son from preschool in half an hour. So, I'll write.

I made this rule for myself when the school year started. I promised myself I'd only work on my paintings when the kids were in school. When they come home in the afternoons, that's their time and I'll put the canvases away.
This is the first year that all three children are in school, full-time. Everyone thinks this means more free time for me, but it doesn't really. I don't go back to bed when they're out the door, or linger over my (decaf) coffee while watching the news, or even take a leisurely shower and bother to take that extra step and condition my hair after I shampoo it, for a change instead of just washing it with Suave shampoo and letting it air dry like I always do.

What really happens is that I walk in the door after taking the youngest to preschool, pour another cup of decaf with sugar and cream, put on a classical CD and start painting. Then, what seems like ten or fifteen minutes later, it's 1:30 p.m. and I have to start closing up shop again so I can start the afternoon rounds.

Oh, people call or stop by and visit, I'm not on an island, but throughout it all I'm continually in motion. Even if you're only on the telephone with me, you can easily hear the slap-slap of the brush on the canvas as I'm talking, or you are. I have to warn you, though: I may not be all there. Painting is a private luxury for me. I'm somewhere immersed in a field of lovely colors and it's really one of my favorite places to be.

I like warm colors. I like appealing textures. If colors have moods then I like the serene ones. They can be wistful, whimsical, vibrant or melodious, but not flat or dampening or sad. Those we don't invite in for the Coppelia Ballet by Delibes (oh, do I love that one). My next favorite being Air on a G String (Bach). I want that played at my funeral.

Blues and greens are restful but under my hand they're easily sad and contemplative too. So I have to use those sparingly.

I keep running out of Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White.

When I started out in art, oh, yay many years ago, I didn't have to structure my time this way. But then, I can also say in all honesty that now I am rarely, if ever, bored. And back then I was; I used to drag my brush toward the end of the third hour of the studio class twitching and moaning about everything out there in the world I wasn't exploring because I was tied down to an easel being bossed about by some overeducated puppet of academe.

Now I have a slim window every day in which to explore the canvas instead of the world. I've seen a bit of the world since then, and I've found I prefer the canvas. Seems there's a world of difference just between the student I used to be and the woman I became. This is another private luxury, a sort of rich knowledge gleaned only by me, for me. To know the value of things. What my elders would have called, a long time ago, appreciating what you've got.

And I really do...