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Look Up, Waaaaaaaaaaay Up

Look Up, Waaaaaaaaaaay Up

I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about Bob Ross Day, which was observed last July (2016)  in my kitchen. And there you’d be right, which means all the action here takes place in July 2016 (or earlier, except for this writing here, right here, which is March 5, 2017).

Look Up, Waaaaaaaaaaay Up

(if you’re Canadian and over 50, you may get that reference).

Stardate: 160828.5

Whilst I’m recovering from miscellaneous injuries and ailments (both physical and metaphysical), I decided to take up something which doesn’t require my running my mouth or my clicking a mouse button or a keyboard (I’m dictating this, which believe-you-me is a bugger when you have kids). That was a tough one. I can run my mouth better than most people, in several languages, no less—some of which I can legitimately speak. And I click better than a cockroach (oh, look it up).

Despite the frenetic pace of my recent days, weeks, months, and years—somewhere out there Bob Ross (R.I.P.) was always lurking. His silky tones of “God bless” and “happy little trees” and my most beloved “beat the devil out of it” were music served to soothe my savage breast. Bless Netflix’s buns for bringing Bob Ross back into my life. The Bob Ross YouTube channel, it turns out, posts a new/old video daily. Keeping my paint-veins open and my days, each day, get a little brighter.

I have not painted since 1984.

This is true. I have carried paints and stretched canvases around, randomly, for a decade or two before finally bestowing them onto my semi-sister (we made that term up between the two of us, don’t ask) Caroline. Don’t mourn for me: I wasn’t ever really a painter. I didn’t have some tragedy befall me which emotionally prevented me from slapping some cadmium red gouache apples onto black gesso. I enjoyed mixing paint and fancied myself as having some vague promise of producing something reasonably ok, at best. My forté in the arts plastiques was more my ability to do very quick sketches. And frankly, I couldn’t commit to anything requiring more than 10 minutes. And let’s face it, cats rarely pose for more than ten minutes. Sure sure, they may sleep 20 hours a day but the kitty-code fine print says: until you wish to capture their image.

To a cat, the sound of a 2B hitting paper is like an air-raid siren. You gotta be fast.

In short (too late), don’t mourn. I haven’t painted since 1984 because I’m not really a painter qua painter.

My husband paints.

He paints for real. As in: he can paint and it is pleasing to the senses. I paint for pretend: I can put paint onto a surface ergo I paint. It is pleasing to the senses in a finger-painting mess kinda of way. That delightful explosion of Id you hear tell about. No, I’m not disparaging myself. My husband has real talent; he also works at it. I, like any cat, lose interest (some could say this is protectionist self-defeating behaviour) after ten minutes of anything. He’ll spend hours and days and weeks on a painting. He sees beauty everywhere (which is one of the many reasons I married him… because I see dead people… all the time….) and he’s inspired and when he isn’t, he actively looks for inspiration.

Opposites attract.

I’m hoping this rubs off on me (get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about his outlook on life).

I don’t work it. I don’t try to hone my painting… and surprise surprise I’m disatisfied with my results. There’s a discourse on results-based vs process-based joy, but let’s skip that for another blog.

Hubs sent me this photo so I could work my still life chops. I'm afraid. I'm not quite there.... yet. (ever.)
Hubs sent me this photo so I could work my still life chops. I’m afraid. I’m not quite there…. yet. (ever.)

Hence the appeal of Bob Ross.

I can paint for 30 minutes and that’s kinda it. What I didn’t factor in: that Bob Ross didn’t get up one day and go “ok, I’ll just poop a painting out in thirty minutes.” Apparently, he completed (what a concept, to someone like me) some 30,000 paintings. So his 30-minute painting technique took a while. I need to remember that.

My first effort is here:

My first painting in 22 years.
For those of you following me on IG, this is old news….

I won’t show you the painting my husband made because it’s so beautiful you will cry for three days, shave your head, and join an ashram. Chances are, your spouse(s) (singular, plural, I don’t judge) would be mad at me. Hard enough to get blog subscribers these days, without inspiring them all to turn their backs on the material world.

The more perspicacious of you will figure out DH’s painting is the one next to mine in this post’s featured image. Staggering what one can do in 30 minutes. I can’t even get a pizza in 30 minutes.

May I tell you I hate my painting? I tell everyone I’m pleased with it but I hate it. What was in my head definitely did NOT come out and land, elegantly, onto the board. Not even remotely.

Here’s my fourth painting. I like this one:

This is when I transcended the paint.

I stepped on my canvas board and made my first declaration of my artistic manifesto: Verily my feet hurt all the effing time, I cried out to the heavens (singular or plural, I don’t judge).

Get thee to a Podiatrist!

oh look it up, it’s Shakespeare (kinda)… and another post for another day is how much I always wanted to punch Hamlet (et ipsum) in the face. Yeah, I said it, whiny little doofus, coulda handled THAT better. Anyhoodle… 

I was inspired by my painting. I actually saw something in it. I wanted to paint trees and skies (still do). But what I was feeling was my feet (they suck). I wasn’t painting what I felt, I was painting what I thought I’d see if I actually had a bucolic setting (I’m suburban). My first painting was a lie (but a good experiment in getting past the blank canvas thing… and mixing acrylics and so on… all is not lost).

Bob painted what he saw, real or imagined. Memories. Hopes, perhaps. It’s your world, he’d say. I realized, in July 2016 (ok, now it’s March 2017), my world was starting to focus on my (now diagnosed, like I didn’t know…) osteoarthritis. I’ve only been ignoring my feet forever. All I had to do was get them x-rayed, get a report, get them fixed. Three easy steps (see what I did? Steps. Feet). Simple.

But no, like Hamlet, I whined around like a pathetic little doofus for a million years. Hamlet, though, didn’t have the benefit of Bob Ross. If it weren’t for Bob Ross Day, I’d still be trudging around on arthritic toes which ultimately need to be fused.

My kingdom for cartilage (Richard III. Poor guy really gets the shaft in this play). Unlike the fake Richard III, the real one turned down his chance for a horse (according to  Jones, Michael (2003). Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle. London: John Murray. ISBN 978-1-84854-909-8.)

I was taking no such chances. If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it. While I got my Xray done the next week, it took me another six months to book the doctor (and they took me in the same week). So I’m getting there.

X-ray: August 2016
X-ray: August 2016
3D Scan: March 2017
3D Scan: March 2017


Next stop: orthopaedic surgeon. Mebbe. That’s soooo another blog.

Bob Ross. You give and you give.


Look Up, Waaaaaaaay Up

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