My friend Dan is finishing his last winter here in exhaust-smear-on-snow state. I met him at a local art show in 2008. I was living in the country then. He came up to me, hand outstretched, in all his Texas friendly to say hello. I pulled my hand out of my winter coat and there was a maple tap in it. He asked me what the heck it was, and then after I told him, he did the big Texas thing that scares all trust out of us tight New Yorkers; he asked if he could come over to my place and watch me maple syrup. My wife was there. He kept looking at me, then her, waiting for an answer. It was the first time a stranger ever asked me to do anything, let alone invite himself over to my house to play. Oh, no doubt he just wanted to get closer to my wife, kill me later, and then marry her.
This painting is one of four I will complete for his going away party. They will be auctioned off to raise money for one of the most enthusiastic people ever to step foot into New York State.
Here is Dan from December:
Three days ago I was in A.C. Moore holding on tight to my 40% off coupon before the rows of studio canvases. Coveting. Coveting. I came very close to buying a 10-pack of 11 X 14’s. I have frames for that size a friend donated last year. I could spend just a little to keep me satisfied for a week or two.
No. Must hold out. Must turn around and leave. Will power. I made a pact with my wife back in December. No art supplies purchased until our daughter gets her dowry. We will make austerity pay. Paint on the roadside curb. Paint dead leaves. Paint rocks. Just no more investment until wedding bells ring.
I made it out of the store without a purchase. Not even a $.50 squeeze bottle of tropical blue craft paint, a color I can’t mix to, no matter how hard I try.
Success! Then depression, and emptying an old school desk full of nails and what-nots in the basement and bringing it up to the dining room. “Well, I guess I’ll just start painting the furniture.”
Paint supply depleting. Mixing with gesso. Low as a painter goes, and then…
My good friend Dan the professor stopping by last night to drop off leftover student paint and two painted canvases.
Yes, 11 X 14″.
Henry Miller wrote about the magic that happened to him in a super economy whenever his need molecules began choking the ether above and below. Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. It’s a great read for poor painters. Unfortunately, very few writers like Henry exist in the Internet age.
Thank you Dan for the creative boost. May you get to Big Sur one day. We will visit, bearing gifts of good olive oil and a bag of fresh parsley to season your humble stew.