Mid-August day, Hudson, Ohio, 35 miles south of downtown Cleveland. One story barn, stalls for five horses, decent size attic or loft or what-have-you. Paintbrush in hand.
I had spent the summer painting houses - long days, lousy conditons... and in the end, lousy pay - and this was different.
The job seemed to be good, or at least to have the potential for good pay, at first, and it was a job. But due to a bit of malice and a lot of incompetence, the checks were less. A lot less. The temperature was hot... too many 90 degree plus days. Painting in too many suburbs without trees. Doing jobs that were mostly detail work but that were supposed to be done fast.
Spraying paint, it hurting your eyes, your lungs, putting the dust mask and goggles on when it could no longer be beared. The dust mask was as annoying, the edges soaking with sweat, fast, and the goggles fogged up so quickly... they had to be taken off just to see.
Spraying spraying spraying, covering aluminum and vinylcide... too much trim, too few jobs acutally requiring the painting of a whole house. Tired, aching, dead at the end of the day. Tired of all the stupidity from the boss, waiting for the week to be over. At least I had my mind. Some of the time.
But the painting needs to be done. Someone must.
So I quit. Tired of the bs, I quit. And began working for my aunt and uncle, painting their new barn.
Thick, heavy, oil-based primer, white, vertical board siding... painting painting painting, my arm, hand, sore at the end of the day. But at least there is shade. Decent food. A radio. Cool water. And honesty from my employer.
Then a coat of white latex. Green for the trim. Mush faster. And the job was, well, very close to completed before school started. Gorgeous white barn, deep green trim. And the paycheck I was told I would recieve.
Hiram College. Most nights, this semester. Eight canvases, four by six feet, to be painted by the end of the semester.
I am painting with oils. I have always liked working big, and for my senior show, in December, I wanted to do a set of oil paintings... really test what I could do with the medium... see if this was something I could actually do. The independent study form says 8-12 paintings... and it looks like the actual number will be closer to six.
Messy clothes, a big studio space, photographs from the college nature preserve on my laptop, paints laid out on a pallette, brush in hand, trying to figure out what to do. Broad, sweeping brushstrokes, more slow, precise, as the painting goes on.
The smell of paint thinner, linseed oil, and paint permeates the space. My things are strewn out over too much space, as they tend to be, and the rags are being used up too fast. I thin the paint a bit, and it flows beautifully. And I have color.