Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Good-Bye Faithful Friend...

I'm not gonna cry. Honest. But I want to. And I might have grumbled a bit. Maybe even a bad word slipped out. But then... I really did want to cry.

I have a lot of "goober moments" in my creative process. I'm not a neat person. I have dropped paint tubes on finished paintings. I have cut fabrics too short. I have run out of colors half way through the perfect "New England Blue" sky.  But not all of my goober moments make me want to kick myself and end in minor heartbreak.

You see... with six kiddos, a grand-kiddo, and a big kiddo,  I mean... husband bustling about, I tend to treasure every painting moment, often squeezing them in between dinners, bathtime, nightime tuckings in... etc. Last night, I was passionately working on a new piece using lots of different colors at the same time. That meant lots of brushes in and out of the paint, and left lying on my painting surface, while I went back and forth. I didn't put them in the water because they were in use.

Well... when it was time to hurry off to care for the littlest guy, I stuck the motley crew of brushes into the water jar. I didn't realize until this afternoon, that I had plunged all but one... my favorite one... into the water. I picked up the timeworn brush by the green painted handle, almost afraid to touch the bristles. They seemed their natural color, but I had been using a lot of brown. Sure enough... they were hard as rock. In desperation, I soaked them for a while.

I had to stand back and laugh. Some other brush, and I probably would have tossed it out, or resolved to use it for making scratches in layers of paint. But not this one. This one is my "old faithful". I would guess that most painters have an old faithful. She's been beside me for many, many years... at least a decade... probably longer. We went through a "country" stage together, a primitives stage, and most recently have found our favorite dance among the mixed media canvases. I have used this brush to apply gel medium, to paint faces, to apply varnish... you name it. The bristles have been beaten up a lot. They are probably a third shorter than when the brush was new. They are uneven. But there's just something about this brush. It's perfect. It's not to wide, not too narrow. The bristles flowed through the medium, spreading it luciously across smooth surfaces as well as rough textures. It just fit in my hand like a dream.

As I worked at the wet and softening bristles, I held out hope. I added some dish detergent. The lather was working the hardened acrylic paint out. A lovely gray cream circled in my hand. Then, after a rinse and another application of soap, I saw something I never had with "old faithful" before. A stray bristle. Then another. And another. Then it was clear that the bristles had come loose in the metal clamp that held them onto the handle for so many years, through so many school projects, so many craft fairs, so many frustrating moments, happy moments. That paintbrush has been with me longer than four of my children! And that's when I almost cried. Almost.

Right about now, most folks, my husband included are probably thinking, "this chick is nuts". Well... no. My husband, I'm sure, has no doubts. But I think there surely must be a few kindred spirits out there who know what I'm feeling right now. Oh, sure... It's just a "thing". I'll move on. I'll buy a new one, and keep right on painting. But I have this feeling that for as long as I live I'll always think, "this one's ok, but it's not as good as "old faithful".

How do you thank an inanimate object for so many years of faithful service? You can't. So, I thank God for letting me find such a great brush that helped form so many great memories for me. And... I think instead of the garbage disposal, "old faithful" will find it's way into a mixed media piece to keep in my studio. :)

Thanks for letting me rant. It felt good to say "good-bye" to a faithful friend...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...