IF YOU are a painter, all you see is color and shapes. Everything you encounter is either a good subject for a painting or it isn’t. You spend a lot of money on supplies. While you are not painting you wish you were, and while you are painting you doubt the validity of the activity, think it is pointless, and feel you should be doing something else. But what?
Nothing measures up, mostly because whatever it is, when it’s over it’s over, whereas when you finish a painting, the memory of those minutes, hours, days or weeks you spent creating it are forever sealed inside a tangible thing you can look at forever. Seeing it, you remember deciding to make that part there red instead of pink, or to move the purple thing up and slightly over, and how hard it was to fix it when you picked up the wrong brush and mistakenly painted something black instead of white. (Ouch!) Plus, there is always the possibility of a “happy accident,” as one of my college professors told me years ago. Those are rare, but they happen, and they make your day.
Best of all, in life what’s done is done—your mistakes take their toll and you’ve got to live with them. But in art, what’s done can always be done over and made better. Mistakes are instantly fixed. A landscape covers a still life covers a portrait covers another landscape. You remember them all. You have captured time.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.