Thursday, February 03, 2005

When Life Gets In The Way Of Living

I have been trying for some months now to sit down and actually get back to painting. Painting pictures, that is. Seems I have been doing quite a bit of painting lately but mostly of the tray and roller variety. I have a bunch of junk rattling about in my skull and I need to throw some of it down on a nice canvas. I can feel the cool, soft, sanded gesso beneath my fingers now...mmmm - catharsis...
Every time I think that I might get down to work, there is always something else to distract me and lead me astray. I reckon that as many as five years have passed since last I painted properly and as I thought about it today, I wondered why. Well, as John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you are busy doing other things," and I have been busy doing a great many other things. I started to write a list:
  • Went back to college, graduated at the top of my class
  • Worked for two ad agencies and two print shops
  • Got married, had a baby (or rather my wife did. I watched.)
  • Moved twice
  • Went to the East Coast three times (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland)
  • Went to Northern Ontario twice (Timmins)
  • Stood as best man at my brother's wedding
  • Quit smoking after fourteen years
  • Gained thirty pounds
  • Lost twenty pounds
  • Got grey hair and more hair in freaky places
  • Bought a car
  • Cursed the car every day since
  • Bought a house
  • Learned plumbing & electrical
  • Built a basement apartment for my father-in-law
  • Renovated rest of house
  • Cut down dead crabapple tree
  • Met my new nephew Gavin, courtesy of my brother and his wife
  • Made website: (badly in need of updating and a re-design)
  • Made this weblog
The work around the house required an enormous amount of time, effectively doubling my work-week for about six months and it is still not finished. We just ran out of money. I tore out the pre-existing panelled rec-room and put in an all-new apartment with new walls, bathroom, kitchen, carpet, tiles, plumbing, electrical, cabinets and appliances. I tore out mouldy carpet, sanded and refinished my hardwood floors, changed doors, painted, put up new trim and replaced my entire upstairs bathroom. I still need to get new cabinets for the kitchen and re-do that floor as well as changing my patio door, building a new porch on the front and a new deck on the back as well as a fence to keep the dog from the redneck's yard out back from coming over. Oh, and build a new shed. Possibly with a greenhouse attached and I hope to make an elevated rain-barrel system to have a gravity-feed garden hose as well.
While I lament my lack of accomplishment in the painting department, I realise I have produced a bunch of output in the last five years. Boxes and boxes of stuff will attest to that. I have made screenprints, woodblock prints, lino cuts, watercolours, acrylic sketches, collages, pen-and-ink illustration, scratchboards, marker renderings, pencil sketches, and digital graphics for print and web. There's also a pile of graphic design work I did for work or for pleasure. All of these methods and media were used together and seperately to produce cartoons, greeting cards, invitations, my website, promotional pieces for myself and for others, t-shirts, signs, packaging, brochures and many forms of advertising and communication.
Toss in some furniture refinishing and sewing some curtains and I guess I have had a busy couple of years. Now I feel better. Maybe I will start on a painting tonight. After I take out the trash. And put together my new drafting table. And clean up the storage room to put away the old drafting table. And finish sanding the vanity table I am working on so I can stain it. And varnish it. Sigh.