On Friday night when I posted I was ‘there’, I did not foresee that in a calm, orderly moment on Saturday afternoon I would slip while removing staples and plunge a screwdriver through my two Las Cruces-bound canvasses.
It’s hard to describe what that felt like, but repetition of the word ‘no’ for quite some time seemed to be my first reaction. Then I seemed to recall shock setting in, and maybe a little bit of whimpering. Or that could have been the dog in response to the rat-a-tat of ‘no’ coming from her Human.
I was using a plastic clipboard as a guard for just such an event, and in the final moments of the final side of canvas 2 I’d forgotten to slide it along. Of course that’s the first and last time I’ll work one on top of the other – yes, that truly is the cringeworthy, embarrassing aspect. But other than that it was all as has been practiced before.
Like most painters, I’ve had the occasional canvas blow off the easel, hit something sharp or lean against something pointy until you turn up at the studio some hours later to find a new shape moulded. But I’ve never actually pierced the surface before. New ground. All is lost, I said, and started rethinking what was going across the seas.
And then I did the best thing I could. I stopped talking to myself, some of it had got nasty, and I started talking on line to a few of the WBHD Rescue Crew. And the common response was ‘don’t stress’ and ‘what about repair’ – I had only embraced despair ‘cos I thought I was ‘there‘. The ideas, techniques and tips came rolling in, and that 16hr time difference helped when I couldn’t sleep at 2am and the bright eyed 10am NM painters turned up with the ladder to get the crazy kitty out of the madness tree.
One piece is repairable in time, and it’ll be accompanied by it’s plein air sketch. In the image here I could add some ‘grasses’ between the trunks, as there’s patches of grasses across the painting.
The painting and sketch is quite a lovely combo, and has made me rethink what goes to CHARTS. I will repair the other canvas too, and it will hang in Childers with it’s plein air study. I wanted to post this as, even though it does feel monumentally humiliating, I wanted to talk about the power of asking someone else’s opinion especially if you work in isolation. And, as was said by the Rescue Crew, it happens all the time, artworks get repaired, and you can’t let a good piece die when you don’t have to.