It’s a good thing I don’t actually believe in new beginnings, only in ongoing improvements. New beginnings require clean slates, resolutions, stern-talkings-to-self. I’m much fonder of creeping up on things, only finding out the extent of “challenges” after I’ve already begun.
Case in point — I decided that, having finished the tweaking the Petrified Forest paintings, I needed to find some optimal groupings of the eighteen or so that I have available. But before I could do that, I needed to have my long studio wall clear so I could play with various groupings. I thought I’d run a strip of wood along what could be the bottom edge of the groupings; that would make moving them around easier.
But before I could nail up the wooden strip that would enable me to play with moving the paintings around, I needed to find a place to store the brick-colored panels on which I exhibit the big paintings from the Nevada desert. The panels and their linen paintings currently reside at the end of the long wall I needed for the PEFO paintings. I also, of course, needed to store the linen paintings themselves.
Turns out that the basement ceiling is not high enough (in any place that is wide enough) to put the wooden exhibiting panels upright. And there is no space long enough to lay them down. However, in the studio, back of the microwave and radio and just beyond the junk cabinet, is a space just the right size — provided a few things got moved.
Moving the “few” things was a PITA, because the junk cabinet is full of, well, junk, stuff that doesn’t go anywhere else. It’s miscellaneous, messy, uncoordinated, and heavy. The microwave is relatively light but bulky. Another left-over bit of cabinetry that filled in the corner is pressed wood with a drawer — heavy. And by the time I moved them, there was little room in the studio to move around.
Undaunted (and by now it’s 8 PM) I carried the sweeper from upstairs, down and out through the cold dark night and into the studio. When one moves furniture, one discovers dust. But worse, one may discover an unpainted piece of the floor, left over from the various painting jobs on the floor which started about 2007 and were done as the shelves and furniture got moved. This was the last remaining unpainted bit. And there was no reason not to paint it — no emergency necessitating quick reassembling of the space, no need to get to painting tomorrow. In short, no excuse not to paint the floor.
However, before painting and after vacuuming, comes scrubbing. One can’t paint unless the space has been cleared of the worst of the dirt. And this is a plywood floor, which means that slinging a mop is insufficient to deal with its porous dirt-catching surface. So at 9 PM, I was on my hands and knees, with the Span And Span, scrubbing the 6 square feet that needed painting. And noticing that the rest of the floor could use it too.
Once the floor was dry, I grabbed porch paint from the basement, which I remembered using previously on this floor, took it out to the studio, stirred it good, slapped it down, and then realized that the gray was from a different porch — much darker than the gray of the rest of the floor.
So today, my challenge is to decide whether to repaint the 6 square feet of new paint a lighter gray or to scrub and repaint portions of the rest of the floor. The rest of the floor desperately needs repainting, being not just smeared with droppings from the oil and acrylic and gessoing I’ve been doing over the years, but also rather dirty from a couple or so years of muddy feet tromping through the oil-painted droppings.
I’m of a mind to paint the rest of the floor erratically, perhaps in squares of various colors. But to do that, I will need first to move the panels, linen and exhibiting, to their new space, and then put junk cabinet back in place, and get rid of the left-over pressed wood storage cabinet (after cleaning out the drawer and shelves, of course), and then, scrub any part of the floor I think I might paint. Then, I can paint it.
That will allow me to go back to the original problem, the grouping of the Petrified Forest paintings. Although the wall on which I’m going to group them is too mottled to show them properly and so may also need a coat of paint.
Did I ever mention how much I hate painting — walls and floors, I mean. (Painting canvas and masonite boards of reasonable size with interesting imagery is a very different matter.) While I can imagine there is something “interesting” about the way I managed to circle and back myself into this particular mind and studio mess, it’s probably more interesting if you aren’t faced with the actual hands-and knees floor scrubbing. –June