It has been awhile since I’ve tickled the plastic ivories of my trusty laptop. Life gets busy. Or rather, life IS busy. Full stop. 24-7.
As a younger man, I never imagined myself having a full blown family. I did not regard myself as responsible enough or ‘together’ enough to manage the ups and downs of parenting and everything mundane in between, let alone maintain a career as a painter. Still, at some point (points… three of ’em), however, I became a full blown family man. It seems like a blink of an eye since my average day was concerned with nothing more than painting, cooking tasty meals with (sometimes with multi day prep involved) for Sarah and I and whatever other parentless vagabonds who drifted into our always-open-door-policy house, walking the dog and finally, choosing two movies from the corner video store in Cannington (Brockbuster… in Brock township) for the approaching night on the couch.
Cut to today and I don’t think I could adequately describe the flurry of action that occurs during my (daylight) waking hours. There is no start and no finish. A task followed by a task and then three more tasks, some of them in the middle of the night (many of them, in fact). Somewhere in there, I am lucky enough to be able to get in the the studio and pull off some coffee fuelled painting from time to time.
Please, dear readers, read no note of woe here – this is merely observation – make of it what you will. It is easy to look back on such times of bucolic pleasantries and have a note or two of nostalgia creep in, but I quickly remember the boisterous vitality that now pumps in our house’s veins. It is a lot, but it is a loving lot, so I do not lament a little loss of the Life of Riley. There may be stark contrast between the lifestyle of no children and the one with tonnes of children, but the two cannot really be compared, at least not whilst also maintaining sanity. So different are those paths that when they diverge, they never meet again and one can sometimes scarcely remember what it was like to sleep in to whatever time you once deemed appropriate.
Hangovers, once a pleasant excuse for some sweet, sweet sloth, are now scorned and avoided with alacrity. No one wants to feel the guilt of still-boozy cheerlessness at 7 in the morning with three children sitting, wanting your special crepes while you monotonously moan and groan into the sink, trying to soothe your head with the soulless echo of your own sunken and savage torpor until the coffee is ready. No, you learn from that mistake and many more.
Such adjustment does it require to be a parent to three little children, that you can sometimes barely recall who you thought you were before the cherubic onslaught. Well, lemme tell ya, you weren’t who you thought you were. At least I wasn’t. It turns out that there is nothing better in the whole world than being smothered in your offspring while reading bedtime books. Difficulty may arise (it will) in your day to day scenarios but there remains a soothing undercurrent if you are tuned into it and can tap into it.
All 5 of us got sick over the last couple weeks. The hacking. Oh, the hacking. The wracking, stacked to the rafters hacking. After the eye of the storm had passed over us and we were contemplating the few days previous, Sarah and I both agreed in timely fashion that as shitty as it was, it was also cozy and insanely cute at times. The wood-stove worked overtime and frozen (albee’ em organic) meals were thrice employed and then reheated as leftovers. We hunkered sump’n fierce.
The only painting I did over the two weeks of holiday action was some sporadic experimentation with abstraction, changing a large colour field into a different mode everyday. I may show the results in time if I feel them worthy of display. It has been fun, at very least, watching a painting morph and change daily into something unplanned and spontaneous – one moment feeling excited or even elated about it and the next feeling hesitation and deflation, but all the while reminding myself that I am not after specific results but instead am chasing whimsy and attempting alchemy. I’ve said before that if I really felt my mojo working in it, I may abandon representative painting altogether and embrace the abstract. For now, I’m merely playing and trying to keep the visual child in me alive.
Now that the ill-cloud of sick has lifted we are slowly emerging back into routine. I have gotten well into my next commission, and I’m chomping at the bit to get in to more pieces that exist only in in the ether of my imagination. If I can just get in to the studio at some point…..
Postscript note… This post was written in the depths of winter. It is now April and there is still snow on the ground. Grrr.
Happy ‘Spring’ everyone.