I have all the tools of the artist’s trade. These include palette knives, brushes of different sizes and materials, sponges, and cleaning cloths. There is a huge assortment of paints grouped according to type: acrylic or oil. My studio is a little ramshackle, but I can always find everything I need. I particularly love my large staple gun with which I create canvases from scratch. Instead of buying the readymade versions that are more expensive, you buy a piece of fabric and the appropriate wood stretcher bars. You then staple the fabric to the frame in your desired size. Some fabric comes pretreated and some you can find raw. It depends if you want the paint to “stain” the canvas or sit on top. You can also treat your raw canvas with gesso and make your own coating, again saving money.
The point is that I know my way around staple guns. It is a good thing because recently I needed to use one at the gallery. I knew just how to load and operate it. Since it is a smaller size than the one I use to make canvases, I don’t often find it in my hands. Now the gallery is having a new show in a couple of days and Jamie, the receptionist, and I need to staple booklets together. There are several pages in full color that illustrate the work of the show artist. It will be given out to patrons as they enter the gallery at the opening. They were supposed to be stapled at the printer, but someone forgot to add this request to the order. Honestly, where was my head on that day? No matter. Jamie and I can handle the job swiftly. It doesn’t take much special skill. You do have to watch for wayward staples as one or two have been known to land on a finger or two.
It took a while and Jamie and I passed the time discussing our favorite artists and what is happening in the local museums and other galleries. It was a good chance to catch up and we bonded over our love of art. We both like abstract painting of the expressionist kind. We share a love of Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, and Clifford Still. We pulled out a few artbooks and old catalogues from the gallery shelves and pointed out our preferences. It is so wonderful to talk to a fellow aficionado. We discussed new trends in performance art and what impact the environmentalists were having on contemporary creation. What are the signs of the times and will they prevail? There are so many interesting and provocative questions to ask. We could talk for hours. The books were finished soon enough and the discussions were curbed for a time. I look forward to another project we can do together. It sure beats opening mail, put away artwork that has been pulled out for clients, and mopping the gallery floor.