I am a bonafide klutz. As graceful as a mastodon, as elegant as a toad. I once took out the light fixture and signage at hardware store checkout while returning a set of blinds. I have tripped over the mere thought of my own feet, without the actual feet. The older I get, the more I have a real sense for when I am going to have a clumsy day. Monday was one of them. I was awkward from the moment I woke up, so I gave myself a little talk about being extra careful out in the world. And I went out in the world safely and came home intact. Until I punctured my finger with a screwdriver in an art hardware accident that left me faint with pain, on my back with my legs elevated trying not to pass out while I stopped the bleeding.
So when I reached the last chapter in Rutenberg's Clear Seeing Place, I chuckled at the title: Feel Your Own Pain. Ha! Does Brian Rutenberg have a hidden camera in my studio? The universe, it seems, has a weird sense of humor.
I am, of course, painting anyway. Bandaged finger held aloft like a high tea pinky (except it is my middle finger, so it isn't quite as charming) I am bound and determined to keep at it. Rutenberg's words echo in my mind even as Prince dances out of my wireless speakers in the studio: "If you reach one person, then you've made the earth a better place. Don't be afraid to make bad paintings. Die a little death now and then; you'll be okay." Death by errant screwdriver was not what he meant, I suspect.
This piece, including Bob (the turtle on the bottom of the stack), was painted over the weekend. 90% of it was painted with my own hands - no brushes, scrapers or paper towels. In hindsight, perhaps that was a bit of foreshadowing, as holding the brush now is quite challenging. But being part of an awkward reptilian monkey pile seems quite appropriate for the day, and if Bob can keep his sense of humor, so can I.