Aphoristically Speaking

Mar 17, 2024

My shoulder still isn’t 100%. Probably more like about 87%. Many things don’t bother it at all, but some really do and one of those things, unfortunately, has been painting.

One day, while pondering this dismal situation I remembered back to many years ago, a little strip of paper taped to my bathroom mirror. It read, “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”*. During that time of uncertainty those words gave me direction for my present and hope for my future. 

So, as I tried to imagine not painting (quickly realizing that was not a desirable option) I decided to rethink how I painted instead, necessity being the mother of invention and all.**

I found that the main culprit causing my pain was the easel. Even holding something as light as a brush was hard to do for hours so I moved my workspace to a long table and began to work horizontally. This allowed me to sit and rest my arm as I painted or to stand over the work, reducing stress on the joint. 

Lighting was redirected and space was made for brushes, paints and reference materials. I sat. I stood. Now and then I propped the painting up against the wall to look at it from a distance and I worked and worked. And worked! This puppy took, from inception over 13 weeks! What was I thinking? 

The drawing itself took a full month. So much to figure out. What to keep, what to leave? In the end I kept almost all of the reference photo. 

At about week two I started ruing my choice of projects. As they say, don’t bite off more than you can chew.***

By the end of the drawing phase I figured that since I’d gotten that far I might as well keep going. I was “in the chute!” as my dad would say.**** The painting portion took another month and a half. Luckily for me, the more I worked on it the clearer I was that it was a worthwhile endeavor after all. 

Sometimes, probably most times, we just kind of stumble along until stopped by something that pops up unexpectedly. While many obstacles can’t be surmounted, and acceptance is the way of sanity, many other times we just need to show up for ourselves and find new ways of living our lives. 

So, for now I’ll keep on painting. It gives me pleasure, satisfaction, and purpose – and the hope that it brings a little beauty into your life.

Painting: Early Morning July

* Often attributed to Teddy Roosevelt but he got it from Squire Bill Widener. 

** No, not Zappa, co-opted from the Latin by William Horman in 1519. Thank you, Wikipedia.

*** Apparently this is about chewing tobacco. ‘Nuf said about that. Yuck.

**** A saying I am most partial to!