I had a Dr. Pepper today. For about 10 seconds I was 12 again, crinkling bags of Cheetos, drinking cans of the 23 flavors and eyeing a package of Skittles on standby. The afternoons I spent watching The Mother wrangle pre-teens into aprons and the concept of color theory were where I developed an affinity for vending machines and Einstein bagels. Also glitter, magic markers, and hitting my brother in the balls for fun. I feel bad about that one now.
I can't remember how many years The Mother taught at the studio. I don't think I could even calculate how many hours I spent wandering its rooms, making paper crafts and aggrandizing my skills with a calligraphy pen. Or otherwise scheming on how to capitalize my only airbrushing skill: spraying one area long enough for the tiny flecks of paint to accumulate and drip slowly down the page. So much for concept art.
Maybe it was the glitter. Maybe it was the haphazard shredding of stacks of construction paper. It could even have been that one time I became obsessed with the other kids' rich moms wearing pearls, and proceeded to sculpt several of the "fancy ladies" in various forms; both functional and "decorative." But now I think it was at the blessing of my shitty airbrushing hand that I'm here.
I'm a heavy-handed painter. When I say "layering," I mean that a painting usually takes three or four adjustments of a palette to finally start breathing. And a subsequent few months of tinkering before the paint starts to "lay right," as I like to justify it in terminology. So that still-not-sure-if-it's-offensive strip of canvas up there is the bones of what will--hopefully--become a fully-fledged "person," of sorts. And that's only if I don't decide to do something really EDGY AND CONTEMPORARY at the end. Remember that episode in Malcolm In The Middle when Hank becomes an artist? And then Jackson Pollack's all over the garage wall, only for the paint to come peeling right on top of his not-yet-Breaking-Bad-bald head? THAT'S what it's like. Though I've yet to encounter a paint-related assault. YET.
But at the end, there are times that I miss the points in the middle when the painting was still awkward, still out of proportion, still potentially racially offensive. Sometimes I regret not having documented what has been before it becomes what it is. I was just a kid obsessed with crayons and copy paper before now, right? And where the hell are THOSE pictures?
Some say that it's no good to dwell on the past. But I say that the past teaches us why we are in the present. I've wanted to do this forever, so I'm doing it. I'm documenting a painting. Just pray this one makes it past its black-face stage and we'll all get to see the end result. Stay tuned, eh?