Yes, I Can Count

Sep 16, 2021

Way back in May (can it really be that long ago?) I posted a video announcing a new project that was supposed to spur me into an amazing flurry of painting production! The goal was to paint three paintings on the same theme simultaneously, taking advantage of a single palette. I was so optimistic! It's been four months and I've just finished the last one. Needless to say, not the outcome I’d hoped for.

I'll allow myself some grace. There were some fun diversions and one big home project that took me out of the studio but it is clear, my experiment was a dismal failure.

I did produce some nice pieces, however, so all was not totally lost.

Except one tulip.

As I work I log painting hours into a spreadsheet. A tentative title marks the project that's on the easel; five and a half hours on Tuesday, six on Sunday, 45 minutes on Monday. This last painting's working title was "6 Pink Tulips".

Today, as I was doing all of the end-of-project tasks that I do -- creating an inventory sheet, photographing and posting to Instagram, my website and other sites -- I dutifully recorded the tentative title that I decided to keep as I had the others in the series, "9 Pink Tulips" and "10 Pink Tulips". Then I realized, I only saw five tulips. Sigh.

My next task was to write this blog post. I was sort of stuck. What to say about this mis-titled piece. Should I rename it? Make it a "5" instead of a "6"?

A sidetrack up to Walgreen's to pick up a prescription might offer some unlikely inspiration. There was a line. A gentleman was seated to the side, waiting, I came to understand, for a shot. There was some problem with his insurance. It had been in a family member's name but she had since deceased. I winced at the paperwork nightmare that might arouse.

Then I heard him say, "She was one of those who went over there and stayed".

My heart sunk for this stranger and my eyes began to swim. With an inadequate expression made even more so by my mask I turned and said "I'm so sorry". He smiled accepting what little I could offer.

My turn at the window was up. I made my purchase and left while he was rolling up his sleeve in a little room behind the counter. As I drove home I realized what had just happened.

My painting isn't about the number of tulips that appear. It's about the number of tulips that were. One just didn't come home, she stayed where she was.

Painting: 6 Pink Tulips © Lissa Banks 2021