Painting vicariously

I’m in the midst of major house moving activity. Have you ever moved a studio before?
It seems as if there are hundreds of non-standard sized things to move. All the framed things weigh a ton, have to be protected because of the enormous investment in proper framing, and all the works on paper are fragile and so easy to damage.

Every time I go out to the new house/studio, I take out a pile of these things that I don’t want the movers to be responsible for. I wouldn’t forgive them for trashing a favourite drawing or damaging a frame. Insurance is only a small part of the equation. Even if one got money for the replacement value, there would still be the need to take the time to get the right framing.

On Sunday past, I looked at the place where I was going to house my huge collection of my own works that have accumulated over a 40 year period (“Yes, I started when I was two. Can I sell you a bridge?”) I realized that I was not going to be satisfied with the space if I didn’t paint the walls in the basement white to lighten up the grime of the last thirty years without paint. There’s no point in putting away the work if it’s not clean to start with. So I painted walls and ceiling all Sunday afternoon until I thought that my arm would drop off.

It doesn’t leave much time for painting of the thoughtful variety nor for writing about it, but that will come once I am settled. I’ve taken some memory photos so that I will be able to work on what I want to paint later and to paint it with some honor to the detail.

In busy times, I am absolutely grateful for photography and how it helps me with my painting work. In the mean time, when I look out into the garden I start painting vicariously in my mind. It never even gets to the paint-to-canvas-stage. I just work in my mind on cropping the image that I am trying to construct or enhancing it. I may think about how I can compose a painting, working my way around the negative shapes, determining where center of interest should be, thinking about how the pigments will mix. It’s a vicarious process that keeps sanity in my life while unpacking or toting boxes of goods.

I will leave you with a picture I took in the back garden where I go from time to time to have a break and renew my soul. I may use this one for a painting.



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