I Can’t Paint Sitting Down

I can’t and don’t want to paint sitting down but I might have to if things continue as they are. If I am really absorbed in a painting, I can’t stop. I want to go on and on for hours or all night. I fear losing my train of creativity. There is the issue, however, of back pain and sore feet. Even my calves feel the burden of standing for so long. I also move about the studio retrieving certain colors or brushes. It all takes a toll. I tried massage therapy and it worked for a time, but the discomfort always came back, plus it was expensive as I needed it quite often. Would I have to resort to sitting and making only small works of art. It seemed an impossible solution.

After abandoning the massages as they took a lot of time out of my day, I went to a physical therapist recommended by my doctor. I didn’t need surgery or any dire treatment, but simply some exercises to loosen the muscles in my legs and feet. Most of all I needed to rest these muscles by taking breaks. When I work in the gallery, my part-time job, I can’t sit down at any time unless it is for lunch. I was indeed in a quandary to say the least. What was I going to do? I think it would be to suffer in silence. I asked around including family and friends and they all said, don’t work so hard. I was not going to heed this advice. It was counterproductive to my nature. When I am compelled to paint, I must proceed at the moment when inspiration arrives. What would you do?

The physical therapist was of help as the exercises worked to an extent, but the best part of our collaboration was that he recommended compression socks that nurses wear. These are for both men and women, and anyone who stands on their feet on the job. Nurses are known to have long shifts so I asked someone I knew to get more information. You can buy them in a medical supply store or online in any size and color you want. They are made from a nice, luxury fiber that stretches to fit the foot. They are super comfortable and move with you through your day, providing a nice, light massage-one you don’t have to pay for. You can wear them with any type of shoes from oxfords to sandals or you can wear them alone. This was how I used them when in the studio. Why wear shoes if you don’t have to. After a day or two, I can pop them in the washing machine. I have several pair in case I am not in the mood for laundry. I am so grateful for the good advice and am no longer surprised by the amount of time medical professionals spend on their feet.


You Break It, You Bought It!

Haven’t you been in a store such as a curio or antique shop and found a nasty sign that says “you break it you bought it?” It is more than intimidating even for serious buyers. Perhaps they are referring to children or pets, but the sign doesn’t make that clear. In fact, this policy is just plain insulting. I suppose they want to make sure you don’t move things around which could knock something valuable off a shelf. Then why make them hard to reach and so far apart?

I used to bristle at such signs and would stop frequenting that store, but something happened in the gallery where I work which changed my tune. While we want people to feel comfortable walking around and approaching the works of art, they can bump into something by accident. Now I question how I would respond? Would I make them pay? I think the director would but it depends on the person who perpetuated an ugly scene. Imagine pieces of a ceramic statue all over the floor. Imagine the look of horror on everyone’s face—the boss, the receptionist, and mine. True destruction is infrequent and sometimes you can repair an object. I must say that is not often and it is quite expensive. There are fine artisans who can do it for a hefty price. If the client or visitor wants to buy it, he or she can pay for the repair.

I saw my boss get livid and start seething. I was afraid he would start lecturing the person to be more careful. In the end, he made the man pay. There was no loss to the gallery but self-respect. It seemed greedy to me in the long run. Meanwhile it was my job to clean the mess up and I quickly grabbed the vacuum in the utility closet in the kitchen. We have a simple, inexpensive model that cost less than a hundred dollars but it has good suction and performed its task well. All the pieces, large and small, were in the bag inside. It was a thankless job because I could see that the person who had obliterated the statue was upset. He even offered to vacuum it himself. Of course, that was absurd. Patrons, no matter their evils, must be respected. I went on to finish the job and proceeded to empty the bag in the kitchen and inspect the pieces. Nothing was salvageable but the head. It was a nice artwork executed by a local artist with talent galore. I kept the head in my pocket. After I returned the vacuum to its storage place, I packed up my things to go home.

I put the ceramic head on my work desk where I do sketches. It made a nice paperweight. Something good came out of the gallery fiasco. At least the artist’s work lives on. I may do some sketches of it to send to him, but I was loath to reveal what had happened.


Guess I’ll Keep on Lookin’

I am plumb out of room in my studio. There are paintings and objects everywhere plus a mess of supplies. I can hardly walk from one end of the small room to another. It is time to move on. But there is a big problem: how do I pack up all this stuff? It won’t be easy but nevertheless I am on a quest to find the perfect space. This is going to take time. I make a list from ads in the paper and organize them by location. For some I can go on foot, but for others I will need my car. I have a list of requirements so I will see what matches my specifications. Here’s what I want:

A large room with separate fully-loaded kitchen. I need an oven and stove, at least a small refrigerator, and some counter space for food preparation.

I don’t require a bedroom but one adjacent to my studio would be nice. It can be miniscule for all I care.

I must have a private bathroom in my studio, however compact. I don’t want to go down the hall and find that other residents are there.

I need central heating and air conditioning. Our weather can turn bad in the winter and steamy in the summer. I want to be comfortable so I can work on my creations day or night. I don’t want to sleep when it is either freezing or sweltering. I just want a good, solid system so I can be effective at my self-imposed job.

I don’t care if it has an elevator unless I am on the top floor. I need a way to tote artwork up to my quarters. It can be something I had out on loan or a large canvas that won’t be easy to carry upstairs.

This is what I had in mind when I set out on my journey. I went from one place to another and checked off my list. I thought I had found the perfect studio but balked when I was informed that it had no heating system. I initially turned it down. Now it was decision time. The price for rent was fair and the space was super large. I would be very content here. I loved the apartment-size kitchen as it had everything I needed. The bathroom was newly renovated and clean. I couldn’t turn this bargain down. I thought long and hard. I finally came up with an energy efficient space heater as my ultimate solution. It would be portable and I could carry it about and set it in the area in which I wanted to work.

I wasn’t worried for very long. The space heater, not being a desktop model, was perfect. It kept me warm and toasty at night. I was careful about a fire hazard but the front was well covered with metal mesh. I was so happy that I didn’t stick with my instincts and turn the place away.