Monday, 10 June 2013

Painting by Letters

I love me a good analogy and as I haven’t mentioned any recently, I thought it was about time I took  one out, shook it off and gave it a thorough airing. 

During half term, whilst my clever husband was laying a floor in the living room, I was a few feet away  (we’ve downsized) giving the bathroom a couple of coats of what I consider to be a ‘warm steel’  - a kind of silver-denim if you like but I shall soon run out of describing words for the colour I got the nice people in Homebase to mix up for me - and it was during the first coat of this paint-job that I began my analogical musings.

I seem to follow the same weird (head) process whilst painting as I do when writing. Viz:

I start at the corners because I consider these the trickiest bits.  (Have a beginning. Know your end).  Then the corners are joined up to build a ‘framework’ for the haphazard, roller-it-like-a-madwoman and don’t worry too much about the splashes and drips because that’s what kitchen roll and spray stuff is for.  i.e. if I get it done without too much thought, then nobody will have seen me making and mending all the mistakes I made along the way and think 'how clever that's she's done this without any apparent pulling out of hair'.

And if paint gets on anything it shouldn’t (ceilings/skirtings/ light fittings/cat) then  there’s always white spirit, scourers and scrapers.  See -  the editing process is never an attractive proposition.  

But even as I’m painting the corners and the straight bits all nicely and neatly, I am WAY ahead of myself in the whole ‘picture’ process in my head and I’m already beginning to fret like a fool that I’ve chosen the wrong colour.  It’s going to make the room too small/too dark/too heavy/too frivolous/whatever.  I cannot relax.  And I have to convince myself to forge ahead.

Because what’s the alternative – go and buy a completely different colour; come back and perform the same silly dance all over again? 

I stand back at times and survey the scene – I squint in places and wonder if anyone would notice if I just left it and ran away for a week and started on a different room; maybe if I did it really badly then  I wouldn’t be relied on to do it again? And there’s always the tin of trusty Magnolia (delete/undo).

Lack of self-belief during the painting of a bathroom is utter lunacy; I know this now I can see it written down.  But it’s this exact-same self-belief that defies me when I’m writing too.
 
I’ve spent an eternity working out if the colour is right (that’ll be the story).  Will it ‘go’.  Will it be ‘got’?  Will it enhance, enrich, delight, transform? Will it make a difference, will it enlighten and will it be so memorable that everyone will want it?

It’s a bleedin’ rigmarole, is what it is.

This... THIS, people is why there are a million different half-full/empty tins of different coloured paint buckets hidden away in my metaphorical shed.  And unless I stop looking at other people’s pretty walls and trust that I’m allowed to choose my own shade for my own space, then I’m never going to get anywhere.

After I'd finished I did the usual 'stand back and survey' thing; turning the light on and off - watching where the shadows fell and how the light bounced off different walls and parts of me were proud at what I'd achieved.
I also revisited - popping back occasionally during the evening (well, we've only got the one loo so, y'know...) and approached the newly coloured room as if I was a stranger visiting and wondered how they'd see it.

The trouble is, I am an anxious painter.  it would therefore follow that I'm an anxious writer.
But I refuse to go down the 'Twenty Shades of Magnolia' path.

4 comments:

Derek said...

I paint the same way too! Plus, I have a tendency to use too small a brush, so it takes way longer than it should. Can you paint by pantsing?

There's a famous saying, somewhere, that however you do one thing is how you do all things.

Twenty shades of magnolia is about twenty shades too many for me.

Debs Riccio said...

Ha ha Derek, maybe us 'creatives' are a little worried about any of our performances, writing or otherwise :)

Mary O'Regan said...

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With Warmest Wishes,
Mary

Debs Riccio said...

Hi Mary, nice to meet you and thanks for joining the happy band of Strictly followers; hope to see more of you in the future.